partnering with your printer

February 18, 2007 at 10:07 pm 1 comment

Printers make your designs realities and are responsible for a signficant portion of the costs of marketing materials. As such, printers need to be treated as partners in projects. Learning about the printing process and their special lingo is frequently on-the-job training. But there are a few pointers that can help you design within your budget that require no prior knowledge or training.

Consult a printer in the conceptual stage.
It is very important to consult a printer when your design is in the conceptual stage. Use their knowledge to your benefit. Too often, designers hand the finished file to the printer. Often if the piece was a slightly different size, maybe even just 1/8 of an inch smaller, it would be cheaper to produce. Or, if the piece was laid out in a different orientation (horizontal vs. vertical or vice-versa) money would be saved. Consulting a printer in the conceptual stage will help you stretch your budget. If a printer is not willing to discuss paper and sizing options with you at length, find another printer to work with.

Build loyalty with your printers.
It doesn’t always pay to shop around. Yes, price is an important factor when determining what printer to use, especially if you are on a tight budget. But forsaken a printer over a nickel does not build loyalty, and in the long-run, does not pay dividends. If you are loyal to a printer, you will not only get better service, but when you need a price break, that printer usually will make it happen. Being loyal does not mean that you should not compare prices every so often to make sure your printer is still competitive financially. But you should not constantly jump from printer to printer to save a few bucks. In the long-run, it will cost you money.

Know your printer’s specialty.
Different printers have different specialties. There are small printers with small presses who specialize in black and white and 2-color work; there are mid-size printers whose specialty is small and mid-size 4-color runs; and then there are large printers who print in volumes, often on a web press. Two-color letterhead is not appropriate to run on a large, web press. A small-run of say 1000 brochures should not run on a large, web press. A magazine with a circulation of 20,000 plus belongs on a web press. A good printer will tell you when your job belongs with another printer, but not all will. There are enough good printers out there that you should find a printer you trust.

Don’t assume 2-color design is the least expensive option.
Consult your printer. Depending on the quantity being produced and the type of press being used, 2-color work is not always less expensive than 4-color.


Entry filed under: for designers.

tricks of the trade anatomy of the design process

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