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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Five Perfect Web Printing Jobs

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 22, 2016 11:09:08 AM

Web printing has nothing to do with the World Wide Web. (It would be interesting to do a survey to see how many people actually know that’s the term referenced in the “www” in web addresses).   It’s understandable that many non-printer buyers who hear that Elite Envelope & Graphics does cold web printing automatically think it’s something done with a computer.  Well, our 8 color Didde Colortech press does have a computer attached but it’s for assuring the proper balance of CMYK as we lay down another awesome print job.

 The “web” part comes from the fact that the paper printed in these presses starts as a roll. As the roll unwinds through the press, it wraps around a series of rollers designed to keep the paper taut in order to maintain proper registration of the printing.  This creates the look of a “web” of paper; hence the name. The photo just below shows our two web presses from the back and gives you an idea of what I’m talking about.

2013-07-26_02.17.29.jpg Commercial presses print on either individual sheets (sheet-fed) or rolls of paper (web). Most high-end printing is done on sheet-fed presses. There are a lot of reasons for that but suffice it to say, both types of printing have their place depending on the individual job.  Web printing has its advantages over sheet fed for things like long runs of individual sheets; newspapers and broadsheets, booklets and perforated items. There are a lot of different web presses out there and each has its own unique features and strengths.  Here’s a list of five hypothetical jobs that are tailor-made for our particular web presses and which would be suitable for just about any similar type of press. 

  1. Letter size (8 ½ x 11) individual cut sheets for letterhead, statements or invoices.
  2. Postcards for mailing or binding in a catalog or booklet
  3. Buck slips (usually 3 ½ x 8 ½)
  4. 8, 12, 16 or 24 page booklet/self-mailer (ideal page size 8 ¼ x 10 ¾)
  5. Placemats (11 x 17) used routinely by diners and restaurants

The most common stocks for the above jobs would be 50-70# offset or opaque or 7-9 point hi- bulk for the cards.  Since perforating can be done in-line as the item is printed, any of the above items which contain perforated lines make it an even better value and better suited for the web press.  There can be multiple perforations or even cross-perforations on a single piece.   Folding for any of the cut sheets: e.g. a trifold letter size sheet to fit in a #10 envelope, is another ideal characteristic for a web job.  

Any of the above items can be printed from simple black up to and including 4 color process on both sides.  Newer web equipment features high resolution color printing which produces sharp, clear images suitable for all manner of direct mail applications.

The moral of the story is that anyone who buys print should know what works best on a web press versus sheet-fed.  Many buyers we work with will order one or two components out of a direct mail package to print web for the best price.  We hope this helps to clarify where you might start looking to make those buying decisions. It could very well save your company money and make you look very smart. Of course we realize you’re already smart because you’ve read this piece to the very end.  Oh, and you can get further information on our webs from the world-wide web at www.eliteenvelope.com

Topics: web printing, cold web printing, direct mail printing, financial printing, web printing versus sheet fed

Top Five Printed Products for the Cold Web Press

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jul 31, 2015 11:45:00 AM

Elite Envelope Cold Web Printing

Whenever you’re reading an article about how to write a blog article for maximum exposure, lists are always mentioned as a way to pique reader interest.  We’ve all seen them; those ads on the pages we click on with titles like: “Top 10 things you should never say to your wife/husband/pet”, whatever. How can you possibly resist clicking on something like that? Of course once we get there (after waiting and waiting for the page to load with an enormous number of other ads and click-bait) we are generally disappointed by something pretty banal like: “Number Six:  Are you gaining weight?” (Cats are particularly sensitive to that question…).

I try to keep this blog more geared toward useful information of a general nature and not too “salesy”. Thus far I’ve resisted using lists but we do some great things on our webs and I think you’d benefit from checking us out.  So here’s my Top Five list (could have made it Top Ten but hey, you’re busy and I respect your time).  These are not necessarily the “top” items but rather five commonly printed products that work really well on the cold web presses of the type we have at Elite Envelope.  But enough!  Here’s the list (in no particular order):

Bind-in/Blow-in cards for catalogs –  These can be printed with either a single perf so the customer can tear off the pertinent information or with a “T” perf so a reply card can be sent back in the mail; generally for lead generation.   Also Buck Slips: These are generally included as part of a direct mail package; often containing an “extra special” offer or message. In some instances, we will receive the order for just this one component because we happen to be very competitive on them.

