Print guide – how to spec a job

This guide lists the considerations when specing a digital job

If you need a few pointers on how to spec your job here is a handy print guide to give you the basics.

You can also view the Digital Portfolio to see the spec of jobs we have previously printed.  If you prefer to talk us through your job, then you will always be greeted by a helpful chap at this Bristol Printer, so please just give us a call to discuss your requirements 0117 9728900

Apple Colour, Bristol Printer produce a print guide for the experince and the new to print to help them find their way through the process from digital to litho, to saddle stitching to PUR binding.

Feeding booklets into the saddle stitcher

The Digital press capacity

Print image size up to 320 x 480mm (including bleed)  

Paper weight 80-350gsm 

How to spec a job

What format is the job?

Which of the following common litho jobs does your job most resemble?

 4pp  4p Leaflet - single fold
 6pp concertina  6p Leaflet - concertina fold
 6pp gatefold  6p Leaflet - gate fold
 6pp rollfold  6p Leaflet - roll fold
 8pp concertina fold  8p Leaflet - concertina fold
 8pp double gate fold  8p Leaflet - double gate fold
 8pp parallel double fold  
 8pp parallel map fold  8p Leaflet - parallel map fold
 8pp parallel over and outer fold  8p Leaflet - parallel over & outer fold
8pp reverse map fold  8p Leaflet - reverse map fold
8pp right angle French fold 8p Leaflet - right angle-french fold

10pp parallel over and outer fold


10p Leaflet - parallel over & outer fold
 12pp parallel with roll 12p Leaflet - parallel with roll fold
digitally printed white ink printed on black plike by GFSmith, by Bristol Printer, Apple Colour.

White ink digitally printed onto black plike

What is the finished size?

Paper Sizes


A3 420 x 297
A4 297 x 210
A5 210 x 148
A6 148 x 105
A7 105 x 74

Special Sizes


Business cards 85 x 55
CD case size 120 x 120
DL 210 x 99
A4 square 210 x 210



C4 324 x 229
C5 229 x 162
C6 162 x 114

Apple colour offer digital print at the Bristol Printer. They produce a print guide to help people spec their jobs and the estimators and sales team make recommendations on how jobs should be printed

Lester and Lou discuss digital jobs as they move from pre-press through to the digital department

How many pages?

How many printed pages, that’s pp to those in the trade (be sure to count both sides of the paper or each page of the artwork)

What weight stock?

Check the below guide to help you decide the most suitable weight stock.

Postcards A6 2pp postcard 300-350gsm
A5 2pp postcard 300-350gsm
Leaflets A4 2pp 130-350gsm
A4 4pp 130-300gsm
A5 2pp 130-300gsm
A5 4pp 130-300gsm
A5 6pp roll fold 130-300gsm
A5 6pp gatefold 130 – 250gsm
A6 8pp gatefolds 130-250gsm
DL 2pp 130-300gsm
DL 4pp 130-300gsm
DL 6pp concertina/ roll fold portrait 130-300gsm
Brochures A4 8pp self cover 130-200gsm Self cover (cover and text on the same weight)
A4 16pp self cover 130-200gsm
A4 32pp

Cover   200-300gsm

Text 130-170gsm

A4 64pp

Cover 200-300gsm

Text 130-170gsm

DL 16pp portrait

Cover   170-250gsm

Text 115-170gsm

 Folders A5 4pp with non capacity pocket 300-350gsm


There are generally 4 categories to choose from but hundreds of variants available for each.

 Uncoated – remember colour can look more dull on uncoated and the job takes longer to dry
 Speciality stocks– eg. GF Smith, Fedrigoni, Fenner
Apple Colour, Bristol Printer, offer litho and digital print. once printed the flat sheets are trimmerd by the guillotine prior to collation and binding, if it is required

Lining up the printed flat sheets ready to be guillotined.

Ink Coverage

It is useful to know how much ink you are using.  It may help us advise whether your job is suitable to print digitally. Are you using solid colour and full bleed images or is there only ink on 50% of the page, ie. black copy only, with a small image.


Here is a guide to the finishes available and an idea of how much they might cost.

Finish Type




Foiling £££
Embossing £££
Blind embossing £££
Debossing ££
Blind debossing ££
Spot UV £££

Matt    ££

Gloss    £

Silk    £££

Soft Touch    £££££

Scratch resistant £££££


Die cutting – Is there a shape you would like the item to be cut into? Remember if you want to die cut anything over 2pp it will need a flat edge for the fold.

The above finishes can be combined to good effect. See the portfolio for some examples.


On a leaflet we may just need to trim and /or but on anything bigger we will need to bind. Here are some options that are available:

Finish Type




Saddle Stitched

Punching wire through the pages at the spine. Wire is then bent flat on the inside to grip all pages. Similar to stapling.


Saddle Stitched colour wire

As above but with a coloured wire.


Loop stitching

Similar to saddle stitching but with a loop in the wire to allow it to be held in a ring binder.


Stab stitching

Wire is punched from the front through to the back of the document, rather than the spine. This binding is usually then covered to hide the wire.


Perfect bound

Sections of folded paper have their spines distressed before securing with glue inside a cover which wraps around them.


Singer sewn

Like saddle stitching but thread is used instead of wire and the stitching goes along the length of the spine.


Case bound

Typically used for hard back books. There are many variations to this type of binding but usually the inner pages are sewn together in sections and then glued to the end papers and then glued to the cover


Comb bound

Rectangular holes are first punched into the pages. The rings of the plastic comb are then threaded through the punched holes and wrapped around themselves to secure the pages in place.


Tape Bound

An adhesive tape is wrapped around the spine of several pages to hold them in place. It can often involve stab stitching too to keep the pages secure.


Wire Bound

Similar to spiral binding but the wire passes through each hole twice. This means the ends do not need to be crimped and the book can lay flat once open.


Spiral Bound

Holes are punched or drilled into the pages. Spiral shaped wire or plastic is thread through the holes. Each end of the wire is then crimped to prevent the wire slipping off.


 Screw bound/riveting

Holes are drilled through the pages. A barrel post is inserted through the holes and a cap screw is secured to keep the pages in place.



PUR Bound

The same method as perfect binding but uses a different adhesive which is stronger and remains strong at temperature extremes.



 Perfect binding

 Square back binding

Cheats PUR binding but with staples, available on digital only.


Any special requirements?

Does it need to hold a business card?
Does it need to match any other literature?


The advantage of printing digitally is that each copy is printed individually, so it doesn’t matter if they are all different.


How many do you need?
Do they all need to be printed at once or is a part delivery required?


What is your desired delivery date?

Our considerations would be;
Finishing time. The more complicated the finishing the longer it takes.

With this information Apple Colour will make recommendations on how to complete the job. To discuss your job further please don’t hesitate to get in touch either by calling us on 0117 9728900 or email