November 2009

In This Issue:
 — Minimum Quantities
 — Regarding printing terms
 — Sizes and Weights
 — Ink and Color Proofing
• Case Study: Penetron Corporate Identity Set
• Meet the Staff: Tracy Ye
• Upcoming Events

  China Printing Solutions: A Resource for Quality Printing in China

(A primer for getting it printed in China)

No place on Earth has produced more fundamental contributions to the development of printing than has China. Paper, Relief Printing, and Moveable Type-The very Foundations of the Industry-all emerged from China beginning over 2000 years ago. Today, China is widely recognized as the best place for outsourcing printing services. In this issue, we will discuss some of the key differences between printing practices in China compared with those that overseas print buyers are likely to be more familiar with. Along the way, we hope to impart some tips and key references that will be of use to newbies and Old China Hands alike.

Minimum Recommended Quantities:

A China printing project generally needs to be of at least 8-10,000 US Dollars value before the shipping costs (which generally run 1000US$+) can be absorbed to your benefit. We recommend the following Minimum Quantities:
Hardback Books: 1,000 Paperback Books: 3,000 Catalogs/ Magazines: 10,000
Packaging/ Bags: 2,000 Sticker Labels: 25,000 Presentation Folders: 5,000
Ring Binders: 1,000 CD’s/ DVD’s: 5,000 USB Devices: 500

Money Saving Tip:
If you frequently produce low to medium quantities and still wish to use China production, try to arrange shipping multiple small projects together. This will help you get past the limitations stated above. Click here for more on the topic of Shipping from China!

A Matter of Terms:

You’ll want to keep in mind that the English terms commonly used in your market to describe paper, coatings even printing processes may be different than those used in China. At China Printing Solutions we serve clients from Australia, Europe, and both North and South America, as well as Asia. From BOPP Lamination to Plasticized Coating to Cello Glazing, every time we think we’ve heard it all, along comes something new. A picture really IS worth a thousand words, and a sample at least ten thousand, (possibly more). To get you started, here are diagrams and Terms of common binding and folding configurations:

Click any image for a full set of diagrams you can use.

Production Tip:
Some processes like lay flat soft cover and standard PUR perfect bound are challenging to find in China, while other processes such as spiral binding may offer considerable competitive advantages compared with your country. If you are able to be open-minded and flexible about your chosen solution, you will gain in the long run.

Paper Size and Weight:

Due to differences in standard paper sheet sizes in China, you may receive less competitive prices for 10' x 10' and 12' x 10' book sizes. Below is a chart for some book sizes (Trimmed Size) that may offer you more competitive results in China.

Metric (mm)
128 x 185
140 x 215
5 x 7 1/4
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
185 x 260
215 x 285
7 1/4 x 10 1/4
8 1/2 x 11 1/4
260 x 385
285 x 430
10 1/4 x 15
11 1/4 x 17 1/2

Please Click to view a Metric Size Conversion Chart.

Standard paper weights vary between types of paper and brands of paper. Naturally, the standards between your country and China are not always the same. The chart below provides some standard China weights for a number of common paper types. For Americans, this is significant not only in terms of picking suitable weights which a easy to procure in China, but also as China weights are metric based and expressed in grams. Here we have included a rough conversion reference in pounds as well as grams. For a more comprehensive paper basis weight conversion chart, Please Click Here.

Standard China paper weights (gsm)+Equivalent Weight in lbs.
Universal Metric (grams/ Sq Meter)
Bond (lbs)
Offset (lbs)
Cover (lbs)
Card (Points)

Money-Saving Tip:
It is nearly always possible to produce a non-standard paper weight and sheet size in accordance with your preferences and/or to optimize the job for lower costs. Batch paper production has a lead time of 2 or 3 weeks, but must be ordered at specific times each month. Therefore you would be wise to plan your paper purchase at least 6 weeks before you begin print production.