Mailers & Fliers – Letter and Legal size cut sheets are a great fit for our webs. We print 2 or 4 page fliers that can be folded to a #10 or 5 ½ x 8 ½ and mailed; also 8-24 page full color booklets that can be mailed. We will often get orders for letters that will be personalized later. We’ll print and ship flat in cartons to the fulfillment house. 

Statements and Invoices with Perforations – Another part of the cut sheet family; we produce enormous amounts of these for medical billing companies, banks, election departments, local and municipal tax departments and others. The webs do perforations in-line which can make a huge difference in price especially on large quantities. The webs can also do multiple perforations and right-angle perforations. 

Placemats -   Yes, placemats! 11 x 17 placemats are the perfect size for diners, cafes and the food industry in general and they work great on our web presses.  They can be designed with ads and other information and can be printed in beautiful four-color process usually on 70# paper at very competitive prices.

Donation and Bind-In Envelopes  -  Fewer catalogs are using bind-in reply envelopes these days but they are still being purchased and we can provide them as well as the same style of envelope used by many non-profits for the mailing back of contributions.  These differ from regular envelopes in that they are end-glued without side seams so not as bulky when they are inserted into a booklet or catalog.  They can also be made with a lip at the end of the flap which is used for properly binding the item.

 

On any of these items, we can print up to 8 colors (4/4) in bold, sharp quality.  Please contact us if there’s anything we can do. As always, we love to get your comments as well.

Topics: cold web printing, direct mail printing, printed statements, web printing, Placemats, Bind In Cards, Blow In Cards, bind-in envelopes

Order Form Envelopes and Bind-In Envelopes – What you need to know

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 22, 2015 3:13:00 PM

In the Brave New World of envelopes and printing 2015, much like in the music and recording world, everything is mashed up. In order to survive and thrive through the decline in overall print and envelope volumes of the past decade and a half or so, many companies have diversified their product offerings in order to maintain and increase their market share.  It seems like there is an unspoken consensus among those in the print and mail industry that “you gotta’ do, what you gotta” do” to survive.

Elite Envelope made this decision a few years ago when we decided to join forces with and eventually acquire the cold-web printing company Web Corp. While many of our customers were and are printers themselves, we found no resistance from them when we began to sell direct mail and financial printing. We consulted with many of them beforehand and were quickly reassured.  Part of this was our particular situation and the fact that cold-web printing on uncoated roll stock was not seen as competition to most sheet-fed printers.  However, my feeling is that there is a sense that the only envelope converter in Boston (that’s us!) provides a valuable service to the printing industry in general and thus needs to remain viable.  This general sense applies industry-wide to those of us that remain strong and profitable.

Which brings me to the fact that our cold web presses are great for printing bind-in envelopes and order form envelopes which we are now featuring as a product offering in the aftermath of the closing down of B & W Press in Georgetown, MA which had been one of the major suppliers for these products both in New England and nationally.

This product goes by several different names:  order form envelope, bind-in envelope, donor envelope, bind-in order form and more.  Although the word envelope is used in many of the descriptions, this is not technically an envelope; at least by manufacturing/converting standards.  An envelope is characterized by seams and panels which fold across each other in some configuration.  The order form envelope et al is really just a folded piece of paper which is glued at the edge in one portion to form a pouch that can be used as an envelope.  It’s more in the business form family than the envelope family.

The phrase “bind-in” means quite literally that the product is in many cases bound inside a catalog or brochure before it is mailed.  The order form envelope is then removed by the recipient and used to order products or, in the case of donor envelopes, to make a donation. The “envelope” portion can be separated by a perforation and will have a strip of seal gum which when moistened will seal the envelope for return mailing.

