Posted By Seamus Barton
5 Things You Should Keep in Mind Before Starting a Magazine
Starting a new magazine is an exciting endeavour, but before you get carried away with the editorials and artwork, it’s important to think about a few basics. Even though printing will be the last phase in bringing your magazine to life, it’s crucial to keep the printing process in mind during the planning stages.
Whether you’re planning a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual publication, here are 5 things to consider before starting up a magazine or catalogue.
1. Ink Colours
Magazines are most attention-grabbing when they’re printed in colour. Some publishers try to avoid full-colour printing because they assume it will be cheaper to print in black, but this isn’t always the case. While coloured inks can be more expensive, the cost largely depends on the layout of the magazine. Cost is also determined by where the black ink falls in relation to the coloured pages.
If your magazine or booklet will contain advertisements, it’s a good idea to print in colour, but if you’re still worried about costs, keep images associated with basic articles in black-and-white. Save colour printing for high-impact editorials and other featured pages.
Meanwhile, your direct mail company or printing services provider will ask if any ink will extend all the way to the edge of the pages. This is known as the ‘bleed.’ If so, your artwork layout will need to be created slightly larger than the finished trim size. If you’re unsure, speak to your printer before you get too far along in the design phase of your magazine.
Be mindful that commercial printers have certain page sizes they offer for magazines. Although you can print your publication in any size you choose, conforming to one of your printer’s standard sizes will lead to production efficiency. It will also keep your overall printing costs down.
Another reason to stick with standard dimensions is that your custom size may not perform well in your printer’s presses. You could end up with a sloppy printing job, and a lot of excess paper. These deficiencies can add up, increasing the cost of printing your magazines and catalogues.
3. Page Count
As well as determining your magazine’s dimensions, the page count is also an important consideration. This will help your printer calculate how much paper is required, and what type of paper quality would be best. When relaying the page count to your direct mail printer, don’t forget that all of them will be double-sided. So each ‘page’ will actually represent two pages.
4. Binding Style
Perfect Binding or Saddle-Stitch? The way in which your magazine will be held together is an important consideration. Magazines are typically bound in those two styles. But the method you choose will ultimately be determined by the number of pages in your publication.
Saddle-Stitch is the preferred method if your page count is relatively low. In this style, the magazine is held together with folded sheets stapled together. The staples are specially inserted through the crease of the spine, securing the pages as a whole unit. This is a very cost-effective binding method, yet still results in a very professional-looking publication.
If, on the other hand, your magazine or catalogue has a higher page count, the Perfect Binding method is the better choice. In this style, both the magazine pages and cover are glued together. The remaining three sides are then trimmed to create perfect-looking edges. Perfect Binding also allows for printing on the magazine’s spine.
5. Paper Quality
Because magazines are flipped through cover-to-cover only a few times, it’s not always necessary to use premium paper stock. Most magazines use thin paper because long-term durability is not a factor. Another reason is that these types of publications are often distributed through the mail. Printing on lighter paper can reduce bulkiness, which leads to a reduction in postage rates. This is particularly helpful if your magazine has a relatively high page count.