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Church Directory Printing: Seven Things To Tell Your Printer

Planning to Create a Printed Church Directory? Save Time and Headaches by getting your Printer involved Early in the Process.

A professionally-printed directory is a very valuable resource for the members and leaders of a church. But creating a custom directory is a big undertaking, so it is advisable to get your printer involved early in the process.

As a printer of books and directories, I have compiled the following list to help guide you. Basically, these are the seven things you will need to relay to your printer so he/she can accurately quote and produce your directory.

If you are unsure of anything, don't worry…your printer will offer guidance and suggestions.

1) Dimensions -

Some Church Directory dimensions - such as 8.5" x 11" or 5.5" x 8.5" - are quite popular and economical to produce. Furthermore, some printers can produce large, odd or custom size directories and some cannot. It all depends on the printer's production equipment.

Also, your printer may make size suggestions to help keep your production and distribution costs as low as possible. This is why it is advisable to always consult with your printer BEFORE getting too deep into the design and layout phases. A few subtle design changes upfront could translate to big savings later.

2) Quantity -

Knowing the quantity will allow your printer to match your Church Directory to the type of printing press best suited for producing it. For example, if you only need 200 copies of your directory, it might be more cost effective to produce it on a digital printing press. Conversely, if you need 1000 directories, then an offset press will likely be the most economical production method.

3) Page Count -

The page count of your Church Directory (along with the total quantity of directories needed) will help your printer calculate how much paper is needed to produce your project. The page count will also help determine which Binding Style is best suited for your directory (see #4 below).

To help determine the proper page count of your directory, see our earlier Blog article: Book Printing Lingo: Understanding the "Page Count" of a Book

4) Binding Style -

Church Directories are generally bound with the Spiral Binding method or the Perfect Binding method. Both of these methods provide a very professional appearance and can accommodate high page counts.

The Spiral Binding method uses a plastic or metal coil that is inserted and twisted through small holes or slots that run along the spinal edge of the directory's cover and pages. An advantage to this type of binding method is that the directory can be opened a full 360 degrees which permits it to lie completely flat on a desk or table.

With the Perfect Binding method, the directory's pages and cover are glued together at the spine with strong yet flexible glue. The three open sides of the directory are then trimmed to give them sharp clean edges.

Sometimes, a third binding method - Saddle Stitch binding - can be used for directories if the page count is low. Saddle Stitching uses staples driven though the directory's spine to secure the pages into book form.

5) Ink Colors -

Will your Church Directory be produced with full-color pages and a full-color cover? Or will some of the elements be printed in black ink only? In some cases, black ink may be the more economical choice, but full-color provides maximum impact and perceived value, especially if your directory contains photographs. Sometimes there is a mixture of full-color pages and black ink pages, such as when the church directory contains advertisements among the member listings.

Your printer may also ask if the ink coverage extends all the way to the edge of the pages or cover (called a Bleed). Depending on the project, an ink bleed may cost slightly more because it requires printing on a larger sheet of paper and then trimming the paper down to the desired size.

6) Paper Characteristics -

The paper characteristics you select- such as thickness, texture and sheen level - largely depend on two factors. The first factor is the value you want your directory to project. For example, a directory made with a heavy, lustrous cover provides a higher image of quality than a thinner, duller cover.

The second factor is how durable you want your directory to be. If you print a directory infrequently, then you should consider using more durable paper with a protective clear finish. This will help it survive until the next printing. However, if you reprint a directory rather often then the thickness and sheen level of the cover and pages can generally be reduced, if you so choose.

7) Additional Requirements -

Let your printer know if your Church Directory project has any special features or requirements. For example, will your directory require any tabbed dividers? Will any sections within the directory be printed on colored paper? Will the directory's cover be laminated to improve longevity? Would you like your printer to distribute the finished directories directly to your congregation members? The more information you can provide to your printer the smoother the quoting and production processes will be.

With 25 years of printing experience, Formax can produce your Church Directories in just about any quantity, size, type, color or binding style you may need. Also, because we work with a lot of churches, synagogues and foundations, we can offer a variety of money-saving suggestions to help you stay within budget.

If you have an upcoming project and would like any guidance or assistance, just give us a call at (314) 434-5500 or (866) 367-6221. Or, if you already know your specifications and would like to receive a quote, please click here. We look forward to assisting you!

Take care! Keith

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include book printing, full-color printing, laminated printing, map printing, plus mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services since 1985.

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