Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Determines Stationery Costs? Part 2: Stocks

In a previous post I spoke about the different aspects of the creation invitations and stationery that affect the overall cost of making them. In this post, the second of this series I'll discuss how your choice of stocks (paper and materials) affects your stationery budget as well.

There are actually a few different things to consider about the paper used to create your invitations and envelopes.

  • What's the weight of the stock? The weight is a fancy way of saying the "thickness" of the stock. In general you'll find home printer friendly stocks are a bit thinner than other stocks so they don't jam your printer up. If you select a lighter weight stock it often times will be less expensive than heavier card stocks.

  • What is the finish of the stock? It's important to consider what the finish of the stock is. Is the stock smooth, textured or shimmery? Another thing to consider is if the stock is coated (which is often the case with shimmer/stardream stocks). In general if you choose a textured or shimmer stock depending on the depth of the crevices of the textured stock or the coating of the shimmer stock, you might not be able to print it on your home printer. Some stocks require a specific type of printing method in order to use the stock, so if you aren't printing it yourself you'll want to discuss and show samples of the stock to your printer handling the job. Smoother stocks are usually less expensive than textured or shimmery stocks but this isn't always the case.

  • What is the stock made of and how is it made? Nowadays many environmentally friendly cotton papers are on the market which work beautifully with many different printing methods including offset, letterpress, thermography and engraving. These stocks usually come at a higher cost to the consumer, mostly due to the process that goes into creating these stocks. Other popular paper types such as wood veneers and vellums though unique might also come at a higher cost. If selecting one of these stocks is important to you, you might want to reconsider other items such as the format of your invitation or the printing method to make it work within your budget.

  • The size of the card stock: If you are creating your invitations yourself, one thing most party hosts don't realize is how they can save money by purchasing larger sheets of card stock and cutting them down as opposed to purchasing stock already cropped to the sizes you need. For example, you can get two 5"x7" invitations if laid out correctly on one 8.5"x11" sheet of card stock. By cropping the two invitations out of the one sheet after you print them, you can sometimes save close to half the price as opposed to printing on pre-cut 5"x7" sheets.

  • Shipping the stock: The Internet is a fantastic source to find stocks for your invitations and stationery (granted you are not working with a stationery designer, who will most likely give you options of the stocks they carry and take care of ordering it for you). If you are purchasing your stock yourself, be sure to include shipping in your budget. You also want to be sure you account for enough time to receive the stock so you can still make your deadline to mail your invitations.

Next post in this series, what printing methods are currently available and how they impact your invitation costs.

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