While not as sturdy and durable as an envelope, these bind-in products are perfectly functional and mail-able under US Postal guidelines.  The main benefits are they are less bulky than an envelope and therefore easier for the bindery to insert and take up less space.  They also weigh slightly less than an envelope which can be a factor when postage costs are considered.  Lastly and most obviously they are multi-functional combining the order form, promotional material and the envelope all in one convenient piece.

Elite can print them in full color on both sides or very simply in spot colors if that’s your preference. They can be made in various styles and configurations with a single panel in addition to the envelope or with multiple panels for more comprehensive messaging.  We are one of the few companies that can provide both standard, conventional envelopes as well as the paper form envelope product described here. Please let us know if we can be of service and I’d like to hear how you have used this product in your business.  

Topics: envelope converting, cold web printing, order form envelopes, bind-in envelopes, donor form envelopes

Envelopes and Web Printing: The Happy Couple

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 19, 2015 11:42:00 AM

marriage of envelopes and web printing

 

When Elite Envelope and Graphics acquired Web Corp in September of 2012, we joked that it was likely to be a good “marriage” of companies based on the compatibility of the staff, similarity of customers and the friendly relations between the ownership of the two companies. 

It has certainly turned out that way. After moving the three Didde web presses into our facility almost two years ago, we have managed to integrate the two companies quite well. We’ve been able to cross train so that peak demand can be more easily handled with existing resources.  The personalities have meshed and everyone works well together toward common objectives.

But none of that would have been the case were it not for the fact that envelope converting and printing and web printing are very compatible businesses with products that complement each other and the markets we serve very well. 

Web printing has always been the “go-to” process for a lot of direct mail components.  The typical, basic direct mail components of letter with perforated tear-off for reply and separate buck slip or letter, buck slip and reply card can all be produced very economically on web presses. The fact that most web presses will be able to perforate in-line makes those letters a better fit versus a sheet-fed press where the perforating has to be done separately.

Typically web presses can print on paper as light as 30# newsprint – sometimes even lighter weights like 27# which are commonly used in financial printing for all the legal boilerplate required by government regulators.  On the other side, the webs can also use paper rolls as heavy as 9 point high-bulk or 110# text. The latter is a mailing weight; i.e. heavy enough to be mailed as a reply card and still hold up quite nicely.

Web presses, especially cold-web presses of the type we have at Elite, are generally thought of for basic printing: black or a color or two with light to medium coverage.  In the printing world, that’s often referred to as “down and dirty” printing (interesting that an idiomatic phrase often associated with someone’s sexual proclivities gets adapted to the printing world. I’ll leave it at that!)  However, newer web presses such as our Color Tech and VIP models can print in beautiful full coverage up to 8 colors. That usually means 4 over 4 although it can be broken down in any number of ways: 6 over 2, 5 over 3, etc.  These colors give great life to direct mail pieces and the web process enables these finely printed pieces to be produced at a very competitive cost.

And what do all those components need in order to complete the package? Yes, the mighty envelope(s)! Elite is one of the few envelope converters that has the ability to produce entire direct mail packages all under one roof.  There are many printers that have presses which can print envelopes but not many envelope manufacturers that can print on flat sheets. 

As the printing and envelope industries evolve in the digital world, I believe more companies will start to emulate this model.  Being more productive and offering greater value to the customer is the only way to maintain a reasonable profit margin in a mature industry.

Those looking for an economical way to produce a great-looking direct mail package can find what they want fairly easily. Just look for the happily married couple!

Topics: elite envelope, envelope converting, cold web printing, direct mail printing, web printing

Direct Mail Printing on the Cold Web

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 13, 2014 9:41:00 AM

Elite Envelope Cold Webs

Cold web is a type of offset lithographic printing done on presses that print sheets from rolls of paper.

In cold web printing, the ink dries by absorption into the paper. For this reason, cold web presses print only on uncoated stock.

Cold web printing has long been the choice of many print buyers for a wide variety of direct mail components. Printed products such as 2 - 8 page letters, 4 page brochures, buck slips and the like are all produced very cost-effectively in this way.

