Skip to Content

Printing and rule book design questions

8 replies [Last post]
Anonymous

I am designing the rule book for my game and have a few questions about printing.

1. if my players book is a non-standard size (like all the fantasy flight rule books which i think are 11 X 11) what can i expect for an additional cost vs going with standard sizes (letter, legal, etc)?

2. when designing the rule book - should i keep things pretty straight forward for simplicity or would some artistic flair be more appealing? Stuff like you might would see on a brochure. (some parts having black background with white or colored text)

3. If I did have some parts black w/white text - are there additional costs? Basically when printing is it more expensive if i have more pictures and stuff like that which requires more ink? I'm not talking b&w vs color - obviously color is more.

4. I'm doing the layout in Adobe Indesign (im very good with photoshop and illustrator but this is my first use of indesign)- i plan to have the book stapled down the back. For design, is it better to design 2 A4 sheets side-by-side onto one A3 paper with the gutter in the middle for the binding or should i just design the A4 sheets individually and print them out in a format like a book?

5. Bleeding. I understand what it is but not how it effects costs or why you would want to do it. I have read how you cant have things so close together if there is bleeding - well why would you ever do that if it costs more per sheet? Is there an advantage to bleeding documents or cards? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks for all your input. I did a lot of searching on the forums here and found some very helpful info but nothing that directly responded to my questions so I thought I'd post. Thanks.

OrlandoPat
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2008
Printing and rule book design questions

I'll take a shot at some of these...

1) This is going to depend very much on the printer. Sorry for the vague answer, but I've found a huge variance between printers and price differentials.

2) My theory on the rule book is that unless your game will require the players to frequently refer back to the rules (like in an RPG or a miniatures game with lots of tables), you want the rules to be simple and straightforward. Yes, put some flavor in there, but the primary goal is communicating quickly and efficiently. Odds are good that only one player per game will read the rules anyway.

3) I have not encountered a printer that charges based on coverage for black and white. Or if they did, they didn't tell me about it.

4) I have a tough time with InDesign myself. It seems like a good product, but I just always run into difficulties. As for formatting, most of the printers that I have worked with have requested a properly formatted pdf file for the rules. This means that each page should be a sized according to one page of your booklet, and they have to be ordered so that when they're printed they come out in the proper order. That's the toughest part.

5) The advantage to "bleeding" is that the end product can look better. With instructions, IMHO, it's rarely worth the cost to pay for the extra paper. Here's the way I understand it: printers (the machines, not the companies) don't print all the way to the edge of the page. If you want color (or text) all the way to the edge of printed page, the printer has to print to a larger piece of paper, and then trim the page to the size desired. With instructions, having some white space around the edge of the page is actually desirable because it makes them easier to read. Just design your instructions with a 0.25" margin and you should be fine.

Those are my best answers, at any rate. Maybe someone else has a better explanation of bleeding?

OrlandoPat
Offline
Joined: 10/16/2008
Whoops, Sorry

As soon as I hit "post" I realized that something I'd written could be misleading. If you're designing a rulebook that is composed of 8.5 x 11" paper turned landscape and stapled in the middle, my directions above aren't correct.

In that case, you want your pdf to correspond to the entire 8.5 x 11" page (i.e., two printed pages per page). Ordering the pages in that case is really a pain.

NetWolf
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Printing and rule book design questions

What I understand with printing is that you choose black and white (and any combination there-of) or color. The amount of black or the amount of white shouldn't be a concern.

As far as the booklet itself, you have to find out which binding methods are available as well. Chances are you'll want a center-staple binding, but a glue-bound booklet may be even cheaper.

Anonymous
Printing and rule book design questions

Thanks for the responses. Good information. Thanks for clarification on the design and costs for more/less design per page.

Ok that makes sense about bleeding and why you'd use it. Putting a margin eliminates the need for that. If I were to use margins for my text but leave the background to go all the way to the edge I'd have to bleed then. Here is an example of what I mean:
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/PDF/arkhamrules.pdf
I think their manuals are very well designed thats why I use them as an example. This would require bleeding correct?

