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How to Print a Magazine

Updated: Feb 20

With years of experience in printing, the art of magazine printing remains a fascinating and intricate post. The two main points that should be embraced while learning how to print a magazine include efficiency and creativity.

So, we will explain the printing techniques used when creating magazines, explore common magazine size dimensions, and dive into the factors that determine the overall cost of a magazine printing project. We will also examine the time needed to complete a magazine printing job.

How to Print a Magazine
Source: / Photo Contributor: Africa Studio

How to Print a Magazine

While we can use several printing methods to create a magazine, digital and offset printing are the options we usually consider. We chose the printing method based on the scope of the project and the type of magazine in question. Having chosen the method we carefully follow its procedure.

For instance, offset printing involves aluminum plates, which are later wrapped around cylinders to transfer the content onto paper. In contrast, the digital printing process is more straightforward. To create a magazine, we transfer files from a computer to the printer and monitor the printing process.

When comparing how to print out a magazine utilizing these two approaches, we find that offset printing comes as a close second to digital printing. The main reason for this is the time-consuming setup. Below, we explain how these two methods are utilized to print magazines and how to print your own magazine.

Offset printing

In offset printing, we use an etched plate for each print. Different colored inks are administered into the appropriate areas and then transferred onto the paper. While this is an efficient way to create magazines, the creation process can be labor-intensive as each image requires a different plate.

Simply put, offset printing utilizes the CMYK model. First, aluminum plates are created in four colors (magenta, yellow, cyan, and black). Then, all four palates are stacked up on top of one another.

Next, the plates are wrapped around a blanket cylinder and printed onto a separate impression cylinder. The paper passes through both cylinders, and the text and images are pressed onto paper.

The pages then pass through a roller that dampens the parts that should remain blank. They are put through a roller that carries the ink, creating color images and text. Once done, powder is put on each page to help dry the ink and protect the printed material.

Digital printing 

Digital printing is a more time-efficient method of printing magazines. The setup process is less demanding than other printing types. We transfer the needed magazine materials from a computer to our electro-photographic printer, which transfers it on paper. 

We should mention that this type of magazine printing offers high-quality prints. However, the quality of detail is slightly less "perfect" than offset printing. Still, this is hardly noticeable, especially to the untrained eye. Much of the success of the final result relies on the type of paper we are printing on and its thickness.

Digital printing
Source: / Photo Contributor: industryviews

How Big Is a Magazine?

As part of our magazine printing services, we offer a range of sizes that cater to various preferences and purposes. The most prevalent magazine sizes are 8.5 x 11 inches and 5.5 x 8.5 inches. These dimensions provide ample space for visual and textual content, making them a popular choice in the industry.

We also have the flexibility to offer these magazines in both portrait and landscape formats. This versatility allows us to meet diverse design needs. We can print a fashion magazine that requires a portrait layout to showcase full-page photographs. 

We can also cater to the needs of travel magazines that usually require a landscape format for panoramic views. Some of the most popular magazine formats include the following: 

  • A4 size (8.3 by 11.7 inches)

  • Digest size (5.5 by 8.25 inches)

  • Half-letter size (8.5 by 5.5 inches)

  • Broadsheet size (22.5 by 35 inches)

  • Tabloid size (11 by 17 inches)

  • Letter size (8.5 by 11 inches)

  • Square sizes (5.5 by 5.5 inches or 8.5 by 8.5 inches) 

How Long Does it Take to Print a Magazine?

One of the factors that has the biggest influence on the time it takes to print a magazine is volume. We consider 1,500 to 2,000 copy jobs in magazine printing as short-run projects. For this type of project, a faster turnaround time as the equipment has a less demanding setup.

Short-run printing is typically carried out using short-run bindery machines or digital presses. When looking through printing manufacturers, you can expect the ones that utilize digital printing to be mostly oriented toward high-frequency jobs. This is because short-run magazine projects work best with digital printing.

Printing jobs that require more than 2,000 pieces are mostly reserved for offset printing. Such magazine projects are more time-consuming, mainly because of the intricate setup of offset printing.

In some scenarios, we can utilize digital printing for large-scale projects when the client requests the fastest turnaround possible. This is usually done when printing speed is more important than printing cost.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a Magazine? 

On average, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $4,000 for 1,000 copies of a 20-page magazine. This cost varies based on the manufacturer as each calculates the final price differently.

Determining the average cost of magazines is difficult due to the varying factors involved in printing. To offer a more comprehensive understanding of how the magazine print price is formed, we will look into the factors that affect this price. Here's a breakdown of the factors that dictate the price:

Page count 

The number of pages in a magazine directly impacts the cost. When printing magazines, it's crucial to remember that each sheet includes a front and a back. This is why, in the printing industry, we differentiate between sheet count and page count. 

It's worth noting that the page count should always be divisible by 32 or 16, proportionately to the size of the magazine. This allows us for more efficient printing and bidding.

Binding styles 

The binding style also contributes to the cost of printing a magazine. For instance, a saddle stitch binding is a more budget-friendly option. However, it is usually reserved for magazines with a page count lower than 48.

Perfect binding is reserved for larger page counts and is slightly more expensive than the saddle stitch. But when stacked against hardcover binding, perfect binding is considered a lower-cost option.

Paper choices 

The type and quality of paper in the print also dictate the overall price. Some clients choose the same type of paper for the cover and interior. Others prefer using a different paper type for the cover. 

This differs based on specific needs. Usually, using different paper types comes with a larger price tag.

How Much Does it Cost to Print a Magazine?
Source: / Photo Contributor: Aigars Reinholds


When explaining how to print a magazine, we emphasize that this meticulous process involves several aspects. This process revolves around choosing a suitable printing method for the print type and the volume of copies involved.

Other aspects that we find clients pay the most attention to are production time and cost. Another consideration in magazine printing is the dimensions that dictate the aesthetic appeal of the print. Overall, understanding these factors is crucial in creating a magazine that is not only functional but also has a unique feel and appeal.


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