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Before designing your piece, there are certain questions you want to talk to your printer about. One of the questions is verifying the final trim size. Very few catalogs or magazines are printed at 8.5 x 11. A lot of times they are printed 8 and 3/8ths by 10 and 7/8ths, or some other size. You don't want to design your whole catalog and then find out your final trim size as incorrect. Another question you're going to want to ask your printer is the binding method. There is perfect bound, which means it's glued; saddle stitched, which means it's stapled; or in some cases, spiral bound.
You're going to want to know this when designing your piece. Another question you want to talk to your printer about is if there is any drilling taking place or punching or three hole drilling? If so, what size? Knowing what size the drill hole will be, allows you to move your images and text away from the edge so they don't get drilled through. Another area to discuss, although this might change during the design process, is the number of pages. Knowing the number of pages helps them when they order paper and also when you design your catalog. Of course, another great question to talk about is stock.
There are so many different stocks out there. You want to give the printer an idea what stock you're thinking of, so they can get that ordered. When designing your piece, you're going to want to talk about the number of inks. This includes process, spot, and any varnish colors. You might have a spot varnish, or you might have an entire flood varnish, which simply means it takes up the entire page. Another question you're going to want to talk to your printer about is mailing. If your piece is designed to mail, you're going to want to talk with the mailing department. You want to make sure it meets all postal regulations before designing and printing.
You want to talk to your printer about a delivery schedule, when you anticipate this been ready to hand off to the printer, when you expect proofs back, and when you expect the final piece to be delivered. This helps everybody stay on the same page as far as delivery schedule goes.
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