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Issue Twenty-two, Winter 1999

Finding Special Effects That Go Beyond the Basics
By Randy Rasch, President

To find a bindery supplier for cutting, folding and saddle stitching is not a difficult task. More often than not, the printer can simply walk into their own plant and find a variety of such services offered within their own confines. These services are the basic functions of any bindery, and should be a no-brainer for any skilled bookbinder.

But what about things such as fugitive gluing, wafer sealing, appliques, ink jet mailing, pack outs, edge reinforcing, eyeletting, UV coating, blow in cards, and so many other "beyond the basics" items? The list is countless, but the sources are scarce. Some of these services are readily available in specialty shops such as direct mail companies while others are incredibly difficult to find even for the most dedicated seeker. And never will you find them all in one place.

It seems a shame that the things we dislike producing the most can oftentimes be the most aesthetically pleasing feature of the printed piece. Spot UV coating makes the color come to life on the page. Plastic credit cards floating in air above your name seem to appear more by magic than by fugitive gluing. And how about the birthday card that opens with a little tune to brighten your busy day? These are the kinds of creative details that make the printed piece an award winner and at the same time make the job planner responsible for producing them a wild person! It's not that the responsible party does not want to deal with the special effects, but more often than not they have no idea of where to begin to find them.

As a bookbindery, we are often asked if we are able to perform many of these specialties. Sometimes we can. Sometimes not. The truth is that we all see these effects regularly-get them in the mail daily-so somebody somewhere provides them. The question is how do we find them. Fortunately, we have a few obvious places to look.

  1. Perhaps the best place to begin your search is with your own customer. This "beyond the basic" effect they are requesting, this outlandish idea, this stroke of marketing genius that will sell their product and catapult them into riches is probably sitting on their desk in some piece they thought was unique. Ask them where the idea came from and you could discover a trail to the source company. (If that doesn't work, go into your plant and shout, "Has anyone seen one of these before." It could be that someone in your own plant has been involved with a similar project.)
  2. Call your favorite bindery supplier who may not do the process in-house, but can use his network to help you blaze a path to the right person.
  3. Call our trade association, Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast, and ask those folks where to turn. There were many times over the years when I was almost in despair and our local printing association helped me through the crisis.
  4. Look to trade magazines like Southern Graphics. Oftentimes the ads in the back reveal some of the most unusual services. There is also the Helen's Hotline column that regularly features unique items and their sources.
  5. Get on the Internet. Who knows what you could find there with full-color images and no long distance telephone costs.

I cannot promise any of the suggestions listed will pan out for you, but I can give you one sure-fire source for a few of the "beyond the basic" items you often need. Rasch Graphic Services offers eyeletting, double face tape application, edge reinforcing, index tabs with and without mylar, pack outs, affixation of appliques, and now our latest addition of single and double gate folding.

Our customers have known for years that we go "beyond the basics" in quality and services, and we're always adding more to the lineup. If you have a need for something "beyond the basics," give us a call. It's likely that we can help, and if we can't, we'll do our best to help you find a source that can.


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7211 N. Gessner Drive • Houston, TX 77040-3143
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