Posts Tagged paper

Paper | Coatings and Crackings

Coatings and Crackings

paperfoldtestEver received a brochure, booklet or other piece of mail that appears to be cracked along the folded edge? This sometimes occurs with full coverage ink or digital toner when the document is folded unless precautions are taken in advance.

There are three items to consider: Coated papers, toner vs ink and paper fiber orientation.

The Paper Factor

Ink soaks into uncoated paper and digital toner adheres to its rougher surface. Adhesion ability is reduced with a coated paper for both ink and toner. You may get the glossy or satiny finish you like, but you may also experience cracking through both layers – coating and ink or toner.

Specially coated papers will work with non-water-based inks and there are specific papers used with toner based printing.

Should I Choose Toner or Ink?

Most digital toners are made of plastic or wax powders that are fused to the paper using heat. Water or alcohol based inks are commonly used on home inkjet printers; these inks soak into uncoated paper before drying. Glossy printing on a home inkjet printer can only be done using specially coated photo papers.

Commercial printing presses use oily inks that adhere to the paper much like paint.

The Big One: Grain Orientation

Paper is made of wood or cotton fibers and are directed in one direction, although papers such as tissue or the 20# bond you probably use in your office are non-oriented.paperteartest

To determine the orientation of your paper do a tear test. Tearing with the grain produces neat, parallel strips, against the grain ends with ragged and unpredictably shaped pieces. Take a piece of paper and tear it both on the short end and the long end of the paper to test.

How to Reduce Cracking

For short print runs you will most likely want to choose digital printing. The first line of defense to prevent cracking of toner based pieces is to design without full toner coverage where the fold is to occur. Heavier stock such as card or cover, should be scored whether or not there is toner at the fold line.

Ask your printer if they have a stock that can be run with the grain oriented to fit your fold configuration. Often times a larger sheet paper can be used although the price may be a bit higher.

You could also employ the use of special coatings such as UV, varnish or aqueous. UV coating requires the use of a special ultraviolet light. All three options are available as either “spot” or “flood” coating.

Make sure to use your vendor’s expertise during design and paper selection. They will be able to steer you to the best possible outcome!

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Strahm Gains Efficiencies with Canon Solutions America

Strahm Automation & Mailing Services Gains Efficiencies with Canon Solutions America

ocecolorstreaminkjet

Thank you, Canon Solutions America, for such a great write up about our new Océ ColorStream 3500.  You couldn’t be more right about our staff and customers’ enthusiasm for our new printer.

One of the best qualities of Brian Dicker is that he embraces new technology, giving Strahm the best possible production capabilities for our customers.

Thank you Brian and thank you Canon Solutions America!

Read the article here!

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USPS | Paper | Direct Mail – All Working Together!

Selecting The Right Paper When Designing Direct Mail!

When designing your fabulous direct mail piece, have you ever just fallen head-over-heels in love with a particular paper only to find out that it doesn’t meet certain USPS requirements? Or, worse, that you will have to pay increased postage just to mail it?

Selecting the right paper can make all the difference in how your mail piece is perceived and how well it travels through the mailstream.

There are a plethora of papers out there to choose from. Work with your designer, printer and mail house to choose a stock to make the best impression with your mail. Each of these people should provide insight into why a paper works or doesn’t work and how to effectively produce your job.

You should be aware of light reflectivity – there needs to be enough of a difference between the ink and the paper for USPS MLOCR equipment to read the address and barcode. This means no dark stock. And stock with fibers throughout, including some recycled papers, can cause problems with reading address as well.

A big decision will be whether to use coated or uncoated paper. 

For images with lots of detail, a coated paper offers a sharp, clean look. Coated paper also makes color “pop”. Think about the end use of your printed piece.  If it needs to be addressed after printing, make sure that the coating will not interfere with high-speed inkjet printers used by your mail house. 

Uncoated papers have become increasingly popular. They can “feel” formal, or very contemporary. If you are hand signing a card, for example, you want to use an uncoated paper. Uncoated paper also scores and folds a little better than coated papers and some digital presses “prefer” uncoated stock.

A visit to the local paper supplier is always fun; you’ll be bowled over by the shear number of papers available. But make sure to get input from your printer and mail house before you get too attached to a stock that won’t convey your message well or, worse, won’t look great in your recipient’s mail box!

For further details visit USPS® paper regulations for direct mail.

What are your favorite papers and how do you think they enhance your mail piece or company image? Or just share your war stories on paper choices gone awry. We’d love to hear them.

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Eliminate The “Paper Weight” Confusions!!

Let’s End the Confusion

In an effort to help eliminate the “Paper Weight” confusion problem, we have compiled the comprehensive table listed below. Now you can compare various types of paper and their “Equivalent Weights.”

Definitions:

  • Basis Weight The basis weight of a paper is the designated fixed weight of 500 sheets, measured in pounds, in that paper’s basic sheet size. It is important to note that the “basic sheet size” is not the same for all types of paper.
  • Caliper Caliper refers to the thickness of a sheet of paper expressed in thousandth of an inch. This measurement is taken with a micro meter. Normally, paper caliper should not have more than a + or – 5% variance within a sheet. Generally, the relation between caliper and basis weight…the greater the caliper (the thicker the paper), the greater the paper weight.
  • Equivalent Weight While different paper types have different basic sizes, papers can still be compared by using equivalent weight.

