Catalogue Advice & Cost Saving Tips

We love to share ideas and advice with our customers and we hope that’s one of the reasons they return to us time and time again. We hope you might find some benefits in these catalogue tips below.


1. Pagination
In Litho printing, on the whole, the magic number is 16. This is the total number of A4 pages we will usually print on a sheet, or multiples of 16 on larger machinery when required. If you are looking to save money on your print costs then ensure that the total number of text pages of your product is divisible by 16. In this way you can actually print more pages and save money on your job. The reason for this is that by sticking to this you will reduce the amount of set up costs, so your unit cost based on total number of pages will be less.
2: Trim Size/Format
To ensure you maximise the efficiencies of Litho print production and also reduce any unnecessary waste we would recommend you use one of the following formats when choosing your Catalogue page size.
    a) 297 x 210mm A4
    b) 240 x 165mm B5
    c) 210 x 148mm A5
    d) 198 x 198mm Square (NB. usually printed in 24pp sections)
NB. All of the above dimensions can be slightly tailored to fit specific requirements like overall catalogue weight, but they form a fantastic starting point.
3. Choosing the right printing method
In order to ensure that your printed product is produced most effectively it is essential that you select the right printing method. Below is a brief summary of their benefits
Web Printing
  • Perfect for larger quantities of catalogues over 5000 copies
  • Can use low gsm papers to help with overall weight reduction
  • Well suited for printing text sections
  • Very fast production times as section folded inline
  • As the quantity increases the cost per unit decreases substantially
 Sheet-fed Printing
  • Can print on heavy papers up to 400gsm
  • Perfect for Covers
  • Faster than digital production
  • Can add fifth colours or varnishes to the product on a single run.
  • Well suited for smaller run or pagination catalogues, or for those requiring text pages over 130gsm
Digital Printing
  • Well suited to very small runs or multiple versions
  • Allows you to personalise individual copies
  • Very quick make readies
  • Less waste
  • Indigo digital printing offers near Litho quality
  • Quick Turnarounds
  • Great for market testing

4. Paper weight
The paper you select for your catalogue is a surefire way of potentially reducing costs. If you choose to print on a lighter weight paper stock, then this will reduce the overall tonnage or paper required to produce the job and secondly, the finished catalogue will not weigh as much. This is very likely to save money on mailing and distribution costs which are often the most expensive components of a catalogue campaign.

Use our handy catalogue weight calculator tool to work out the weight of your next catalogue and keep it within your budget


5. Mailing
If you have a requirement to mail out your catalogue in bulk, we would recommend the following:

For smaller Catalogues, keep the entire pack weight to under 100grams and ensure the pack size in no more than 240 x 165mm x 5mm to qualify as a Letter which is the cheapest format. You will need to mail in excess of 4,000 to the UK to gain the mailsort discount, but there are other methods of addressing that at reduced rates without being sorted, so it’s always worth checking all your options.

For larger Catalogues, your pack weight should ideally weight no more than 250g, after this it does start to increase in small increments on sorted mail . The minimum needed to mail to gain a sorted discount is 1,000 valid addressed items. There is also quite a hike for non sorted mail over 250g, then again over 500g. If you happen to be a lightweight under 100grams, but over the 240 x 165mm x 5mm format then this will still be classed as large letter, but you will still get a better rate up to the 100gram pack weight. The maximum weight for a Large letter format is 750g.

The largest of the Catalogues which are over 750g will be sent as parcel rate. This has a maximum weight limit of 2kgs & you will need to mail 1,000 valid addressed items to qualify for a sorted discount.

There is a handy Royal Mail price calculator you can use here, for budgeting purposes. We would recommend using the Advertising Mail service for the best available rates, but please remember your pack will need to be approved by Royal Mail prior to mailing to ensure it meets with their requirements.

Remember there are alternatives to Royal Mail aswell that can sometimes be more cost effective. Be sure to look into those too.

If you also wanted to reduce your pack weight further, you can also look into a naked mailing, meaning that the catalogue is sent out purely on it’s own without being enclosed in an envelope or polybag. The catalogue would need to be addressed, directly on the cover & you would need prior approval by your mailing provider to ensure it meets the requirements to be mailed solo. By mailing in this way, you can save the costs of the other enclosing items and its likely you could also gain the sustainable advertising discount, so worth exploring.

Already have your catalogue printed, but still need it mailed? No worries, we have some customers that only use us for our mailing services, so please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Alternatively, if you would like to know more about our other services, feel free to browse the rest of our website.

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Symbian Print aims to deliver a regular flow of advice and inspiration in the print industry. Offering unique resources, the latest insight and informative tutorials on the latest trends and developments in global print game.