Production Tip:
On the other hand, if speed is what you're after, or if you need to negotiate longer term price stability but can't put up the deposit for a custom batch of paper with your name on it, ask what paper stocks and sizes are house standards.

Ink and Color Proofing:

Process color and Pantone color ink systems are identical in basis between other countries and China.

However, process inks in China generally follow the Japanese standard, so it is not entirely academic to presume a piece printed in your country will have an identical result in China. You should always see color correct proofs before proceeding to print. Furthermore, in China, depending on the product being made, proofing may be done either by the digital proofing process, probably most common in your country, OR by a traditional film separation method, whereby ‘wet proofs’ are made by applying color in successive passes to the paper specified for production using small one color proofing presses. Both processes have their place.

Click here for a head-to-head comparison of CTF and CTP proofing processes!

That all said, few China factories use real ICC color profiles/press fingerprinting or are practiced in calibrating to a baseline standard like SWOP or FOGRA. Instead, it is the practice to manage color according to the output curves of individual facility platesetters and adjust images if necessary based on digital proofs produced using the same curves.

If color matching is critical, you’ll want to provide your files early and be prepared to make some adjustments before press time. We covered China pre-press and color management in a previous newsletter you can read here!

Production Tip:
Very few Chinese factories actually procure Pantone inks, instead preferring to custom mix process colors to reach the target identified by a Pantone color. It is therefore imperative that you indicate C, U, or M along with the Pantone number to give a visual reference for your color target. Better yet, the ideal solution is to provide a physical printed swatch or Pantone chip to clearly identify the desired end result.

Case Study:
Penetron Corporate Identity Set

Client: ICS Penetron International, Ltd.

Project Name: Corporate Identity Set

As a World leader in concrete waterproofing, Penetron required a complete redesign of its identity materials, including a Ring binder and contents, CD, Presentation folders, Letterhead, Name Cards, Envelopes, Packaging, Adhesive labels, brochures, USB stick, and other items, in multiple languages. This involved design, layout and print production over the course of more than one year.

Key Challenges: The company has key staff in multiple locations around the globe, considerable consultation and coordination was necessary for design and production decisions. Meanwhile, old materials were running short and needed to be replaced—This required case by case choices to support consistency of identity and color, while incorporating new ideas and improvements all the while.

Techniques Used: Offset Printing, Silkscreen Printing, Saddle Stitch Binding, Ring Binding, Shaped Die Cutting, 5th color (metallic and non-metallic), Film Lamination, Varnishing, Roll Folding, CD Mastering, Hand Assembly, Polybagging.

Meet the Staff:
Tracy Ye I Production Coordinator

Tracy is a proud member of China Printing Solutions’ production team, where as production coordinator, she is responsible for ensuring that all rendering of clients’ projects is up to the highest standards of quality and efficiency. From the moment a job is started, Tracy monitors the progression of that project, focusing on the details that can make or break a product.

Color and quality inspection are second nature to Tracy, who since her graduation from Shanghai Publishing and Printing College in 2003 has been working within the industry non-stop. Whether examining prints or engaged in task management, her meticulous nature and extraordinary attention to detail guarantees that our customer’s final product turns out precisely as planned.

When away from the office desk or the busy factory production floor, Tracy enjoys relaxing to the tune of Jeff Zhang and a host of other Chinese folk musicians. Life will soon take an exciting new turn for Tracy as she is expecting her first child this February.

Tracy can be reached at tracy(at)

Upcoming Events
Nov-Dec, 2009

Nov. 25-27: CHINA SIGN FAIR (Guang Zhou)

Dec.1-4: LABEL EXPO ASIA (Shanghai)

Dec. 2-4: RE CHINA ASIA EXPO (Shanghai)

Useful Tools:

Spine width/Weight/Volume Calculator Click here!
On line Quotation Request Click here!

To review previous CPS newsletters please Click here!

China Printing Quality Assurance

+1.877.CPS.3933 +1.314.266.0741 +44.(0)20.7193.0741 +61.(0)3.9018.5729 +55.(11)3010.0356
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