• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center



As a conservation and land management agency we should use recycled materials as much as we can. In addition, an executive order was issued in 1998 requiring Federal agencies to use recycled paper. When printing is done by the Government Printing Office they will automatically specify recycled paper. When printing locally with cooperating association funds you will need to specify recycled paper. It is common now to print using environmentally friendly water-based or vegetable-oil ink as well. See "Sustainable Materials" (Information Design, p. 23).

Since the public expects us to use these materials it’s a good idea to show them that we do use them. Three recycle logos are in common use, each in a prescribed manner.

Recyclable logo Recycled logo Post consumer waste content logo

Above (left to right): Recyclable logo, recycled logo, and post consumer waste content logo.

Paper Specifications

Talk with your printer about the papers they have available to them. If they must order paper your project will take longer. Talk about the standard sizes they normally use. They have very clever ways to get the most out of a sheet of paper, make printing easier and faster, and reduce your cost. Remember that the site bulletin system is designed for use on white paper.

Brochures can be printed on 50-, 60-, or 70-pound offset book. The higher numbers indicate heavier paper. A brochure printed on one side may be able to use a lighter weight, less expensive paper. Two-sided brochures may require a heavier weight in order to keep images from showing through from one side to the other. Your printer can show you samples and make suggestions.

Rack cards may be too limp to stand up in a dispenser or be handed out at the entrance station if printed on lightweight paper. You should use a heavier stock like 80-pound cover.

Printing Specifications

A printer will need a set of specifications from you to give you a price quote and completion date. If they get the job they will use the specifications to print the publication. Working in advance with your printer will enable them to help you provide all the information they need. This is a basic list of what they will want:

  • Date: Date you send specifications.
  • Printer: Company name, address, phone number.
  • For: Your national park, address.
  • Contact: NPS person in charge of this job, phone number.
  • Job Title: Name of the publication (example: “A Guide To The Patch Reef”).
  • Finished Product: Brochure, booklet, poster, letterhead, etc.
  • Quantity: Number you want (printing industry standards allow them to give you within one percent of this). A typical quotation would ask for several quantities so you can see the price breaks.
  • Cost: Completed by printer.
  • Shipping Estimate: Completed by printer if applicable.
  • Number of Pages: One sheet of paper has two pages: Printing on one side makes it one page; printing on both sides makes it two pages.
  • Paper: Weight, type, color; recycled.
  • Ink: Color, plus any spot colors; soy ink.
  • Trim Size: Size of the final unfolded sheet. Does the ink bleed?
  • Folds: Description of fold. A sample “folding dummy” is helpful.
  • Folded Size: Size of the final folded brochure.
  • Provided by Customer: Computer disk (with programs used to create it, file names, linked images, special fonts used, PC or MacIntosh; do you want it back?) or hard copy.
  • Proofs: Do you want to see proofs? (This is highly recommended.)
  • Shipping Method: Printer delivers, by UPS, by trucking company, or you pick up.
  • Deliver To: Name, address, phone number.
  • Billing Address: Who is paying?
  • Ownership: NPS, cooperating association, etc.

PC users can download a Print Specifications Template in Microsoft Word format. Print Specifications Template (MS-Word).

"How To Work With Printers" is an experienced printer’s explanation (Information Design, p. 67).

When contracting with GPO, they will have a standard form to complete, but it will contain similar information to that above. See "GPO’s Desktop Publishing Guidelines" (Information Design, p. 73) and "Government Contracting" (Information Design, p. 85).


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