The Values in the table below are intended to serve as a guide only. They should not be used as specifications because there are variances within the same basis weight due to other characteristics of the papers. Similar weight papers may vary between different paper manufacturers.

  • The darker colored boxes above represent the “most common paper weights” for that category.
  • Normalpaper manufacturing tolerance within a paper production run is + or – 5% to 7% caliper
  • This Table was compiled by Micro Format, Inc.
  • Copyright 1997-2011 Micro Format, Inc. –Wheeling,IL 60091

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USPS | Paper | Direct Mail – All Working Together!

Selecting The Right Paper When Designing Direct Mail!

When designing your fabulous direct mail piece, have you ever just fallen head-over-heels in love with a particular paper only to find out that it doesn’t meet certain USPS requirements? Or, worse, that you will have to pay increased postage just to mail it?

Selecting the right paper can make all the difference in how your mail piece is perceived and how well it travels through the mailstream.

There are a plethora of papers out there to choose from. Work with your designer, printer and mail house to choose a stock to make the best impression with your mail. Each of these people should provide insight into why a paper works or doesn’t work and how to effectively produce your job.

You should be aware of light reflectivity – there needs to be enough of a difference between the ink and the paper for USPS MLOCR equipment to read the address and barcode. This means no dark stock. And stock with fibers throughout, including some recycled papers, can cause problems with reading address as well.

A big decision will be whether to use coated or uncoated paper. 

For images with lots of detail, a coated paper offers a sharp, clean look. Coated paper also makes color “pop”. Think about the end use of your printed piece.  If it needs to be addressed after printing, make sure that the coating will not interfere with high-speed inkjet printers used by your mail house. 

Uncoated papers have become increasingly popular. They can “feel” formal, or very contemporary. If you are hand signing a card, for example, you want to use an uncoated paper. Uncoated paper also scores and folds a little better than coated papers and some digital presses “prefer” uncoated stock.

A visit to the local paper supplier is always fun; you’ll be bowled over by the shear number of papers available. But make sure to get input from your printer and mail house before you get too attached to a stock that won’t convey your message well or, worse, won’t look great in your recipient’s mail box!

For further details visit USPS® paper regulations for direct mail.

What are your favorite papers and how do you think they enhance your mail piece or company image? Or just share your war stories on paper choices gone awry. We’d love to hear them.

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Streamline Your Statement & Invoices

Does your call center experience peaks in volume just after your statements/invoices are mailed?  Are you looking for ways to better serve your customers while managing resources and staffing in your call center?

We recently completed an extensive overhaul for a client’s utility statements.  We introduced highlight color, graphs and icons to simplify the layout and make navigation of the statement user friendly. The page count for an average statement was reduced from 6 pages down to 4 pages which provided another level of cost savings to the client.

During initial meetings with the client stakeholders, it was determined that nearly 20% of their call center volume stemmed from customers confused about their statement.  They were increasing staff and/or allowing for staff overtime for the period following mailing of statements to handle the increase in call volume and associated time spent with each caller.

Streamlining the statement and highlighting pertinent information including amount due, brought benefits such as:

  • Increased customer service satisfaction
  • Reduced call center volume
  • Reduced staff overtime
  • Decreased printing costs
  • Decreased time to pay

How could a little color benefit your operations?

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How Green Is Your Mail?

Curious About “Greening” Your Mail?

The USPS asked in a sustainability campaign, “How Green is Your Mail?”

Mailers have opportunities to decrease their environmental impact and any organization can implement these strategies.  Oce Business Services shares these tips:

  1. Manage Ink:  When designing your mailpiece, choose fewer colors and less ink coverage/usage.  This reduces chemicals used during the printing process.
  2. Think TransPromo: Create a document that combines transactional printing (think statement or invoice) with a marketing piece – all in one document and one envelope.
  3. Paper Usage:  Use a smaller font and/or decrease the margins in order to keep to a single page document.  Can’t do it?  Default to printing both sides (duplex).  Going duplex can save you up to 50% on paper costs while serving the environment as well.
  4. Sourcing Paper:  Choose paper stocks that come from managed forests.  The Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) certification supports responsible forestry; forests are audited for best practices and must meet strict guidelines.  As well, this sends a clear message to your customers that you care about forests.
  5. Utilize Print on Demand:  This concept has been around for years and centers on printing only what you need/when you need it.  This eliminates waste caused by document obsolescence.  As well, you could select a printer at or near your point of consumption, reducing or eliminating transportation costs.
  6. Mailing Lists:  Updating your mailing list may be a challenge, but the cost savings and environmental impact is significant.  It is estimated that 15% – 20% of individuals and businesses move each year.  Reduce waste and eliminate the printing and postage costs of mail that is non-deliverable.

Has your organization implemented green initiatives in their mailing practices?  What outcomes did you experience?  We’d love to hear your stories!

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