Also that is an example of a square manual - if anyone can give me more information on if there is an extra cost in doing something similar - printing on non-standard size paper. I think i'll stick with regular size but its more me wanting to know if it is an option or not. (substantial added cost would make it not an option)

For question #4 - What I was wondering is if it would be better to do it with a large paper (A3) in landscape mode and staple down the center or just to do the pages individually and put them in order for the printing company. Is there a preferred method by the printing companies? Since I can make a pdf either way I'm wanting to start off on the right foot.

clapjaws
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Printing and rule book design questions

Speaking from a book printing background (not commercial work) – I can tell you that we prefer to have .pdf files supplied as well, and that single pages work best for us. Granted, we have to drop pages into our imposition program when we make plates, because we print 64 pages at a time - then fold down and trim. A smaller printer may need you to set things up differently, so my advice is to find out what their preferred method is, and go from there - because it really depends on how they are going to produce your piece (what equipment they have). I can’t begin to tell you how much it helps to have a customer ask first, for both parties involved.

As far as pricing, the best approach is to tell them what you’re envisioning the final piece to be, and they can tell you if it fits their capabilities. Then also be open to letting them offer alternatives if something they can do would be close, and which they know may save you a bit of money. This leads to the standard size issue – many printers will have “stock” paper sizes they use for most of their jobs. Since they buy these in bulk, its their lowest cost stock. Formatting to a size they are used to running will go a long way toward keeping your costs down. Most printers can and will order special lots/sizes, if you can afford it (watch out for ‘minimum order’ charges too, as the printer may have to buy a specific amount of a special stock, and they will include that in their price to you). Get a quote up front of course!

Binding – many printers can offer saddle-stitching (staples down the center) and adhesive binding. Costs may vary here too – but should not be too far apart. You can always ask to see some samples of jobs they’ve done in the past. My feeling is that, unless you are going to add a separate cover to your booklet, saddle-stitching should be fine. Adhesive would probably be overkill for such a small page count, and may not even be an option if there’s nothing to glue the pages to (some printers may offer a paper tape that wraps around the spine).

Anytime ink goes to the edge of the printed piece, its called a bleed, regardless if its background or not. Some printers will vary in their trimming, so don’t bleed off anything you can’t stand to see get a smidge smaller when all’s done. And yes, that will require a bigger sheet of paper per page – and paper is the bulk of a printing job’s cost.

Most printers I know of do not care about the coverage on a page, within an individual ink color. Multiple colors on a page would be more, of course. You may want to ask if there will be any charges for screens or halftones (if you have any). If you provide final .pdf files though, there shouldn’t be, as you’ve done the work yourself. Back in the ‘old days’ artwork normally came in as shooting copy…

The advantage you have, from what I can tell, is that you don’t have your heart set on a specific final outcome for the piece. That leaves you with many more possibilities – and the more flexible you can be, chances are the better price you can find.

Hope that helps some!

clapjaws
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Printing and rule book design questions

I forgot to add: you should plan on supplying the printer with something that indicates the page layout and sequence. It doesn't have to be pretty, just get the point across. That way, if the files you provide happen to be set up slightly wrong, they have something to show them your intent. Any printer worth working with should contact you if there are any differences between your mockup/lasers, and the files you send.

They should also provide you with a proof of what they will be producing. Of course, proofs cost money up front, but can save money and headaches later. Once you sign off on the proof, its their responsibility to make sure the final product matches it - if not, they "should" make good and re-do the project.

Now - having said all this - getting with a reputable printer is certainly a necessity. Folks here have posted their experiences with manufacturers, so you might want to check out those threads too. Having a printer that 'has your back' can be a blessing (offering different options, and asking questions you may not have thought through).

Anonymous
Printing and rule book design questions

great information - thanks for the responses. Sounds like I'll have to get some estimates and see how much of a price difference it will be to do what I have in mind bu that I should expect more costs.

One more quick question - for now my market is the US but I hope to go international. Would I be better off using intl format (A4) or go with the us format (letter)? Thanks!

katie
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Printing and rule book design questions

Friend-of-my-other-half has been dealing with lulu.com and been getting on well with them. They take a PDF and give you back as many (or few) printed copies as you want, priced per copy.

It's mostly used by people self-publishing books, but there are a few games instructions and stuff done there as well.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut