5 Trade Secrets To Save you Money On Your Catalogue And Brochure Printing

Oct 27, 2023 | All, Printing

We are all trying to find that new balance of managing marketing costs whilst still reaching our own target audiences. As a medium, print has fallen out of the limelight in recent years. However, many companies are looking to get back into it to quickly drive up sales.

A printed catalogue or brochure makes a very physical statement to a potential customer. As a medium, print conveys trust and offers unique tangible qualities to engage with readers whilst allowing companies to have a one on one interaction with their audience. Not only does print have surprising environmental credentials, it also acts an excellent stimulus to buy. Our friends at Sappi have been doing a great deal of research on the subject and have found that 38% of recipients acted to buy as a result of receiving direct mail!

So, what are the secrets to maximising your cost-effectiveness in your print marketing planning?


1. Paper is King

It’s not surprising to think that the biggest cost of any printed job would be the paper it is printed on. Paper is a big topic worthy of posts entirely devoted to it, but rather than do that now you can find out more about paper in one of our previous posts here: www.warners.co.uk/blog/paper-explained.

A great way to save money on paper is to go for lower weights, 60gsm, 65gsm and 70gsm are all very well suited to catalogues and brochures. As paper is bought by the tonne, you end up saving on the amount you have to order in as well as making the product lighter to post.

There are even bulk options too that allow you to have a lighter weight of paper whilst having a more substantial “feel” than you would typically get for the gsm.

2. 16 is the magic number

Despite what the song says, in print, the magic number is 16.

16 pages is the optimal production section for printing anything. Every job that is printed is broken down in to “sections” that will comprise a set of plates and printing a number of specific pages that will be grouped and bound at the end of the process. Each of these sections has a cost attributed to them.

When you have a catalogue, it is important to have all of your pages break down clearly into sections of 16 pages. A good example is a 64-page brochure; this would be printed as 4 sections of 16 pages. You can have more or fewer pages and these are in increments of 4 pages. If we were to change the spec of the 64-page brochure to a 60 page brochure, we would have to produce it as:

  • 3 x 16 page sections
  • 1 x 8 page section
  • 1 x 4 page section

In this way, the customer will have to pay for an additional make-ready and print run for fewer pages. So sometimes having more means paying less.

The exception to this is when you want to do a different cover on a heavier paper which will need to be printed separately. It is then important to make sure that your text pages are all divisible by 16.

Some print companies, including ourselves, can also produce 32-page sections meaning fewer plates, make-readies and less waste which all add up to more of a saving for the customer!

We know that this sounds confusing but please don’t worry we can explain it better over the phone or via email if you need!

3. “Web” printing is your best friend

There are two main types of printing for most catalogues and brochures: Web and Sheetfed. Web printing is wonderfully suited to longer runs of jobs as it is much quicker than sheetfed, and web doesn’t require any additional work such as folding or guillotining either. Also, as the print quantity increases the cost per unit goes down.

We are unique as we can offer web printing from as few as 2,000 copies if the specification allows!

You can find out a bit more about these methods here:www.warners.co.uk/what-is-the-difference-between-web-and-sheetfed-printing 

4. A4 and A5 are the way to go.

Both A4 and A5 are the standard sizes that most printers work to and indeed what their printing presses are calibrated for. These sizes allow the most efficient production whilst minimising waste and ensuring ease of supply due to standard materials. 

5. Keep special effects to the cover

A common trap that designers fall into is the overuse of Pantone colours, when great results can be achieved using conventional colours. Pantone’s can only really be used on sheetfed presses which will slightly increase the cost of the job. Sometimes these printed sections need to be run through the press twice because of the number of Pantone’s and particularly if the paper needs to be sealed. It is far more cost-effective to limit any special finishes or pantones to the cover of a catalogue or brochure, and leave the text to be printed in standard CMYK through a web press.

Understandably you may have questions about the above. We are here to help and work with you. We much prefer getting to know our customers and offering free consultations to better understand your goals, so that we can tailor solutions to your specific needs.

If this is of interest and you would like to speak to any of our team, please email Michael, Danny or Andy via Sales or call us on 01778 391000.