Collateral material for catalogs such as bind- in cards, blow in cards and applications also work well on the webs.  They can be printed on text weight stock or mailing weight such as 7 point or 9 point high-bulk with single or multiple perforations done in-line for maximum efficiency.

Billing statements, cut- sheet laser letters, letterhead typically produced on either 8 ½ x 11 or 8 ½ x 14 size sheets all are an excellent fit for the webs.

With all the various products crossing a print-buyer’s desk, it’s sometimes not easy to determine the best method for producing each specific piece. A typical printing company may not have all the equipment necessary to produce each item in the most cost-effective manner.

A smart print-buyer will practice what’s known as “print-specific buying”. This simply means that each component of a various package will be sourced to the printer that has the right equipment for that particular piece. This may take a little more time and effort but it will ultimately lead to each piece being done in the best way at the lowest cost. 

What Makes a Great Job for the Cold Web?

Stock  -   Must be uncoated and within a weight of 30# at the lightest and 9 point high-bulk (approximately #115 text) at the heaviest.

Size – the cold webs print from rolls down to sheets. The largest possible sheet size measures 22” x 23”.

The most common cut sheet sizes coming off the press are 11 x 17 and 17 x 22.  The ideal sizes that cut or fold from those sheets are:

6 up - 3 ½ x 8 ½ buck slips or cards

2 up - 8 ½ x 11 cut sheets

1 up - 11 x 17 folded to 8 ½ x 11 – 4 page booklet

8, 12 or 16 pages – 8 ½ x10 ¾ folded, glue bound or saddle stitched

While these sizes are popular and the most economical, there is no limit on the sizes that can be produced on the cold web provided it’s at or below the maximum sheet size of 22” x 23”.

Color – anything up to 8 colors including 4-color-process on both sides (4/4) can be handled easily. This is done in a single pass saving time and cost and ensuring uniform color and coverage throughout.

Quantity – beginning at 5,000 (minimum) up to 1,000,000 + (depending on the item)

Products that Work Well with Cold Web Printing

Direct mail components in general. Think about what is inserted into an envelope, 2 page - 8 page letters, 4 page brochures, buck slips and the like.

Collateral material for catalogs such as bind- in cards, blow in cards, and applications all work well on the webs.  They can be printed on text weigh stocks or mailing weight such as 7pt or 9 point hi-bulk with single or multiple perforations.

Statements, Bills or Letterhead – These are typically produced in letter or legal size both of which are an excellent fit for the cold web. 

Folded letters or Disclosures – These can be folded either to fit in a #10 or in a tight, map-style multi fold.

Brochures, Newsletters and Booklets

Placemats, Pads, and a Plethora of other Products! Including anything with a Perforation

We hope you find this information useful. Your comments, as always, are much appreciated.

 

Topics: cold web printing, direct mail printing, printed statements, printed bills, perforated statements, buck slips, letterhead

Printing an Envelope the Right Way

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 27, 2014 11:35:00 AM

man looking at envelope

There are two main criteria for deciding how to print your envelopes: aesthetics and price – or most commonly a combination of the two.

The aesthetic or look of the piece is generally going to be determined by marketing factors; i.e. the purpose for which the envelope will be used. A simple function like letterhead or mailing an invoice will not require an elaborate look. In fact, going overboard on design for an envelope with a modest purpose might actually send the wrong message such as; “We’ve got way too much money to spend so thanks to all our customers for putting us in this position.”   On the other hand if you’re selling something – a new and exciting product or service, you’re probably going to want match the excitement of the offering with the appropriate graphics and color.

Fortunately for direct marketers and small business owners, envelope companies like Elite Envelope & Graphics will generally have the capabilities to print whatever your fertile imagination can create. In a previous blog I described in detail the various ways to print an envelope. These are: lithographic (on flat sheets for converting after the fact), offset (mostly done on Halm brand Jet presses but also can be done on smaller presses like an AB Dick with special envelope feeders), flexographic (typically done in-line while an envelope is being folded) and finally, digital (either on flat sheets for converting or on newer model presses that accept pre-converted envelopes).

