Litho print means big savings on large quantities, lithography is cost-effective on larger orders
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Why Large Volumes of Print Represent Much Better Value

You can see by comparing prices of 500 and 5,000 of our business cards that 10 times the quantity of cards cost less than three times as much? Why is this?

The answer is in the process used to print your cards. We use litho (lithographic) printing which uses aluminium plates to transfer ink, via a series of rollers, to the sheets of paper or card.

The plates are costly to produce, but once made, can produce one or one million prints – the cost of the ink and paper is relatively very small.

Quite often, if you contact us our Design Advice Line or by email, we will suggest an alternative quantity of a particular product if the next step up represents a significant saving. This is not a 'hard-sell'; it's our belief that it would be wrong not to advise you of the (often very small) cost difference between the minimum order quantity and the next quantity break.

Since the plates are expensive, can they be kept and used for future reprints?

Unfortunately not. At one time, plates were made using a process similar to developing photographs. They were exposed to light, developed, and 'fixed' which meant they could be kept indefinitely with careful storage. This meant that future reprints were possible at a significant cost saving.

Today, plates are manufactured using a CtP (computer to plate) system, which is much faster and more environmentally sound. Lasers 'etch' the image into the plates, a lot like a laser printer in your home or office.

The downside of the process is that because the plates are light-sensitive, they last only a day or two before deteriorating beyond use. Future reprints therefore need to have new plates manufactured, which means there is no cost saving.

However, the new techniques of batch printing that computerisation has brought about – where your job is printed alongside dozens of others – is so efficient that in real terms, prices for the vast majority of printed goods have fallen significantly over the last 15 years or so.

Plan ahead and save money

If you can predict with some accuracy what your likely use of business cards, leaflets, letterheads and so forth is likely to be, it makes sense to order as large a volume as possible (providing of course you have the storage space).

Beware of some of the pitfalls associated with ordering and storing large volumes of print, however. It is clearly a false economy to order a large quantity of letterheads, only to end up disposing of half of them because you have moved offices.

We are always happy to suggest ways of modifying an existing design to avoid as many of these pitfalls as possible. Please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation chat about your ideas on 01457 778788.

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