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How To Reduce The Cost Of Catalog Printing

We will explore the factors affecting the cost of catalog printing and provide tips to help you reduce the cost but still make sure in professional quality result!

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As a business owner or marketer, you understand the importance of a well-designed and professionally printed catalog. However, the cost of printing catalogs can quickly add up, eating into your budget. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect catalog printing costs and provide you with valuable tips on how to reduce these costs without compromising on quality.

Factors Affecting the Catalog Printing Cost

When it comes to printing catalogs, cost is always a significant factor to consider. Before we dive into the strategies on how to reduce the cost of printing catalogs. Let’s first explore the various factors that can affect the printing cost.

1. Trim size

The trim size of a catalog refers to its final dimensions(width x height) after it has been trimmed down. Usually, most printers provide standard size to cater industry standard. Generally speaking, standard sizes save paper and ink waste. Larger trim sizes typically require more paper and ink, resulting in higher printing costs. So choose standard crop sizes and you can avoid any additional costs associated with custom sizes.

2. Paper stock and weight

The type and weight of paper used for catalog printing can greatly impact its overall cost. Usually, thicker paper you use, the printing cost will be higher. Because thickness(GSM) of paper you increase, which will increase the material and shipping cost, and then affecting the total printing cost. Besides, different paper type you choose, the printing cost will be different.

3. Binding method

The binding method chosen for your catalog will affect your catalog look, can also affect its printing cost. The more complex binding method you choose, the cost will be higher. As different binding method which binding process, production time and cost is different. For example, staple binding, which involves folding pages, arranged, and then staple two or three saddles on the spine. The binding process is relatively simple than other binding methods, so the production time will be fast and costs are low.

4. Printing quantity

As we all know, you print more, your unit per price is cheaper. That means printing in bulk quantities can significantly reduce the cost per unit. If you anticipate a higher demand for your catalogs, consider printing a larger quantity upfront to take advantage of economies of scale. This can result in considerable savings in the long run.

5. Special finishes

In fact, the post-press crafts you apply on your catalog, also can affect your cost. The special finishes includes lamination, foil stamping, spot uv, emboss, deboss, etc. While special finishes like embossing or foil stamping can add a touch of elegance to your catalogs. They also come at an additional cost. Consider opting for simpler finishes, such as lamination, which can provide a professional look without breaking the bank.

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Tips on How to Reduce the Cost of Printing Catalogs

Now that we have explored the factors that affect catalog printing costs. Let’s delve into some practical tips to help you reduce these expenses.

1. Bulk quantity printing

As mentioned earlier, printing in bulk quantities can significantly reduce the cost per unit. By estimating your catalog’s demand and printing a larger quantity upfront. You can take advantage of lower printing rates and save on future reprints.

2. Choose standard trim size

Opting for a standard trim size is a cost-effective approach. The industry standard size for printing catalog is 8.5 x 11 inches (Europe and Australia: 210 mm by 297 mm). Seasonal or sale catalogs, usually in small size, like 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Standard sizes allow for efficient use of paper and printing equipment, resulting in lower costs. Additionally, choosing a standard size makes it easier for your catalogs to fit into industry-standard displays and mailing envelopes.

3. Consider simple binding

The binding method has a direct impact on the cost of printing your catalogs. For thinner catalogs (pages lower than 64 pages), saddle stitch binding is a cost-effective option. This method involves stapling the pages together along the folded spine. On the other hand, thicker catalogs can benefit from perfect binding, which provides a more professional look. Assess the thickness of your catalog and select the appropriate binding method to optimize your printing costs.

4. Select the right paper type and weight

Choosing the right paper type and weight is crucial in reducing printing costs. Evaluate your target audience and the purpose of your catalog to determine the appropriate paper stock and weight.

For black and white interiors, we recommend 80gsm or 100gsm uncoated paper and 200gsm or 250gsm coated paper as the cover. If you want thicker fell, we can provide 140 gsm or 160gsm uncoated paper for interiors, but the thicker paper will be costly than light weight paper.

For color interiors, we recommend 105gsm, 128gsm or 157gsm glossy or matte art paper. Because they bring a realistic, clear, vibrant effect to your product photos and make text easy to read. Also, if you want thicker fell, we can provide 200 gsm uncoated paper for interiors, but the thicker paper will be costly than light weight paper.

But the paper thickness usually depends on your catalog size, page counts and binding. For example, if your catalog size is 8.5 x 11 inches, color interiors, 32 pages. We often recomend thicker paper 157gsm coated paper as interior paper, and 250gsm coated paper as cover and with saddle stitch binding. Based on your binding, content, size and page counts to select right paper type and thickness, not only save cost, also without compromising on quality.

5. Consider simple finishes

While special finishes can elevate the visual appeal of your catalog, they also come at an additional cost. To reduce printing expenses, consider opting for simpler finishes like lamination. Lamination provides durability and a professional finish without the hefty price tag of more elaborate finishes.

6. Compare prices from different printing companies

To ensure you are getting the best deal, it’s essential to compare prices from multiple printing companies. Request quotes from several reputable printers and carefully evaluate their pricing, quality, and turnaround time. Remember that the cheapest option may not always provide the best value, so strike a balance between cost and quality.

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Digital Printing or Offset Printing for Catalogs?

When it comes to catalog printing, you have two primary options: digital printing and offset printing. Let’s explore which option is best suited for your specific printing needs.

1. Print on demand or less quantity, consider digital printing

If you require a smaller quantity of catalogs or need the flexibility of printing on demand, digital printing is the ideal choice. Digital printing eliminates the need for costly setup fees associated with offset printing, making it more cost-effective for short print runs. Additionally, digital printing allows for quick turnaround times, making it suitable for time-sensitive projects.

2. Mass printing or high-quality printing, consider offset printing

For larger quantities of catalogs or projects that require high-quality printing, offset printing is the preferred option. While offset printing involves higher setup costs, the per-unit cost decreases significantly as the quantity increases. Offset printing also offers a wider range of paper options and special finishes, allowing you to create visually stunning catalogs that leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Catalog Printing in China vs. Local?

When considering catalog printing, you may wonder whether to choose a local printing company or explore the option of printing in China. Let’s briefly evaluate the benefits of each option to help you make an informed decision.

Local printing

Opting for a local printing company offers several advantages. Firstly, communication is easier, as you can directly interact with the printing professionals and discuss your requirements. Additionally, local printing allows for quicker turnaround times and reduced shipping costs. However, local printing may be more expensive compared to printing in China, particularly if you are looking for cost-effective solutions.

Catalog printing in China

China is renowned for its cost-effective printing services. By outsourcing your catalog printing to China, you can potentially save a significant amount of money without compromising on quality.

But, it is crucial to thoroughly research and vet potential printing companies in China to ensure they meet your quality standards. Consider requesting samples, reading customer reviews, and verifying the company’s certifications and credentials before making a decision.


Reducing the cost of printing catalogs requires careful consideration of various factors, from trim size and paper stock to binding methods and finishes. By implementing the tips mentioned in this article and considering the specific needs of your catalog project, you can optimize your printing costs without compromising on quality.

If you are looking for catalog printing in China, request a catalog printing quote today and start saving on your printing expenses.

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