Cultivating excellent relationships with print vendors

Article by Karen Hanson, Production Manager at Curb Crowser

You know the moment when you see a really great in-store display, and think about all the talented people who brought it to life? … No? Just us?

Chances are — the people you’re imagining are akin to characters in Mad Men. Let us introduce you to two of the behind-the-curtain heroes of the advertising world: the production manager and the print vendor.

Meet the production manager, the agency team member who uses a mix of creative and technical skills to prepare files from the hands of the designers to the printing press.

And, the print vendor? They’re partners who take creative visions and make them reality. That file that was once a digital design is ready to be printed on a display.

Print vendors can really elevate your creative, especially when you maintain a good working relationship with them. Take a look at a couple of our guidelines for a mutually beneficial connection.

Pre-Production Calls — an important step that is sometimes skipped over.

Your team heard the clients’ wishes: they want foils, varnishes and a neat cut out. These above-and-beyond styles seem to be just the thing to elevate the packaging for their new product line. Be warned — they are about to become a printer’s nightmare.

Why? The pre-production call happened after final files were sent to be produced. You’re now finding out that delicate pattern isn’t going to print properly, which means there will be a delay in getting your pieces out the door — yikes! Getting the printer involved at the beginning will be cost savings and reduce frustrations.

Set Mutual Expectations

Discuss what you both need to get the product out the door on schedule, talk about timelines while factoring in unforeseen issues, and communicate quickly when changes do happen.

When you and your print partner are working together to meet client expectations and deadlines, it’s beneficial for both them and you to work as a team and be on the same page to keep the project moving efficiently.

The Thank You

The piece is printed and that’s it, right? Well, it’s nice to take it a step further to show your appreciation; after all, they went above and beyond to meet your deadlines. And that foil application is on point. A thank you card is always a nice gesture, and sending treats with that note will have a crew smiling and wanting to work with you on projects to come.

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