Get to know ganging

Are you familiar with ganging? That’s the term for grouping two or more print projects together onto the same printing form. It’s a great way to save money on print jobs.

Ganging is used to good effect for business cards when several of them are printed onto one press form. For the example illustrated above, Sue and Mary needed 500 cards each, but Joe needed 1,000 cards. So Joe’s card appears twice on the form, while Sue and Mary’s cards appear once. In this example, 500 sheets would be printed.

This approach is much more cost-effective than running each name separately, which would require 2 printing plates for each name, or 6 total instead of 2 total.

Ganging not only saves you money on the cost of plates themselves, but also the labor cost to prepare more plates and the labor cost to set up and clean up the press several more times.

Here’s another example. Let’s say you’re printing an invitation package. Each piece will be printed in 2 colors on 2 sides except the envelopes, which will be printed in the same 2 colors on 1 side.

If you select 100 lb. cover for the invitation, save-the-date card and RSVP card, all three items might be able to be ganged onto one sheet.

In this example, ganging eliminates 8 printing plates! Then, if you select an 80 lb. text for both the invitation envelope and the RSVP return envelope, 2 more plates can be eliminated. When you can eliminate 10 plates, the savings really add up, both in materials and labor.


Your print rep or his/her job engineer can determine how and whether the pieces in your print project can be ganged. Factors they will consider are the quantity of each item to be printed, the shape and size of the pieces, paper grain (important!), ink coverage, bindery requirements, and the appropriate press and paper size.

Trimming is one factor that can limit the number of items that it would be wise to gang onto one sheet. Look at a business card example above again and imagine that the stack of cards was 10 cards tall. With each successive cut between cards, the trim may be just a little off, so by the time you get to the 7th or 8th horizontal cut, the inaccuracy can be quite be noticeable, especially on a butt-fit stack like the one in this example.

Preserve the ganging option

When you’re selecting stock and inks for a project, it’s tempting to specify a different weight or type of stock for each element or to use ink colors that are not common to all pieces. But if you select paper and inks with ganging in mind, you preserve this opportunity.

Ganging is definitely a good trick to have in your back pocket if saving money is one of your job goals.