Is Synthetic Paper Worth Considering?
Benefits to Magazine Publishers
Magazine publishers haven't been moving in droves to synthetic paper. And, it's likely because it's not necessary—most magazines don't need to be
tear-proof or waterproof. Synthetics are also usually more expensive. By how much varies depending on the project.
Many factors affect the actual price of various stocks, and the additional printing costs attributed to the special needs of synthetics makes direct price comparisons misleading. Prices can also vary depending on which printer you use. The best thing is to get your own printing bids with different stocks quoted.
One potential benefit to magazine publishers who don't polybag their issues is that a tear-resistant cover could prevent dog-eared magazine covers from arriving in readers' mailboxes.
A third reason why synthetic papers aren't more commonly used is that many designers are unaware of their availability.
Once Clear, a high-style, cutting-edge fashion and design magazine published in the Detroit area, discovered synthetic paper, it wasted no time. Emin Kadi, the magazine's creative director, comments that he decided to try synthetic merely for "the intrigue of it."
Kadi finds synthetic paper so intriguing that an entire issue of Clear has even been printed on it. The cover is printed on a patent-pending clear, plastic cover wrap.
There is one drawback to printing on synthetic paper in that it is significantly more expensive than printing on traditional paper, he notes, and "it's trickier to print on plastic and takes longer."
Despite the added expense, and design and production challenges, Clear goes to the trouble of printing on synthetics because it gives the edgy magazine an edge. As Kadi says, "[It] sets us apart."
Synthetic papers have met the quality standards that magazine and book publishers expect and, arguably, exceeded them. But, if you decide to print on them, be prepared for the idiosyncrasies of their special characteristics. Being aware of these subtle differences can help make printing on synthetic paper a hassle-free process.