Good magazine printing should allow you to put your creative and brilliant ideas in print with newsstand-quality printing. Most people will pick up a magazine because of its high quality and image-rich content.
As it requires a lot of time, money, and thought, there are some aspects of magazine printing that one should be aware of before designing the magazine. So for an upscale magazine look and feel, you should consider:
The characteristics of your magazine paper
The type of paper you choose for printing your magazine helps to maximize better results and your desired output. The general aesthetics, look, and feel of a printed magazine may determine your magazine’s success.
Depending on your budget and page count, there are various magazine printing papers for you to choose. These include:
Super calendered magazine paper
These are typically lightweight paper, with a weight of between 39 grams and 60 grams, making them very economical. This type of paper is also bright and a great option for bulk printing.
Glossy magazine paper
Glossy magazine papers have high reflective effects, which provide for very appealing and vibrant colour results in print because of their high ink lift. This makes them ideal for producing high-intensity photos.
Matte magazine paper
As compared to glossy paper, matte magazine paper has a rougher look and feel to it. They are smooth in the finish even though they do not offer any surface reflection. They, however, give photos a two-dimensional and seemingly flatter look.
Lightweight-coated and medium weight-coated magazine paper
As the name suggests, lightweight-coated paper’s weight ranges from 35-70 grams. This is an excellent option for printing large quantities. Although they are only single-coated, they offer a good amount of brightness for the print.
On the other hand, medium-weight coated papers are double-coated and are capable of handling full-scale color magazine production while maintaining the print’s ability to block light (opacity).
Silk magazine paper
This magazine paper is almost like a cross between a gloss and matte paper. It is smooth and has no surface reflection like matte paper, but it offers high-intensity printing like gloss paper.
Printing on silk magazine papers requires the printers to seal the printed pages so that the ink does not rub on the other page as you leaf through it. This is because the ink on silk magazine paper does not dry as it would on gloss paper.
Most magazines use full-colour images in their publications. Magazine printing is usually done by commercial printers that use the 4-colour process. The 4-colour process involves using four ink colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, collectively known as CMYK.
While CMYK printing cannot create every colour imaginable, it is often used in conjunction with Spot printing or Pantone System Matching colours (PMS) printing in particular projects that require specific colours, especially for brand logos.
The binding style
The page count and thickness of the printing paper significantly influence the choice of binding method. There are two popular binding styles for magazines that designers usually choose. These are:
Highly inexpensive and the fundamental method of magazine binding. This method involves stapling and trimming to size printed paper. Saddle stitching is perfect for magazines with less than 48 pages as any more than that, and the magazine will not be able to lie flat.
When using saddle stitching, all the papers should have the same weight, and the inside paper should be narrower than the outside paper.
For publications with more than 48 pages, perfect binding is the best binding solution. This binding is done by gluing pages together at the spine, and then the cover is wrapped around the glued pages.
Magazines with perfect binding have a flat spine, allowing designers to add design or text, making the magazine easily identifiable on a newsstand.
Commercial printers charge per page. Therefore, it is imperative that before you send the magazines to the printers, make sure you have correctly counted the pages. Count all pages, including the cover and back page, counting the left and right pages separately at each page turn.
Depending on the agreement you may have with your printers, you may be charged per sheet instead of per page. A sheet is the physical piece of paper that will produce four pages when folded in half.
Dimensions of the magazine
The dimensions refer to the width and length of the magazine in its finished form. Commercial printers typically have standard sizes that you should consider before creating a layout for the magazine. This reduces wastage of paper, giving you an efficient and good paper yield.
The standard sizes are determined by the type of production equipment used by the printer. It would be wise to design your magazine’s page size to conform to one of your printer’s standard page sizes. This will optimize the production of your magazine and keep the cost as low as possible.
Quantity of magazines to be printed
The quantity magazines will help determine the best printing press to use. Since established magazines have widespread distribution and high readership levers, their large quantities necessitate a high-speed web press. A web press is an offset printing press that is fed from giant rolls of paper. As the paper unwinds from the roll, it forms a continuous “web” through the press.
Since start-up magazines do not have large production runs…at least in the early going, their initial runs of a recently-launched magazine are more likely to be produced on a sheet-fed printing press. Unlike a web press fed from a continuous spool of paper, a sheet-fed press has separate sheets of paper entering the press one after another.
Both the web and sheet-fed press produce high-quality printed material, with the web press being more cost-effective of the two.
Although printing is the last step in the magazine production process, the different aspects of this phase should be considered first as they affect the whole publication process. Your printing choices and style will ultimately affect the appearance and the cost of your magazine.