Why Page Count Matters

Page Counts For Printing - Print Ninja

Imposition and Pagination - Print Ninja

Page count matters for a couple reasons when it comes to printing:

The first, is that printers print pages in multiples of 4. This is because one sheet of paper composes 4 comic pages. If this isn’t totally obvious to you at first, take a sheet of paper and fold it in half. You can see that there are 4 distinct sides.

Even if your comic is 9 pages long, your total printed page count will be 12. That means you’ll have 3 extra pages of content to fill. Definitely something to keep in mind before going to print.

There are a few exceptions to this rule (board books print in multiples of 2), but in a majority of cases you’ll need to stick to multiples of 4.

The second reason page count matters is less obvious (and is only relevant to offset printing so if you’re printing digital you don’t have to worry about it).

As the previous section states, offset printers use printing plates to print pages. These plates are large and double sided so they can actually fit multiple pages per plate. The number of pages you can print on a single printing plate is called a signature.

Printers have different signatures, and those signatures vary depending on the size of your pages. For a standard sized comic, most printers can fit 8 pages on each side of the plate (so 16 pages per signature).

Okay but why does this matter?

It matters because printing plates are the bulk of your price when it comes to printing. Adding another page to a non full plate is a small cost, but adding a page when you already have a full plate will require a whole other plate to be used (FOUR plates if you print in colour!).

For example:

Let’s say you have a 16 page signature.

If you’re at 28 pages, you’ll be using two plates. A full plate for the first 16 pages and a second for the 12 remaining pages.

Going from 28 to 32 pages won’t change the number of plates required because you just add those 4 pages to the second plate (which would now be full at 16 pages).

Now, since both your plates are now full, going from 32 to 36 pages will require the addition of a third plate. This would bump the price significantly.

All that said, I’m an advocate for keeping comics whatever length they need to be to tell the story you’re going for. I wouldn’t focus on cutting pages to fit a signature unless you’re really strapped for cash. It’s just something to keep an eye on.