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Print runs with slight variations

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John3xvi
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Say you have made a board game, and you get an order from 5 different companies for 5,000 games each.

The name of the company is in the centre of the board in white text, coming out of blue ink, so there is no colour change, just slightly different shaped white text in the centre of the board.

QUESTION: Instead of 5 runs of 5,000 is there any way the printing could be set up, to do one run of 25,000 with the 5 slight variations of white text in the centre of the board?

Thanks for your help.

John.

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Print runs with slight variations

The short answer: no. :-(

At least that would be appliable to most cases. Usually, white equals unprinted paper, so changing the white company name/logo would mean changing the printing area, wich means new plates, which means a new printing run.

You mention blue ink, but I'm not sure you really mean blue ink, or rather a blue colored background. If your board uses other colors in other areas, it's very likely that it's printed as process color, or CMYK color, which consists of four basic inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) mixed in different proportions to acheive different colors. If that's the case, blue is usually composed of lots of cyan and some magenta, possibly yellow and/or black for darker shades blue.

This means your blue might be composed of all four inks, thus a change of the company name would mean a change in all four inks. That's pretty much like each board is a completely different work for the pinter (except for a few details).

If your blue is (or can be) composed, say, of just cyan and magenta, that's good news for you. That would mean yellow and black remain the same, so you have at least some saving in those films/plates. Bigger savings might exist, depending of the press your printer has. In most cases, four color jobs are printed in four color presses. That means a big machine coposed by four presses, one for each color, set in line, so that the paper comes in white, and comes out as the finished print. But smaller printing companies might have a two color (or even a one color) press to produce your board. If this were your case, and the blue is just cyan and magenta, your printer can handle your boards as two two-color jobs: one 25.000 run in yellow and black, and 5 5.000 runs of cyan and magenta. Some issues might prevent you from doing this, but some printers will be willing to handle it this way. It's mostly up to the equipment he has (and a bit about his attitude too).

OTOH, if your blue is really just blue ink, a change in the company name would mean a change of the printing job. Unless you can print 25.000 boards with no company name, then print the company name in white ink (there is white ink too, but it's usually more complex to print in white over a dark color like blue, inks tend to be translucent, so you might need to print the white twice to fully cover the background). You should talk to your printer about this, some options might be cost effective for one printer but not for another.

Finally, you could post a pic of your board here, and maybe we can find an alternative, cost effective solution. Printing the company name in black, for instance, if the blue is not too dark, might be an easier and less expensive solution.

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Zzzzz
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Print runs with slight variations

I agree that the answer is most likely no, when dealing with most print shops. Though your printer might give you a deal for running 5 runs of 5000. I would suggest you ask them about getting a price break for running 5 runs of 5000. Maybe they will cut you a deal.

One other possible idea, though not a perfect idea, get all 25,000 board printed without a company name in the center. Then figure out if you can get someone to silk screen or even stamp/stencil the 5 different company names into the center of this board. Sadly, I think this method might end up costing more money in the long run, but is might be worth a look.

John3xvi
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Joined: 12/31/1969
ok

Hey thanks very for your help.

The centre of the board does not need to be the blue mentioned.

Am I understanding this correctly. your suggesting printing 25,000 boards, and then reprinting the company name in 5x5,000 runs.

Would this work out cheaper?

I can email a board but I wouldn't know how to post it.

Thanks again for your help.
First class
Thanks
John.

seo
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Print runs with slight variations

If you can print the company name/logo in 1 ink, a 25.000 run of the board plus 5x5000 customizations might trun out to be a lot cheaper.

Criteria might change from oneplace to another, but a typical offset press runs from 5000 to 15000 copies per hour. Most printers base their prices on fixed costs (film, plates, paper and press setup, press cleaning after the print run), plus paper costs plus printing hours. The fixed costs are proportionately very high for short runs, and 5000 is, sadly, a relatively short run, even if it is a huge quantity for most self published games.

The production cost difference between a 5.000 and a 25.000 run will be mostly paper costs. So your printing setup costs will basically be 1/5 per copy.

The savings can easily cover the extra cost of the 5x5000 customization runs. But you'll have to talk to your printer to take the right decitions about how to do this

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VeritasGames
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Joined: 08/01/2008
Print runs with slight variations

As noted, if you pick a pure color, then you can change out one plate either cheaply or for free. Sometimes CCG manufacturers make multiple card variations (different flavor text) by swapping out the black plate for a new black plate.

I'd suggest you pick a CMYK that is a pure variant of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, or Black. Any variant you are happy with should do, just don't mix multiple pigments. That will result in multiple plate changes for different colors.

No matter what you do, talk to your printer about these plate changes (even if there are multiple changes) instead of doing 5 separate print runs. It will almost definitely be cheaper for you. At least some of the films and the plates will be the same between runs.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Print runs with slight variations

What might be even cheaper than picking pure cyan, magenta, yellow, or black for the center would be picking a fifth color, a spot color (commonly Pantone ink colors are specified for this). On a six-color press, 4 plates would be the main game board (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), a fifth would be your custom color with the logo, with a healthy trap (where the custom color would overlap the colors around it, ideally black so registration, aka alignment, problems aren't visible), and a sixth "color" for the varnish.

This would mean that the printer could run 5,000, change just the one plate, a plate that doesn't require precise registration, then run another 5,000, etc.

This will probably be cheaper than swapping out a cyan, magenta, yellow, or black plate, because that color will have to be very carefully re-registered on the press, something that accounts for a lot of time, paper, and ink.

Hard to say for sure, you'd need to get quotes, but doing it all on one press in one print job will almost undoubtedly save you a ton over two or more jobs, and you'd be able to use any color you'd like for the logo area.

BTW, getting a print professional to help you with this will save you a lot of learning. Get quotes from 3 different printers, describing what you want to do. They'll figure out the cheapest way, especially if they know they're in competition for the job.

seo
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Print runs with slight variations

Yep, the six-color press and overprinting the company name in a second black (or another color, as long as it prints over the rest, without knock-offs) will be the best option.

If you can leave a white area somewhere on the board for the company name, you'll be able to choose any color. Yet you'll rather use the same color for all five variations, or else the printer would be forced to clean the press after each color change, thus increasing your costs.

Gee, how didn't I thought of a six-color press. :-/
Hatts off to Matthew. :-)

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