Not sure if you know this but commercial printing is complicated. There are many variables that need to be addressed before going to press and properly managing these variables can be the difference between a good result and a great one. When making initial calls to potential printers, let them know your level of print knowledge and how they handle novice customers. For our part, we deal with folks who are new to commercial printing all the time. Whether they need some packaging for a new product or some trade show signage, we understand the confusion that may enter their minds and work hard to put them at ease and explain exactly how the process works. This has proven for a much better customer experience as well as longer relationships. Let me review a few items that any novice should know when working on a commercial print project.
1. You will need Print Ready Artwork – Print ready artwork is a high resolution file that has your designs on it, in the proper format, with crops and bleeds. Now, if you do not have this file or you have something close, we will work with you to get your file properly configured making sure we do not change your design. We’ll show it to you before going to press so that if you see something you want changed, we can handle it right there and then.
2. Understand Pricing – Pricing from commercial printers is composed of Total Price and Price per Unit. Generally speaking, the higher the quantity, the lower the per unit price but the higher the overall price. Let me give you an example:
A customer would like a quote on 2 quantities of brochures: 500 and 1000
Quote on 500: $250.00 total price or $.50 each
Quote on 1000: $350.00 total price or $.35 each
Notice how the price per brochure went down for 1000 but overall price went up. If this is a brochure that will be used throughout the year, then the higher quantity may make sense. However, if this is a dated brochure, the lower quantity may make sense in order to minimize extras that will be thrown out after the event.
3. Some understand of specifications (Specs) – Specifications refers to items such as paper type, paper color, paper texture, color, final trim size, scored and folded, etc. Depending on your project, there may be 5-6 specs or 10-15. The point is for you to have some idea of what you would like your finished piece to look like. Our new customers come in with a vague idea and we ask them questions about distribution, target customer, qty, and so on. The answers to these questions help us guide them to specs that will meet their needs and their budget.
If you’re new to commercial printing, it can get real tricky really quick. Do your best to have some familiarity with the 3 items I listed above. It will make your experience a much better one.