Wrap it up in COLOR

Making your work efforts work harder

With the photos in hand, we could now do the assembly of all the necessary elements needed to deliver the job. (See the previous page "Design First shoot later")


The finished sheet was designed to print one side only, process color, with a trim size of 23 x 10.75. This would seem to be an odd size, but it's really perfect for this job because it comes perfectly out of a sheet-fed 23.5 x 35 press sheet while allowing bleeds on three sides of each finished sheet. Notice the left panel has no bleeds, but the top, bottom and right sides bleed.

flat layout

With this layout we accomplish a number of chores with a single sheet and a single press run.

The Color Wrap

This was the primary use of the printed sheet. It would be folded to 8.5 x 10.75 (11") for the front and back "covers" of the catalog. The left-over 7" panel will wrap right around and fold in, over top of the black and white catalog pages providing a splash of color on the inside of the catalog as well.

folded With this configuration, the regular 8 x 10.5, 8-page black and white catalog could stitch into the color shell and finish up for a nice looking job. Since the client needed only a small quantity of finished, 8-page-plus-cover catalogs for the consumer show, the multi-purpose design of the whole sheet allowed us to print a larger quantity for better unit pricing. Since it's printed 4c one-side-only, the reverse side could be customized for the show and black-imprinted at our local quick-copy job shop. The remaining full sheets then shelved for future uses -- or trimmed out for an array of other merchandising uses.


Catalog sheets, or as we call them "sell-sheets" are an industry work-horse in the furniture, packaged goods and merchandising industries. So, the design also allows us to trim out two sell sheets printed 4c over blank. These single, 8.5 x 10.75, one-sided sell-sheets are perfect for imprinting and distribution to mail inquiries or retailers.

Notice the Jewelry sheet allows for imprinting the jewelry store's imprint in the center area of the layout. We can do this for each of the lines.

The Jewelry and Home sheets could then be customized individually for distribution as price lists or even in-store sheets for their respective merchandisers. The left-over 7-inch sheet could become a generalized in-store shelf-talker or bag-stuffer for retail outlets, showing the entire product line.

As an added bonus, the left-over 7" panel can be laminated as easel-back counter-cards, or distributed freely as take-one sheets. Of course the back sides of these are also imprinted. But the beauty in this small sheet is that it carries images of all three lines! So it's a good, all-purpose sheet for all kinds of selling from point-of-purchase to direct mail.

Designing Single Sheet Solutions

This kind of project isn't the solution for all your color jobs, but it's the kind of flexibility you can build into a job with the right forethought.

1. Understand the Client: This is the single most important thing you can do. It is always helpful to really interview the client, make notes, and understand their business, their product and the industry they're marketing to. This was our first project for this client and because of their low start-up budget we wanted to wring the most out of every dollar. Getting a handle on the big picture allows you to plan in all the tricks for time and money savings.

2. Understand your Photographer: By understanding the studio set-up, working methods and equipment the photographer offers, you can capitalize on getting everything you need with the least amount of time. Remember it's always better to design the functionality of the project first -- then shoot the required photos to satisfy those requirements -- rather than go shooting and then design based on the results of the shoot. Plan the shots and the session. Gather all necessary props so they're ready before the time-clock starts. And, learn from my mistake: be sure to have a shooting inventory so you get all the shots you need during the session.

3. Understand Printing: If you understand your printer, the equipment and the paper, you'll know how to optimize every sheet and make sure you get the most use out of the least amount of paper and ink. You'll know how to ask the right questions. Little tricks like not bleeding one or two sides of the big press sheet can sometimes save literally thousands of bucks. Other tricks like "short sheeting" gives an added edge for bleeds and color bars -- and no one ever noticed the catalogs were a quarter-inch short. The simple act of shifting from a 'brand' name paper stock to their in-house paper saved a potential 20%. But the printer won't always tell you that -- unless they're really service oriented. But you should ask. In many cases, the printer makes a few more bucks on the brand-name paper and may steer you to it. Establish a relationship with the printers in your area. Get to know them, trust them and lean on their expertise. I've use the same printer for high-end color for over 35 years. I wouldn't dream of changing. Why? They know me and I know them -- and I know they'll take good care of me.

So there you have it. One case where "Fantastic Folds" allowed a low printing budget to yield high returns in great looks and flexibility. Next time we'll look at more folds, and we'll share more of our favorite techniques.

Until next time... keep on learning

thanks for reading

Fred Showker

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