In a world of screen based media, printed material is still something we all use in our lives on almost a daily basis. Did you know that when it comes to the print industry there are hundreds of options to choose from? Knowing just a few of these options can be valuable to you, your business, and your clients.
Part I: Why Should You Know the Basics?
Talk the Talk
If you are designing for print it is especially important for you to, at least, know the ABC’s of the industry. Unfortunately, this is a subject that is seldom covered in college and university art programs, but since concept is key when it comes to creative projects, it is critical to know the basics. Being able to get through to a target audience is the main goal of any business. Many marketing materials out there rely on paper and ink to portray an important message. So, choosing something that will enhance that message can surely keep some of those audience members engaged in what is being offered. When you to talk to your client about these options, you should be prepared show samples, and explain with confidence why what you are recommending is the best option for their specific project. Why? Well, if they like what you are saying you could very well end up with an exceptional piece to show off and include in your professional portfolio.
Saving Time & Money at the Print Shop
I’ve spent a few years behind the counter at the print shop and know that printers have their own industry language. Paper, ink, setup, process, and finishing are just some of the divisions of that language. If you do a lot of printing, knowing their lingo will be beneficial in the long run.
The first thing every customer wants to know at the print shop is how much their project is going to cost.
Estimating can be a long and time-consuming process for both parties involved (which can lead to elevated costs) because seriously folks, who doesn’t want to get paid for their time?
The length of this process can often be kept to a minimum if the customer knows a little bit about what they are purchasing and can narrow down their request to just a few options.
When asking for an estimate, it is vital to provide the print shop with the following information:
- Quantity — The number of finished pieces you will need for each item.
- Stock — What type of paper do you need? Coated, uncoated, text, cover, etc. Does the stock need withstand any range of environmental conditions?
- Bleed — Will any of the images, or text, align themselves right up to the edge of the paper or do you have a solid margin in?
- Size — What is the final size of your project in inches after the paper is trimmed? 8.5x11, 11x17, 5x7, 4.25x5.5 etc.
- Process — Does the project require offset printing or is digital going to work? What about color, can you save some money and print grayscale or is full-color the only way? Finally don’t forget to mention if it should be one or two sided.
- Finishing — Do you need additional work done to the printed product such as; folding, collating, binding, scoring, rounded corners, etc.?
- Other Components — What else does your project need? Envelopes, labels, mailing service, inserts, etc.
- Turn Around Time — What is the exact date and time you will need the finished product in hand?
Don’t fret, if you are unsure or need a detailed explanation about some of these categories. This is what the Print Industry Nitty-Gritty series is all about so stay tuned and subscribe!
They Care, and So Should You
Be aware that the good people who work in the print industry are creative professionals just like you. They are overly cautious, strive for perfection, and will likely take your cherished project just as seriously as you do. They often work long hours that consist of tiresome mental and physical activity. It is important that you view them as partners rather than just retailers, because they are human beings, and when they make mistakes they may feel just as terrible as you do. So please, be considerate, and don’t harass them. If you are annoying, rude, or time-consuming, they will make you pay for it.
Remarks — Feel Like Chatting?
Give a shout out to your printing peeps! Who couldn’t you live without? Which print shop has saved your buns more times than you can count? Is there something that you learned about the print industry that you wished you had known all along?
By and By
Thank you so much for reading. Please visit again for more thoughts and adventures that will include topics on art, nature, travel, and more. Check out my work at the Byway Creative Website and follow me on social media: