I like the use of color inserts when a publisher has color images they want to place within their book. If a book will contain a certain number of 4-color photos or illustrations a publisher can save considerably on the cost of manufacturing if they elect to group those images on certain pages. If they design the book with the images throughout all the pages they will have to print the book as 4-color process throughout which increases the overall cost and usually necessitates the use of higher priced coated paper for the entire text.
When color photos and/or illustrations are grouped as inserts, only those pages need be printed on coated paper and many more book manufacturers in the U.S. are able to produce the book competitively than if the book is to be printed as 4-color process. Book designers know that if they are including a color insert it should bind between signatures. That means the placement of the first page of the insert should fall before or after a 32 page, 48 page, etc. one color printed text signature within the layout of the book that the publisher/or designer thinks the images should follow or precede.
Color inserts can be as few as 2 pages (one sheet of paper) or as many as a complete 32 page signature. Multiple full-page color inserts can be placed throughout a book more economically than placing a handful of color images throughout the entire book. Consult your book manufacturer on their capabilities regarding 4-color images and how they can most efficiently produce your book containing color photos or illustrations. In books where the photos must fall on certain pages throughout the text the publisher may have no choice but to print the book as 4-color process.
Mike Daniels is the Great Plains Territory Manager for Four Colour Print Group, a well-respected resource for quality book manufacturing where he consults authors and publishers on the production of their books. He’s a published author, editor of Peaks & Planes magazine, is a Past President of CIPA, current President of the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation and serves on CIPA’s Board of Directors. PH: 303 325-7876 or firstname.lastname@example.org