Book Printing: A Color-Swatch Book on a Shoestring

I have a printing client who needs to produce multiple color books cheaply. I’ve been working with her over the past year and have written blog postings about her books.

Picture a handful of color swatch books similar to PMS swatch books or process color build books. They will be small, only about 1” x 3”, with a screw-post binding. All pages will be drilled, and a metal screw and post assembly will not only hold them together but will also allow them to be fanned out. Or, you can select just one page for a particular color.

You’d probably find something like this at the paint store as well, or at a hardware store. But this is for a “fasionista,” a client who deals in make-up, skin coloration, hair tones, and clothing. I think this is fascinating, and it shows the importance of functional custom printing as well as marketing or informational printing. This product is a tool as well as a print book.

On the front of the pages is a color swatch bleeding on all four sides and defined as a percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black toner. On the back of each page is descriptive material relating to fashion and cosmetics.

Now here’s the rub. My client is a small-business owner, and she will be working on a shoestring. The price the designer I had initially secured for her had quoted for print book design was just too high to meet her budget. Understandably she has therefore chosen to do the production job herself now that she has the money to print the books.

This is a rather large undertaking, but it can be broken down logically. There will be 16 original books, each containing about 60 different colors. The text on the back of the pages will be different as well. However, many of the same colors will appear in all books along with their explanatory material. So it’s really just a huge database comprising 16 print books based on the same page grid, with the same sized text.