Preparing a bulletin for printing is the critical stage. All
the painstaking effort that has gone before is wasted if care
is not lavished on the product that goes to the printer.
Many modern typewriters, and certainly all computer
word processing softwares, allow their users to directly
produce a finished page, camera ready for reproduction.
However, many editors still use the time-honored cut-
and-paste method to assemble their pages. The following
is primarily for their benefit.
ASSEMBLING THE PAGES
Earlier, formatting was defined as deciding how each
finished page should look. Now its time to put those
decisions to work. Formattingplacing the various
stories, articles and graphics bits on the various pagesis
somewhat like building a flagstone walkway. The odd-
sized pieces must fit together in a pleasing manner, yet fill
the predetermined space. Here are things that must be
Paper size: determined largely by economics and the
handling capability of the printing method. Standard sizes
are 8½ x 11" (letter), 8½ x 14" (legal) and 11 x 17".
The 11 x 17" size folds in half to become four letter-size
pages. Most copy machines will not feed other sizes;
offset printers charge premium prices for special paper
Orientation: the way text is placed on the page. The two
options are portrait (the longer dimension of the paper
is vertical) and landscape (the longer dimension is
horizontal). Portrait is the orientation most often used.
Margins: A minimum of ½-inch is acceptable and
reduces positioning problems during reproduction. Larger
top and bottom margin space is pleasing to the eye. Top
and bottom margins may be unequal, but should remain
the same from inside page to page.
Assembly: placement of text, graphics, photos, etc., on
each page. Again, a relatively simple process with the cut
and paste feature of most computer software, but another
matter altogether for editors without such luxuries.
CUT AND PASTEFOR REAL
There are a number of variations to the technique for
placing matter to be printed on the appropriate pages.
Basically, it consists of trimming the final proofed copy
into manageable pieces, deciding their positions on each
page, marking the positions and fastening them in place.
The finished products are variously referred to as
mechanicals, paste-ups, or dummies. (A dummy
may also be a hand-draw representation of a page,
showing where various elements will be locateda map.)
Mechanicals seems to be the preferred term, and is used in
Cutting: Remove all extraneous paper. Leave narrow
margins on all sides of the materials to be pasted. The
cutting device may be scissors, razor blade or Xacto knife.
The latter two require some sort of a cutting board. A
pane of glass will do, but it quickly dulls blades. A piece
of Masonite or plywood will work, but in time their
surfaces become roughened with use. A superior third
alternative is a cutting mat, made from a plastic material
that heals after every cut so the mat surface stays
smooth. Most cutting mats have a printed grid for
Marking: A lead pencil may be used for marking copy
positions on mechanicals, but the marks must be removed
before printing. A better choice is pens or pencils
designated photo blue, a pastel, light blue not visible to
copy machines or offset printing processes. A T-square
and a drafting triangle are helpful to ensure that marks and
subsequent placement of copy is plumb with the edges of
the mechanicals. This is crucial. Tiny departures from
plumb, scarcely visible to the naked eye, will stick out
like the proverbial sore thumb on the printed copy. (See
Light Box, Part 6.)
Another alternative is the use of art boards. They are
heavy sheets of paper (Bristol board) with smooth surfaces
on which is printed a grid pattern (available in increments
from 1/16th-inch to 1/4-inch) in photo blue. Some also
have marks printed to indicate standard margins, page
centers, location of three-ring binder perforations and the
like. With care, art boards may be reused numerous times.
Art boards are manufactured in sizes appropriate for 8½ x
11-inch or 11 x 17-inch pages. They may usually be found
in stores dealing in artists and engineering supplies.
Pasting: Paste-up is the final step in preparing
mechanicals for printing. All items must be firmly fixed to
the mechanical, but they should not be permanently
mounted. It is often necessary to reposition items for
better use of space, or to provide a more eye-pleasing
Several types of adhesive do the job well:
- Rubber cementavailable everywhere. Messy to apply
and residue may accumulate outside the edge of pasted
copy and attract dirt which can show up on the finished
printing. Users should have a supply of rubber cement
thinner (acetone) and a rubber cement eraser at hand.
- Hot waxless messy. Requires a hot wax applicator: a
device with an electrically heated reservoir where the wax
is melted and a roller arrangement for applying the melted
wax in a thin, stippled coating to the copy. Not readily
available; expensive. Least costly is the LECTRO-STIC,
manufactured by Lectro-Stic Corp., Chicago, Ill. 60613,
or from many art supply stores. It is a small, hand-held
tool that rolls on a 1½-inch wide coat of wax, so repeated
passes are necessary to coat almost all copy. The tool
comes supplied with a quantity of wax cubes said to be
equivalent to a gallon of rubber cement. Replenishment
supplies may be a problem.
- Spray adhesiveComes in an aerosol container similar
to spray paints. Label should specify the adhesive does not
provide a permanent bond. Fairly clean, but some method
to capture overspray must be used. An empty paper carton
makes a good spray booth. A light mist application is
sufficient to anchor copy, which may be lifted and
repositioned several times before more adhesive is needed.
Scotch 3M brand Spray Mount Artists Adhesive is
available in art supply stores for about $10 per can.
- Cellophane tapeCheap and easy to use, but may be
difficult to remove. Scotch 3M produces a removable tape,
but it may not be invisible to copy machines and offset
- Glue stickA recent arrival on the market is a glue
stick from Dennison Mfg. Co., Farmingham, MA 01701.
It contains a non-permanent glue, much like the adhesive
on Post-It Notes. Clean, simple to use, but expensive.
About $2.00 for a two-inch applicator tube. Initial tests in
preparation of this manual indicate the adhesive is not as
reliable as the other methods described
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