Six bits of printers’ jargon to know when planning your 2014 annual report

No one expects Investor Relations Officers or Corporate Secretaries to be experts at purchasing commercial printing. That said, it’s safe to have a general understanding for the process – to assure your expectations are met.

Below are the six key variables that Investor Relations Officers and Corporate Secretaries will be asked to make decisions around that will impact the production and price of an annual report.


Each year, issuers’ ask us to audit their previous annual report print production to
set a budget for their upcoming one. Click here and upload your 2013 PDF.


4-color… is full color. The only distinction now is whether you print on a traditional offset printing press or digital print. The variables you will discuss when shopping depend on your report’s creative design and print quantity.

  • Traditional offset printing is generally used for larger print quantities or very exact color (brand) matching by adding a 5 and 6th color.
  • Digital printing is, simply put, a really high-end version of the HP printer sitting on your desk. Perfect for smaller quantities and rush scenarios.

Both these technologies will require a final CMYK (also known as four color process) file from you. CMYK is cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Online annual reports are RGB: red, green and blue. Digital cameras, television screens and computer monitors use the RGB process to create color. Generally, a print vendor can convert a RGB file to CMYK without issue.


1-color… usually means “black ink only.” The meat of the 10-K.


Cover stock… is the thicker paper used for both the front and back covers. It is described in “pounds” and generally ranges from 65 lb to 120 lb, depending on the paper itself.

  • “Coated cover” is generally a glossy stock. Most times, you will be using 100 lb – 120 lb weight, as the glossiness makes the paper softer.
  • Uncoated cover is a matte paper, much like a business card. You may be in the 65 lb – 100 lb weight range.
  • Generally, you will print on both sides of the front cover. You will always print the back cover, often NOT the inside back cover. It costs you no more to not print on the inside back. That is a visual design choice.


Text stock… are the pages inside of the covers. The guts.

  • It follows the same descriptions as cover stock, just much thinner weights. 20 lb – 32 lb. “Copier paper” is 24 lb-ish.


Binding…. is how the annual report is held together

  • Saddle stitched means the annual report pages are folded in half and stapled. This physically creates a “10-K wrap.” (The front cover is the back cover; the first inside page is the same piece of paper as the last inside page and so on.)
  • Perfect bound is a flat glued spine. It can be more expensive; however it allows for any configuration of paper/pages and presents itself in a very finished manner.


Sheets of paper vs. page count… can be confusing. Financial printers think in terms of “pages” not paper. A simple example is if you take an 11″x 17″ piece of paper and fold it in half, that’s a four page 8.5″ x 11″ annual report. Get it?

  • This only “really” matters for saddle stitched annual reports. The page count needs to be in a multiple of four. If you come up short, we print “This page is intentionally left blank.”


Caveat Emptor: As once reported in an expose’ by both the New York Times and CFO Magazine, the “financial print industry” has had questionable purchasing and billing practices. It is against this environment that Vintage has emerged as the intelligent value.


Click here to audit your previous annual report printing to benchmark your upcoming production. You will need to upload the PDF of last year’s annual report. (We will also send you examples of our printed work. )

Have a great day.

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