Ever pulled apart a stapled magazine and wondered how all those pages end up in the right order? Did you know that adding or removing four printed pages could save you a considerable amount of money? Let's dive into what the most economical page count is for your project.
It all revolves around a tricky little concept in printing called ‘sections’, and the economics of printing, folding and binding these sections.
So let’s assume we’re working with an A4, stapled magazine, and start with the basics.
WHAT IS A PRINTING SECTION?
Even though your finished magazine is made up of a bunch of A3 sheets, printing these individually is not the most economical way. Instead, we take four sets of double sided A3s (8 x A4 fronts and 8 x A4 backs) and place them in a specific location and pagination on a much larger sheet. This is what we call a 16 page printing ‘section’.
Take a look at the picture below. Here you can clearly see the 8 A4’s marked out on one side, with 8 different A4’s on the reverse. A total of 16 A4 pages on the one sheet.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
From here the large sheet is folded in half three times to give the slightly oversized A4 finish, as you can see in image 4 below.
To make a magazine of more than 16 pages, multiple folded ‘sections’ are collated together, stapled down the centre, and trimmed top, bottom and fore edge to make a finished A4 product. See a quick video of this process below.
WHAT PAGE NUMBERS ARE THE MOST ECONOMICAL TO PRINT?
By understanding what a section is, it’s easier to now understand how printing in full sections is more economical to print, fold and bind.
The best page count is a multiple of that 16 page section. So 16, 32, 48 pages etc.
If creating multiples of 16 pages is simply too difficult, the next option would be a configuration of a 16 page section plus an 8 page section. For an example a 40 page book = 2 x 16 page sections + 1 x 8 page section.
To make a magazine of more than 16 pages, multiple folded ‘sections’ are collated together, stapled down the centre, and trimmed to make a finished A4 product
WHY IS A 16 page MAGAZINE CHEAPER THAN A 12 page?
This can be a little tricky to get your head around, so visually is often the best way to explain it.
If you take the 16 page section we referenced above and remove 4 of those pages, the printing sheet will look a little like the below. Getting rid of those blank pages is often more costly and time consuming than leaving them in, which is why you’ll find a 12 page brochure more expensive than a 16 page one.
This is certainly a lot to digest if the concept of printing sections is completely new to you.
Our articles are meant to be a guide, but definitely not the only resource. That’s why we have friendly people at the other end of the phone to help you with technical information about page numbers, binding and any other print, mail or logistics related questions.