Printing Process

The Design team can assist you with any work that needs to be produced and printed externally. Please get in contact for assistance.

Before you start your project here are some things to consider. This will help you ensure the process from designing to production is smooth for everyone.

Starting a Print Job

Whether it’s a booklet, apparel, or branded merchandise, when you want a print job it’s always best to ask earlier than later!

As you might have guessed, when we print things offsite it takes a little longer to produce. Before we send it off, we will work with you to review all the content, images and layout is exactly what you need before it leaves our office to be manufactured.

Remember to consider when requesting a job with us that it could take up to two weeks from Sign Off for the final item to get delivered back to you.

Reviews and Sign-Off

The printed document review and sign-off process is the same as most jobs. We will go through a concept stage, two reviews through to final sign off. Part of being able to complete your job is getting a quote approval from you.

When you Start a Job with us, it’s really useful for us to get an idea of the quantity you require and your budget. This way we can work with the suppliers to help you get the best bang for your buck! We will also make sure the method of printing is in line with UMSU Values. The suppliers we work with have passed ethical checks concerning workplace conditions, eco friendly processes and the like.

We will source several quotes for you during the course of your job to get the best product possible. Sometimes we may not be able to do this until during the review of your booklet. This is because we need to be accurate in knowing the final page count or quantity as this will help us request the right finishes.

Once you receive the quotes, one of them must be approved before we can send it off. Remember it could take up to two weeks for the final product to be delivered back to you. Keep this in mind when letting us know your deadline.

PLEASE NOTE: We need the minutes to show that money has been passed before we are able to book anything for the project – this means printing, hiring or contracting any external product or production.

Must Haves
For everything we print there are certain things that must be on your design. These are your co-branded logo or the UMSU logo and the SSAF mark. We also recommend that your URL be there as well.

We need to know the quantity of the item you require, but will sometimes request a higher number and sometimes the difference in cost is minimal to get more.

Final print size
Is it A4? A5? Something else? The final size must be requested. Non-standard sizing may increase price of final product.

Merchandise sizing
For things like tshirts and sweaters sizing we need to know the sizes you need. Most items have a large sizing system, from xxs to 4xl, but ask us and we can let you know specifics when required.

Internal Printing (A1s and A3s for Union House)

  • Included in each campaign, your department gets 2 x A1 posters. We print them in-house via the Design team and Comms distribute them on campus. You can request additional A1 prints, they cost $20 per poster.
  • 3 x A3 posters are recommended per department, per campaign. Speaking from experience, this tends to be just the right number. These A3s are printed out by your department and delivered to Communications to distribute as per the Thursday 12pm deadline above. These posters are optional.


These are the top three binding methods that we use.

DL’s are commonly used for condensed/introductory information documents such as flyers and pamphlets. It’s an A4 paper that’s folded into thirds or a single page of 99x201mm.

Saddle stitch
Saddle stitch binding is when paper is folded and stapled together. This means the minimum page number is an 8 page self cover booklet, or a four page + cover. The maximum page number depends on how thick the paper stock used is. Too many pages and the book will “spring” open. A self-cover is when the cover of the booklet is the same paper stock as the inner pages. Saddle stitching is a low cost option for binding that still delivers a professional outcome.

Perfect bound
Perfect binding is a widely used soft cover bookbinding method. The inner pages and cover are glued together at the spine. The top, bottom and side are trimmed to size to get clean “perfect” edges. The minimum page count for perfect binding method is generally about 27 sheets of paper (54 pages) but this will vary depending on the GSM of the paper stock used.


Paper Stock

UMSU recommends using environmental paper stocks for all publications. This may include wholly recycled paper stock or a high level of post-consumer waste. We recommend to stay away from gloss and specialty papers or special finishes when choosing paper stock as it is easier to recycle at the end of the booklet’s life.

When we talk about paper stock or GSM (grams per square metre) it relates to the “weight” or thickness of the paper. For example, a business card is generally 350gsm and a piece of regular printer paper is 80gsm.


Printing Methods

Offset printing
We use offset printing when we’re printing large volumes of booklets, for example the UMSU Guide is printed via offset every year! The technical set-up is a little more costly as it uses printing “plates” for transferring each colour onto the paper to build the final image. Offset printing provides accurate colour reproduction, and crisp, clean professional looking printing. As it’s a more involved process in the set-up it also takes a bit longer for production of sometimes a week or more but has the advantage to make the unit price at large volume more cost effective. There also tends to be higher minimum order quantities (MOQ). Due to these we would only recommend in certain circumstances. Offset printing also allows for Pantone (PMS) colours.

Digital Printing
Digital printing has an advantage over offset printing as the technical set-ups are less intensive and have no minimum order quantity. It also means the production time drops which means you get your order quite quick. Digital Printing can be used for document printing, as well as merchandise.

