Tools Of The Trade #16: Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

When most of us think of newsprint, cheaply printed weekly papers or tabloids come to mind. We wouldn’t usually push it into the realm of high-end promotional pieces. That view is starting to shift, though as creatives want a more tactile way to share their work. While glossy, magazine-style paper looks great, some folks want something with a little more edge and grit. In a way, it’s exciting taking an old-school, tried-and-true medium and turning it on its head.

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Until recently, I knew nothing about the world of newsprint. I’d designed magazines and stacks of promo pieces but never anything that made its way to newsprint. But then Luke Copping, who always seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to these sorts of things, came to me with the idea of doing a 32 page piece. It was time to scour the internet for suitable printers! Here’s what I learned along the way…

Recommended Printers

We quickly narrowed down our prospects to two printers and a combination of their samples are featured in this post.

The first is Linco Printing, which is based in New York. Linco is great if you’re located in the U.S. and want to work with an established printer with a great reputation — they also did the Design Sponge paper, which turned out beautifully. The downside is that traditional printers are used to doing huge runs (think weekly papers) so for it to be cost effective, you’re going to have to commit to a lot of papers, probably a thousand at the very least.

After getting an exorbitant quote back because our run was just too tiny, we did some more digging and landed on Newspaper Club. Now, this site has major style and is easy to use. Not only that, but they’re able to produce small runs in multiple formats. Score!

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Because this was a higher end promotional piece featuring Luke’s photography, we went with the traditionally printed tabloid in the improved format. The improved format is on brighter, whiter stock and really pops. The weight of normal newsprint is about 30 gsm and this is 52 so it definitely has a more premium feel.

For you U.S. folks, Newspaper Club is based in the U.K. so when dealing with their guidelines, be warned that they are in millimeters. Their templates are super easy to use and as long as you follow their export instructions, you’ll end up with great results.

The one tricky part is that Newspaper Club doesn’t offer traditional proofs so triple-check what you’re uploading! Their customer service also checks your files and gives you the thumbs-up before it hits the press.

Nubby Twiglet | Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

Printing Tips

• Always start with a template provided by the printer if possible. A lot of them have specific margins set up and if your design moves into them, it won’t be able to be printed.

• There’s no need to have your images placed at any higher resolution than 300 dpi. Newsprint isn’t meant to be the highest quality so you won’t see improved results with higher resolution.

• Most newspapers are printed in multiples of 4 pages. Design accordingly!

• What you see on your brightly lit computer screen won’t always translate as well to newsprint. Newsprint tends to be thin and absorb a lot of ink so coverage can vary.

• It’s a good idea to stick with images that have a lot of contrast. If they’re too dark, they can look muddy on newsprint.

• If you use any black and white photos in your pieces, they have to be set to grayscale.

Newsprint Samples

If you want to compare samples like I did above, you’re in luck! Request some from Newspaper Club here and from Linco Printing here.

If you do print anything, let me know. I’d love to see it! And I’ll be sharing the outcome of Luke’s piece on the Branch blog soon!

19 Responses to Tools Of The Trade #16: Resources and Tips For Newsprint Projects

  1. Luke Copping says:

    A few other things I learned during this.

    1. Newsprint is newsprint, photos aren’t gong to reproduce at perfect glossy press quality. You will lose some details in the blacks and there will be some fade and some slight color pulls from the nature of the ink they use that sits on top of the paper rather than absorbing in – Which is kind of the great thing about newsprint. I love how analog it is. These aren’t perfect reproduction prints, but they have a patina and texture to them that I just love given the nature of the stories I am telling in this piece.

    2. The paper is brighter than most newsprint, but there is a bit of tint that comes through from the paper to the light tones of the images. Again, learn to love this.

    3. Your fingers will get black with ink when unpacking the box and obsessively going through dozens and dozens of copies because you are so excited to start sharing the project. My first run arrived last night and I am blown away by how it turned out!

  2. alicia says:

    That is so cool, thanks for sharing. The company I used to work for wanted to do something similar a while back but couldn’t come up with anything that suited their quantity + pricing needs. I’m super curious to see how your newsprint issue turns out!

    • Shauna says:

      alicia: That’s the same exact wall Luke and I hit until we came across Newspaper Club. I love that in some of the formats, you can order a single one!

  3. Jamie says:

    Great piece! I did a piece through Linco about 2 years ago and loved what we produced. Their quantities were high, but we needed a ton so it worked out well. They have great customer service as well!

    • Shauna says:

      Jamie: That is great to hear. I had a really good experience with their customer service and love the samples they sent. if I was doing a huge run, I’d use them in a heartbeat.

  4. Cassiefairy says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ve already clicked through to find out more information on newspaper printing & think I will order some samples – would be great for a piece of artwork I have in mind :)

  5. littlepurplegoth says:

    We’ve used the newspaper club for several projects now, and also read their other projects with companies like The Guardian, and the comic convention Thought Bubble. All round brilliant stuff, and lovely to see them get an international airing :-)

  6. Sara Berkes says:

    This is GREAT. I absolutely love print and love the idea of using newsprint—so ingenious! Now I just have to find a client who loves it just as much… or a good enough personal promo idea :)

  7. Pingback: Project Spotlight: Luke Copping Newsprint Promo | We Are Branch

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