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.
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…
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!
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.
• 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.
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!