Screen Printing
Screen printing uses a stencil on special mesh to mask out parts of the the image when transfering onto a material. We recommend this method for tshirts and tote bags.


Helpful printing jargon

CMYK is a printing colour model which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) and refers to colour in a printed space. Most printing whether it’s large scale or your home printer uses a mix of these colours to build a printed image.


Ethical Suppliers


The Design department has been directed to provide guidance on the procurement of printers committed to lowering their environmental impact, while addressing labour practices within the supply chain for printed materials to UMSU.

To gain an understanding of current sustainability practices and unionised labour force within the industry, advice was sought from the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (which represents workers in the printing, design and packaging industries) and independent sustainability credentials along with localised environmental initiatives and offsets.

For future ethical procurement guidance, the new ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement Standard, was published mid-2017 and provides a thorough understanding of the sustainability considerations that must be considered across all areas of procurement, from policy to organisation to processes, and provides guidance for how these can be implemented on a practical level. This publication is available as a pdf for purchase at $333.

Victorian unionised printers

This list was provided by Tony Piccolo from AMWU based on formalised union representation within the printing business:

  • McPhersons Print Group
  • Gunn and Taylor
  • Loud media
  • Bluestar Clayton (this premises only)
  • Kosdown
  • BlueGum


Below are UMSU’s preferred suppliers:

Printed material (Booklets, brochures, zines etc)

Kosdown Printing
Contact: Andrew Porter or David Downie
9646 1177

  • fully certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC), an international organisation that encourages paper mills to find solutions to problems created by bad forestry practices and reward good forest management. Kosdown FSC® certificate
  • Silver Waste Wise certified, with 97% of our waste being recycled or reused, and are a member of CitySwitch Green Office program, Australia’s flagship sustainability program for business.
  • water and chemical free plate making, a technology which offers immense water savings of over 150,000 litres a year.
  • 100% vegetable and soy based inks, again eliminating the need for harmful chemicals.


McPhersons Printing
Contact: Bruce Chaplin
5461 7163

  • Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™),
  • Chain of Custody certification Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
  • Chain of Custody certification ISO 9001:2015 Certification paper from well managed forests (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Program for Endorsement of Forestry Certification)
  • non-toxic mineral based inks
  • Environmental Management System to monitor, analyse and report on the following categories: Landfill, Plastic and Paper recycling, Gas and electricity usage and prescribed waste.


Loud Media
Contact: Charles Fernandez (Director)
1300 23 5683

  • ISO 14001 – international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS).
  • Impact 100% recycled (stock) –  Made with a carbon neutral manufacturing process, FSC COC certified and consists of 100% post consumer waste recycled fibre. *Mill use 86% renewable energy, meaning emissions generated by producing Impact are incredibly low. The remaining unavoidable CO2 emissions are compensated for by promoting controlled emission reduction projects, audited and certified by ClimatePartner. The life cycle analysis tracks Impact from raw materials through to Ball & Doggett warehouses nationally.
  • water based inks which are made from natural substances. These inks are biodegradable and will not contaminate soil or water. These eco solvent machines do not need extremely high heat and are not so susceptible to scratching.
  • natural, artificial light’ that is, the light must be bright enough but natural enough to review colours and maintain consistency and quality. Earlier this year we made a decision to invest in a new lighting setup which meant we replaced all our lights with LED lighting, therefore cutting our electricity usage by 27.28%
  • new and innovative ways to recycle products

Hornet Press

73 Rushdale Street, Knoxfield Victoria, 3180
03 9763 9166

  • The use of vegetable based inks that do not contain potentially harmful chemicals
  • A large range of recycled, environmentally friendly, chlorine and acid-free papers, from sustainable forestry practices are available
  • All water and chemicals used on presses are separated and disposed of safely according to EPA standards
  • We use computer to plate (CTP) technology to minimise the necessity for film and chemicals
  • All paper, aluminium and other waste products are separated for recycling

T-Shirts and totebags and other merchandise

Graeme Yeats (Due to CVOID-19 Travis Kellerman is our contact (15/9/2020)
T: 8873 4444
W: and

  • Ethically sourced merchandise, manufactured and decorated with minimum impact to our environment.
  • ISO 9001-2015 (Accredited October 2016)
  • Ethical Clothing Australia (Compliant Manufacturer) Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) is an accreditation body working with local textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) companies to ensure their local Australian supply chains are transparent and legally compliant.
  • Confidence in Textiles – Okeo-Tex®   Standard 100 All “Confidence in textiles” certified products have successfully passed tests for harmful substances according to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100. OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent test and certification system for all types of textiles tested for harmful substances – from threads and fabrics to the ready-to-use items
  • Sedex, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, is a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.