Paper Tips: Top Ten Ways to Save $ on Paper
Here are 10 of the best ways to save big bucks on paper, courtesy of a few of my favorite production managers:
Reduce the trim size. Paper is sold by weight and every scrap of paper that is trimmed off your job and thrown into the dumpster represents money that you are dumping. If you can possibly make your designs smaller to fit onto a smaller sheet, or so that more copies of your design fit onto one sheet, you'll be money ahead.
Reduce the basis weight. When choosing paper, everybody at some point always rubs the samples between fingers and thumb to feel how thick and heavy a sheet is. This is bogus. Papers are so idiosyncratic in finish, stiffness and thickness, it's almost impossible to rub one sheet and say, "This is a 60-pound sheet." And if you, who work with your designs every day and sleep with them every night, can't reliably tell how heavy a sheet is, how will readers ever know the difference? Do yourself a favor and think seriously about putting your designs on a lighter-weight paper, if at all possible.
Reduce the spoilage factor through press efficiency. Put some pressure on your printer to establish a clear understanding of your color needs and your sense of quality so that press okays proceed much more rapidly. But be honest: when you do a press okay, make speed a high priority yourself, too. Don't skimp on color corrections in prepress, thinking you'll be able to make color corrections on press during the makeready. All that tinkering with minute color balancing on press wastes paper.
Speed up makeready with production-wise designs that print efficiently. If you can layout your pages so that every color image in your design runs in-line with only black-and-white images or black-and-white type, you will eliminate all color conflicts. This can speed up your makeready (and reduce your paper spoilage) considerably. If, on the other hand, you layout your pages so that a bowl of red cherries is in-line with a sunburned model and you want the cherries to be red, but the model to be pale, you will be spending a lot of time and paper trying to resolve this conflict. In essence, you will have to compromise your color quality.
Negotiate a better hundredweight cost for your present grade of paper. It doesn't hurt to ask, especially if you buy a lot of paper from your supplier.
Negotiate better terms of payment in your contract by managing your cash-flow agreements. Talk to your accountant about this. Often, a paper supplier will be willing to knock off two or three percentage points from your bill if you pay within a short time. Depending on your company's needs, this can be a worthwhile way to save money.
Shop around on the spot paper market. You can find substantial bargains sometimes, if you shop the spot paper market. However, be aware that this strategy requires you to be flexible about paper quality, color and finish. If you need to keep your paper the same from one job to the next, then stick with one paper supplier and one price.
Reduce the pressrun by making sure your circulation files are accurate, updated and lean.
Reduce the paper grade to a cheaper grade. This strategy admittedly carries some risk. Reducing the paper grade will produce substantial savings, but will almost certainly affect quality. You have to ask yourself if it's worth it. It's no savings if you lose too much effectiveness or too many customers by downgrading your quality. But, if you think that your designs will still be effective on lower-quality paper and your customers can tolerate it, by all means try this strategy.
Reduce the number of signatures or the page count through internal negotiations with other staff and departments. Here too, you need to be realistic about what your end-user expects. You won't save money if you lose customers. On the other hand, maybe your creation could stand to be tightened up and shortened a bit. Too often we think a given design "demands" a certain size, but what really determines the size of the design is the size of our own ego. Why, I probably could have cut the size of this article by 50 percent if I had not been so enamored of my own beautiful verbiage. Every word is precious, so, don't even think of cutt...Hello? Is anybody there?
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