Each of the four envelope printing methods listed has its own unique characteristics and uses. The most common method is offset.  The reason for that is because it gives the best look for the best price in most situations.  An envelope can be offset printed at quantities as low as 1,000 at very reasonable prices. The Halm Jet press, which is what most envelope company’s use, is built for speed and higher volumes. Printing on a Jet press will generally become most competitive at around 5,000 pieces and up.

Offset printing is done with metal plates that allow for a sharp, clean image even with halftone screens and fine lines. The Jet Press will allow for the envelope to bleed to the edge and print fairly heavy solid coverage and can print anything from black ink up through and including four color process.  All things considered, Jet Offset printing including four color Jet printing provides many options at competitive prices.

Lithographic (or litho for short) is the way to get the highest print quality when that is required.  The reason for that is a combination of the method and the fact that litho presses tend to be large and sophisticated with many built-in features that allow for very fine reproductions.  When an envelope is designed with full ink coverage on all sides (printers sometimes refer to this as a “paint job”) it is generally printed lithographically on flat sheets.  The individual envelope impressions contained on the printed sheets are then die cut and fed into an envelope folding machine where they are scored, glued and folded into envelopes. This process is referred to as envelope converting.  Lithographic printing and converting is more expensive than printing a pre-made envelope on a Jet press. However, it is necessary for certain graphic designs. One way to reduce cost for this option is to print the copy on a cold web press. These presses can print the same heavy coverage as flat sheet presses but can do so more economically. Elite Envelope & Graphics features cold web printing up to eight colors in addition to the more traditional forms of envelope printing.

Flexographic or flexo is done with hard plastic, photo-polymer plates. The impression is raised on the plate and is applied to the substrate in a similar fashion to the older and mostly out-of-date letterpress process.  Flexo printing in the envelope world is almost exclusively done in-line while the envelope is being folded. Certain larger and more sophisticated envelope converting machines have flexo printing capability which allows the printing and folding to be done at the same time.  This greatly reduces cost especially for large-volume print runs which is primarily where this type of printing makes sense. The high cost to set up these machines to fold and print generally makes flexo printing uneconomical at quantities of 100,000 or less.  While the flexo printing technology has improved to the point where it can produce certain full-coverage items that heretofore could only be printing litho, flexo printing is not going to be as sharp and vibrant as litho or even offset printing. However, for the high-quantity runs, even for four color process, flexo printing can be an excellent option for an envelope.

Lastly, digital printing has made inroads into the envelope market over the past ten years or so. Printing digitally with toner rather than ink can yield good results depending on a few factors.  First, it can only be done with process colors, not spot colors.  Any art file can be converted from spot colors to process but if a company’s logo is to be printed in a certain, specific PMS color, converting to process may not yield an exact match to the PMS chart.  Secondly, digital presses are best suited for small quantities. Printing in general will show lower unit costs as the quantity of a job increases. This is mostly because the set-up of a job is a significant cost that is the same to print 500 pieces as it is to print 500,000. The longer the print run, the more the set up cost can be amortized which allows the unit cost to decrease. The same principle however doesn’t apply to digital printing. There is no comparable set-up cost to a digital print job. It’s similar to printing something from your desktop computer. Once the file is ready to go, you press “print” and you’re off and running. Digital printing is generally priced at a “click charge” or per piece charge. Eliminating the set up cost allows for lower quantity jobs to be relatively inexpensive but since there’s nothing to amortize, the same price applies to every piece in the run. This makes digital envelope printing competitive for quantities up to around 2,500 pieces. After that, you’re better off going offset.

One last benefit of digital printing is if you need variable data on the envelope. Some small mailings can be addressed digitally. Or you can vary your teaser copy or code numbers more easily through digital printing. Elite Envelope and Graphics is one of a few companies that can take digitally printed sheets with variable data and convert them into envelopes.

 

If you have a certain design file and want some advice on how best to print it, send it to me at jerry@eliteenvelope.com and I’ll be more than happy to provide suggestions.

