A great way to be efficient with your printing is to gang your print runs. What’s a gang run? It’s simply a method where you combine multiple projects on a common sheet of paper. Gang runs are generally used with sheet fed printing presses and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow & black) process color jobs.
The advantages of gang runs are two fold: 1) It can be extremely economical because many print jobs share the same print run, which reduces manpower, plates, prep time, and press wash-up labor. 2) It reduces paper waste.
Here’s an example of how you can benefit from a gang run.
Let’s say you have a large brochure to print with an overall size of 27” X 19” and a couple of other promotional pieces you would like to print, but you haven’t determined the sizes. Generally, a full sheet on a sheet-fed press is 28” X 40”, so your brochure will take up almost half of the space on the printing plate. Now you have one-half of the plate to print your other pieces.
In this example you can use a 13” X 19” dimension for two smaller brochures. Put all three on one sheet and you’ll save a good bit of money by reducing the number of plates needed and number of make-readies (print setups).
Gang printing isn’t without its limitations, and here are a few to keep in mind.
1) Lack of flexibility: you will need to use the same paper stock for each piece and you will have to print all pieces at the same time.
2) More difficulty controlling color: color balance on a gang print run can be difficult to maintain. Since other print projects are placed side by side, a gang print project makes it harder to control the color on individual pieces.
3) Possible ghosting problems: adjacent projects compete for ink, which may affect your final result.
4) It can be difficult to accommodate custom print quantities: You may need 20,000 of one piece, 28,000 of another and 65,000 of a third piece on a gang run. If that’s the case then you may not be able to make good use of this technique.