Forever is using a new printer to produce photo books and other products. I wanted to learn more about their new supplier. For my sample photo books, I used Artisan 5 to create a photo book for my trip last year to Disney World. I wanted to evaluate the new printing service just as any other customer would, although perhaps with somewhat of a technical slant. My photo book had 44 pages. Forever supplied soft cover, hard cover, and layflat samples.
Pages – Indigo printers produce the pages. In my experience, Indigo printers produce higher quality photos than the Xerox printer that were previously used. I was not surprised that printing in the samples I received was high quality and accurately reflected the books as I designed them. I did not find that any of my photos were unacceptably dark. I did, however, carefully auto fix all photos that were remotely dark with Perfectly Clear in Artisan 5 .
Paper – Paper for all pages is acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered. These are the ISO requirements to ensure that paper will not yellow or become brittle.
Covers – Covers are printed on a Xeikon printer. Using the Xeikon printer for the cover ensures that the protective laminate will not bubble or become separated from the from the printing over time. Laminates do not, in general, adhere well to Indigo prints. It is always challenging to match color output from two different printers and I did notice some color variation between the cover and the inside pages. For my sample book, the difference was not significant enough to be objectionable.
Binding – Forever uses side-stitching for hard cover books and PUR adhesives for soft cover photo books. Both of these methods ensure that pages will not become separated over time. Binding in my samples was tight and uniform.I choose black end sheets and was pleased with my choice.
Layflat Books – Forever uses hinged pages for their layflat books. These pages have a black hinge. that helps the pages lay flat. I did not find that the black hinges interfered with my page designs, although they might be distracting with light colored pages. The heavy weight, satin pages used for layflat books is very nice.
After comparing a soft cover book, a standard hard cover book, and a layflat hard cover book, I recommend either the soft cover book, if you are concerned about cost, or the layflat book if you want a quality hard cover book.
Note to self – I need to be more careful about left to right placement of my photos on the page. I did not realize that I had some of my photos closer to the outside edge or closer to the spine than they should have been. Part of the difficulty I had with photo positioning is that the computer display does not accurately reproduce the feel of a physical book. Other than the photo positioning, I wouldn’t change a thing with my photo books.
Using a Xeikon printer for the cover ensures it WILL or will NOT bubble over time? I thought it would not but you say it will? Thanks Barb Hunter
Sent from my iPhone
will not – I have corrected the original article.
Thank you, Mark. Your reviews are always thoughtful and thorough, and your objective approach is much appreciated.
Thanks for the informative post. What would you consider reasonable margins to prevent getting pictures too close to the binding and outside edges? With my hard-bound photo books I have always made my margins 1/4 inch bigger on the binding side than the other edges. I’m guessing that would not be necessary on lay-flat pages?
1/4″ sounds reasonable. You have to do relatively precise tests to be more accurate and even then you have manufacturing tolerances to consider. I am not sure about lay-flat books. My problem was that I wasn’t paying as much attention to margins as I should have been.
Mark, did you use the Panstoria software for your book? Was just wondering if using the trim view would produce the same result.
Thanks for your valuable input, I appreciate it!
Thanks for your review. I just received my first 12 x 12 lay flat book and had a different experience than you. You said, “The heavy weight, satin pages used for layflat books is very nice.” I found the paper to feel thin and not satiny. In fact, it was one of the first things I noticed. Two days later, a friend showed me a book she had printed elsewhere, and I kept wanting to touch the pages, because they were heavy weight and felt satiny.
The layflat paper is clearly heavier than the standard page, and I am not sure that I would want it to be any heavier. I did not compare the sample photo books I received to photo books produced by other manufacturers.
Good review, Mark. Thank you for such detail, greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Dr. Mark – I very much respect your opinion and expertise!
Dr. Mark – I always value your opinion and am so glad you were able to evaluate Forever’s new printer. Lately, we have been discussing which pens to use if one wanted to possibly write in their photobooks. Reasons for doing this might be photobooks that are created to use at weddings, funerals, graduations, partys etc. as a guestbook. We all remember Creative Memories Storybook pens which worked great. Are you aware of other pens out there that would work just as well. Thank you again – I love your blog…
I am sorry but I am not aware of any pens tested for use on Forever’s photo books. You will need to ensure that the pen you select does not bleed through the page and dries rapidly so that it does not smear.