 

 

 

Topics: four color envelope printing, digital envelope printing, envelope offset printing, flexographic envelope printing, flexo printing, flexography, elite envelope, envelope converting, envelope printing, cold web printing, litho envelope printing

Envelope and Web Printing Picture Day

Posted by Jerry Velona on Aug 19, 2013 11:12:00 AM

The last time we had pictures taken of the plant, staff and equipment was almost four years ago. That didn’t seem possible but, as we all know, in the world of print schedules and crazy customer deadlines and demands, time passes quickly.

In the interim period Elite Envelope joined forces with Web Corp making us the only company in the region which manufactures and prints envelopes as well as produces four-color cold-web printing under the same roof.  We needed new photos to show the range of our capabilities so we scheduled a shoot with Jonas Kahn, a very creative Boston-area photographer who had taken many of our previous pictures.

We were hoping for a nice, sunny day so we could get some new shots of the outside of our building (new paint job!) as well as a group photo of the entire staff (now almost 30 people).  However, as anyone who’s from around here knows, it’s hard to pin down a sunny day a month in advance. The rain and clouds forced us to confine the pictures to the inside which still got us most of what we needed.

One of the nice things about taking equipment pictures is it allows you to actually focus (yes, I know…) on the things you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on as a business owner. As I alluded to earlier, the age of high-speed communication and instant gratification gives us approximately zero time to reflect and consider and, perhaps admire the things we’ve achieved and purchased with the fruits of our persistent and frenetic effort.

web printing photo

Jonas enjoys taking pictures of the web presses and envelope converting machines from odd angles which show the various functions in ways that you probably wouldn’t notice.  Our eight color web prints 4/4 and has a turn bar in the middle. As the stock is flying through the machine with perfectly calibrated and measured process inks being applied, the press automatically flips the paper around so that the back portion can be printed at the same time. This is all done at a speed that’s only a blur when viewed with the naked eye in real time but when you stop time with a photograph, you can appreciate the technical wizardry and complexity of the machinery.

The envelope converting equipment runs at slower speeds than the webs but seeing the various stations in action close-up causes one to think. The printing world has embraced the digital age and the quality and options and procedures there have changed alot: no more film and stripping; direct to plate, etc. However, there are not too many different ways to cut, fold and glue a piece of paper into an envelope and the fact that our business thrives by doing things in the time-honored fashion gives a sense of the timelessness of the process and a connection in our industry to folks who were doing thesame thing 50 years ago or more.

Now maybe none of this is that big of a deal, but I happen to think it is. It’s part of our nature to take things for granted and the result is we become blasé about the many technological marvels that are part of our daily lives. Maybe the fact that I’m not that technically oriented causes me to think this way. But I think it’s more important than ever for us to pause occasionally and take a few minutes to appreciate we’ve done and are, hopefully, continuing to do.

Taking pictures not only helps us to communicate our accomplishments to the public; but also to ourselves.  And yes, we will get a sunny day eventuallyfor the outdoor shots!

Topics: envelope manufacturing, elite envelope, envelope converting, envelopes and printing, cold web printing, web printing

Cold Web Printing and Direct Mail

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jun 17, 2013 11:07:00 AM

The recent announcement of a second bankruptcy filing by National Envelope Corporation has put envelopes, and to a lesser extent direct mail back in the news.  National first filed Chapter 11 in 2010. At that time they were taken over by a private equity company,the Gores Group in hopes that they could turn around their fortunes.  Plants were closed, hundreds of workers were laid off and some severe methods were employed to boost productivity.  Three years later, it appears they have not been able to accomplish their mission.

This is sad news for the remaining 1,600 employees spread throughout the country. At this writing the company is saying they are looking for a buyer and are encouraged at the response they are getting.  However, I think it’s safe to say that National Envelope’s future form will be significantly changed from its present state. 

It seems that the only time envelopes and direct mail make any kind of national news is when there’s a plant closing or when the financial woes of the Post Office are discussed. The Post Office’s problems are well-documented and we’ve written about them here in our blog on numerous occasions.  Generally the press accounts in both cases focus on the significant drop in first class mail due to the digital revolution and then infer that this means paper mail is on the way out.

