Effective Bind-Ins Within Your Budget

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The national no-call list makes it more important than ever for DMers to find vehicles that give them the best bang for their dollar. Magazine bind-ins are a great way to deliver your message to a vast yet targeted audience in an attractive, efficient manner.


Many insert programs are scheduled for placement in several publications, each with their own production specifications. That can make the planning and production of insert programs complex. Here are tips to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.


Creative freedom. The design of a bind-in should accomplish two things: attract the reader's attention and provide clear, concise information. Here are design elements that can help you create a bind-in that does both:


· The insert's weight and finish play an important role in how the reader perceives it. Stock and coating selection should complement the message. While an information sheet for a new prescription medicine may be simple and straightforward and produced on a lighter-weight, medium or lower-grade stock, a launch for an automobile model would benefit from a higher-quality, heavier-grade paper stock and a glossy finish to draw attention.


· Die cutting can be used in various ways. Foldout panels can be die cut into almost any shape imaginable, and die-cut windows can be created to register to print. Also, die-cut pop-up panels create an eye-catching effect that's sure to be remembered.


· Foldout panels are a great way to provide additional information or build intrigue in your message. A perforated foldout lets readers remove an information card or coupon for later use. With some designs, a gatefold effectively doubles the amount of space on your bind-in insert.


· Presenting readers an enticing offer is only part of the equation. Response vehicles such as BRCs and BREs greatly enhance the bind-in's effectiveness as they let readers request information or respond to an offer immediately.


· Why let customers just read about your products? Fragrance strips, fabric swatches, plastic cards and other tipped-on product samples give bind-in inserts an attractive visual appeal and let readers better remember the product or service. Make sure to confirm postal regulations when affixing any type of product to an insert.


· Creativity is enhanced when you have a wide range of finishing options to choose from. Scratch-off areas, foil stamping and embossing all can draw readers to special promotions or associate the perception of high value with a message or product.


Tips for proper bind-in production. Creating the proper look and feel for a bind-in insert is the first step. Many production details must be considered before you print and submit your bind-ins for publication. Like all print programs, bind-in inserts require the frequent communication of details throughout the production process.


Obtain the production requirements for each publication. Every publication has its own specifications for bind-ins and other inserts. Get all the production details about each title in which the insert will appear. For example, an insert created for a perfect-bound magazine typically is incompatible with one that's saddle stitched, as each binding style requires different margins and setup. A bind-in insert that will be placed in multiple publications needs separate versions for each binding method.


Though bind-in inserts can be produced in a range of sizes, they can never exceed the final trim size of the publication itself. A bind-in that's too large for a publication will need to be sent to a bindery for trimming by the publisher (at a substantial cost) and may even be refused altogether because of creative restrictions.


Each publication may have different preferences for how undersized bind-in inserts will be positioned. Those that are smaller than the full-size page, such as business reply cards and envelopes, may be positioned either low or high folio. Make sure you know exactly how each publication wants bind-in inserts to be positioned as this may need to be factored in during layout and production.


Some titles have stock weight and finish guidelines that require bind-in inserts to closely match the rest of the magazine. Therefore, the same insert may need to run on several stocks to accommodate each publication.


Before submitting a printed insert to a publication, it's wise to have your printer provide a pre-production dummy to aid in planning. A dummy should include all images and text, have all trim and fold locations clearly marked and be on the exact stock used for the production run if possible.


When planning bind-in inserts for various final trim sizes, pay close attention to all margins. Avoid placing copy or images too close to trimmed edges. For bind-in inserts designed for perfect-bound publications, be sure copy isn't placed too close to the binding edge, where it can be "swallowed" into the gutter. A knowledgeable print services provider will help you plan bind-in inserts to accommodate the trim and margin requirements of each publication.


If images or text cross over a folded panel, be sure everything lines up properly. This is especially true for complex gatefold pieces, which may have copy or a single image crossing over three separate panels. If there are any die cuts that register to print, ensure they're properly aligned as well.


Verify that any BRCs and envelopes meet U.S. Postal Service requirements. Along with size and weight requirements, mail pieces need the proper barcodes, indicia and address information to qualify for the lowest postal rates. A complete bind-in insert production resource can help you design reply devices that conform to all postal regulations.


Let your bind-in insert production resource help you plan. As the production run and number of publications rise, so does the complexity of the project. It can be challenging to manage both the creative aspects of the design and the production details. That's why it's important to find a reliable insert production resource with the expertise to guide you through the process.


Look for a bind-in insert production resource that has as many production options at its disposal as possible. The last thing you want is a resource that limits your creativity by offering only a select few printing and finishing operations. A wider range of production options means greater efficiency, saving you time and money.


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