Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green printing tip no. 15: Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

Today we have another tip on our weekly series of green printing tips, which we publish in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today we are talking about a question that keeps popping up as we see more and more printing jobs transfer into digital format. Greg is discussing this trend and offering a way to combine both formats together in a way that is effective from a marketing point of view and of course is environmentally friendly.

Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

Tip #15

I see an enormous change in the way the printing business is going, with more and more print documents being offered online, as a PDF. I start to think of my fellow printers and how this will affect them.

One of the plants I partner with has lost millions of dollars in annual report printing. Just a small portion are printed and the balance are emailed to the stockholders.

PDF files are by nature more environmental as they're saving paper, ink, etc. But the question is: Are PDF files the best fit for every document?

There are some cases where I like the hard copy, and where I see an advantage for using both mediums. Take, for example my last tip on producing Green Directories.

Avi Publishing prints 100,000 digest size Directories for NYC and 100,000 for 3 other cities, called "OUR GREEN BOOK". I think the size of "Our Green Book" is perfect for a woman's purse or even a man's back pocket. If the directory was larger, I think people would not take it with them. AND, they have an electronic version that you can read online at their website, and print off your computer.

Will this eliminate the printed copy? No. Both styles will be utilized. The PDF will create the interest in the book, and will inspire the reader to pick it up at Whole Foods or Green Apple Cleaners. So, I see a definite plus for both print and electronic media.

Annual reports might be a better fit for online distribution . Many people don't read their annual reports sent in the mail. Maybe, they will spot and read them when they receive their PDF via email.

I think that ad agencies will probably use both mediums. My firm is now offering email blasts, and variable 1 to 1 marketing to keep up with the times, and, really, to survive.

If our clients want to email their message, then we want to do their prepress. We also want to do the marketing to follow that includes the printing of postcards, brochures, and other print projects, that become part of the overall package.

1 to 1 marketing gathers data on prospective clients, and emailed sales programs reach out to these prospective new clients, but when these people respond to a website we have set up, we immediately print postcards and flyers and brochures, with their name printed everywhere, and pictures of cars, jewelry, sports equipment, etc that we know they are interested in, from the up front email blast, and that does increase our print production.

By the way, we send these items out environmentally. And of course I encourage 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and environmental inks, and Green E energy, and FSC produced.

So, change with the times or you will be swallowed up. Use both mediums.

If you have any questions, please contact Greg Barber at greg@ecofriendlyprinter.com.

You can also email us requests for future tips to

Links to the last three green printing tips:

Green Printing Tip #14 - Can Directories be Green?

Green Printing Tip #13 - Are you looking for back to school environmental ideas?

Green Printing Tip #12 - How to preapre files for your next green digital run?

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website - http://

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing

1 comment:

laura said...

Thank you for posting this printing tips, it's really informative, this a big help for me, because I'm a beginner to learn more about combining a four color prints.