Anyone in the industry knows that while the total amount of mail has decreased, the mailing industry is alive and well and, in many cases, thriving. Much of the decline in first class mail has come from the financial sector. More folks are paying bills, receiving statements and prospectuses and submitting documents on their computers. Automation has also affected envelope usage.  Many bank ATMs now allow a customer to simply insert a check for deposit without the envelope. In many cases the envelopes used in those transactions were purchased in bulk quantities and their decrease has affected companies more adept at producing large volume orders at commodity-level pricing. One of those companies is National Envelope.

Elite Envelope direct mail

As we’ve written about here, direct mail remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach an audience and generate sales.  As the overall amount of first class mail declines, the percentage of direct mail increases and this trend has resumed after a decline during the worst years of the recent recession.

Marketers are finding that while e mail blasts have their use, they do not produce the type of measurable results obtained from a well-designed and executed direct mail campaign.

We believe that companies which can serve the direct mail industry in the most efficient, flexible and service-intensive way will be those that survive and prosper in the future. That was one of the main reasons why Elite Envelope joined forces with Web Corp,the full-service cold web printer late in 2012. Cold web printing is perfect for direct mail; allowing companies to produce full color components with superb quality at very competitive prices. The combination of cold web printing and envelope converting and envelope printing under the same roof gives direct mailers an edge.

 

We welcome your comments about the future of the direct mail and envelope industry and the type of company required to thrive in the new climate.  

Topics: direct mail, four color envelope printing, elite envelope, elite envelope, post office problems, e mail and direct mail, cold web printing, direct mail printing

Myths and Facts about Cold Web Printing

Posted by Jerry Velona on May 13, 2013 3:05:00 PM

Cold web printing involves rolls of uncoated stock and offset printing with no heat set units. It’s been around for a long time and has traditionally been used extensively in financial printing. With the advent of improved print units, cold webs have moved from “basic black” to printing bright process images with high quality. This has allowed cold webs to become a cost-effective alternative for all types of direct mail components.

Hillary Librot is CEO of Web Corp; Elite Envelope & Graphics’ cold web printing division. In an interview a few years ago with Boston area print maven Margie Dana (www.printbuyersinternational.com) Hillary spoke about the common misconceptions about cold web printing versus the facts.  Here are Hillary's Top 7 Myths about the Cold Web.

Myth #1:  Cold webs are only good for light copy. Registration and heavy coverage are issues.

Today's cold web presses are of a much higher quality and take advantage of today's technology. Ink and water balances are now more evenly regulated, and registration is tightly controlled by a computer.

Myth #2: Cold webs are just for letters.

Bind-in cards, wraps, and brochures of ALL configurations (4 pages and up) can be printed on cold webs. Using a 23" press, you can print a 23 x 22" sheet or an 8-page brochure, printed 4 colors with bleeds, in one pass. It goes directly to the folder to slit, nest, and fold or glue-bind in line to its final size. It's a neat 2-step process instead of 3: no cutting!

Elite Envelope Web Corp cold web printing

Myth #3: You need at least 50,000 pieces to be cost effective on a cold web.

As in all printing, you must pick the right press to do the job. Printers like Web Corp with multiple press sizes can be competitive on all quantities.

Myth #4: Cold webs are known for uncontrollable dot gain.

Cold webs WERE known for heavy, "plugged" halftones or mottled color. Today's cold webs are built so the dot gain is virtually the same as a sheet fed press. By using the correct prepress software, color and dot gain are both controlled before plates are made.

Myth #5: Your paper selections are limited with a cold web.

Cold webs were synonymous with newsprint once upon a time. Luckily, the paper industry has recognized that direct mail does not live by 50# white offset alone. There are many paper grades and colors available in a variety of roll sizes. Purchasing the right roll size for the right job allows for the best pricing. For example, 14" rolls are perfect for 8 1/2 x 14" laser letters.

 

Myth #6: Cold webs have limited inline operations.

Cold webs have the ability to do multiple perf configurations, horizontal, vertical, T or L perfs,* folding, slitting in-line, and batch counting. Letters can be slit in-line on press to their final size of 8 ½ x 11" and packed flat into cartons: one process, no cutting.  (*T perfs are used sometimes at the bottom of letters or cards so that a coupon or ID-size card can be torn off for the customer to keep. L perfs are mostly seen when doing bind-in cards where the customer is going to fill out a card and return it to the sender.)

Myth #7: Cold webs print in low line screens, which produce a grainy halftone.

In the past, cold webs used line screens as low as 85. Now we print with at least a 133 line screen and very often with a 150 or higher. The higher the line screen, the finer the resolution for halftones, color photos, and screens.

Hillary is happy to answer any questions you might have about whether cold web printing might be right for your project. Send us the components from your last direct mail project and receive our “Second Opinion” service free of charge. Just click here to get started.

As always, your comments on the above are always welcome and appreciated.

Topics: direct mail, direct mail solutions, cold web printing, direct mail printing, web printing

Direct Mail Works and Cold Web Printing Can Help

Posted by Jerry Velona on Apr 29, 2013 3:08:00 PM

For anyone who might think that direct mail is passé, I offer this fact: The Heritage Foundation, one of the largest conservative political organizations in the country does an enormous amount of targeted direct mail for fund-raising purposes. Care to guess how much money they raise in a typical year?  Only around $36 million!

Direct Mail photo 

Yes, anecdotal evidence you may say. But the percentage of direct mail has not only increased as a percentage of mail overall because overall mail volume has decreased. It’s increased because it works. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is the largest trade organization of its kind in the country. According a recent study entitled “The Power of Direct Marketing”; they found that “in 2010 an investment of $1 in direct marketing advertising expenditures returned, on average, $12.57 in sales. This high return on investment held up across all industries. “

The host of our Elite Envelope website offers a nice e mail marketing feature for an extra few bucks per month. I signed us up for the service a couple of years ago and I’ve been using it regularly ever since. I’ve segregated our customer and prospect base into various sub-groups and I will send out e mails on particular topics every so often targeted to those particular groups.  I think that’s helped to keep our name in front of people easily and inexpensively. However I have noticed some drawbacks. One that’s come to my attention recently is a large number of folks who say they are not getting the e mails. I’ve figured out that many business servers have very sensitive spam filters which can identify whether something came from a mass mailing and block it.

Another general observation is that e mail doesn’t seem to have the same “staying power” as a printed mail piece.   I also will send out direct mail to prospect lists from time to time. I’ve found many people who will keep that mail piece on their desk or in a place where they can retrieve it later. This has resulted in more than one new customer for us. While I don’t track all the results, the e mails I send, while helpful, don’t seem to have the same impact. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the sheer number of them makes each one less valuable in the recipient’s mind.

Again, according to the DMAs 2011 Statistical Fact Book, “a catalog lead costs $47.61, while e mail comes in at $53.85 per lead, and, what is more, the response rate to direct mail has consistently been three times higher than e mail.”  So my gut feeling and narrow experience seems to be borne out by statistics.

While we’re on the subject of direct mail, let me suggest to anyone looking to create a cost-effective print/mail campaign that you consider producing the components using cold-web printing. Cold webs are great for anything printed on uncoated stock with paper ranging from 30# up to 100# text weight. Quality printing with high resolution up to 4/4 is possible and anything which cuts or folds off a 17 x 22 sheet can produce very competitive pricing at quantities of 5,000 up.

Elite Envelope just happens to be adding 3, Alcoa/Didde half-cold webs at the moment! So pardon my shameless plug but do use more direct mail and consider cold webs for what you put inside the envelopes. We can handle it all for you under one roof. Send us your last direct mail campaign pieces and we'll provide a free evaluation on how you might save some money the next time around. At the very least you might pick up some free tips on designing a more cost - effective package. Just click here!

Topics: direct mail, elite envelope, e mail and direct mail, cold web printing, direct mail printing, web printing

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!

 

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