7 Steps to Speed Up Your Print Project
by Mary Clayton, Digital Marketing Manager
Every time you touch a brochure, newsletter, or piece of mail, you’re holding something that’s honestly had hours of work put into every aspect, from the eye appealing design and writing the fantastic copy to mixing the ink, printing the piece and cutting it to its final size.
95% of us are used to hitting the printer button on our computer and magically a minute later, our printer gives us a copy of what we want. When working with a commercial printer things are quite a bit different to get the best quality and price for customers. Projects are set up and sometimes printed in multiples on huge sheets of paper and cut down to final size. Often, additions like scoring, perforating, collating, stitching and binding are then done to make an amazing finished piece. So, although it’s not as instant, it’s more polished and less expensive than printing on regular home or office equipment.
As a customer, there are plenty of ways you can make sure your project moves seamlessly through the printing process. Here are some things you can do to streamline your project:
- When you have an idea or a goal you’d like to meet, give your print company a call (psst, our number is 717-731-9456). Any good company will take the time to work with you and give you suggestions on how to make your project great!
- Think about the size of your material. Since commercial printers run a larger sized paper, you can talk about cost-effective sizing, which can save you plenty of time (and money) before designing even begins.
- The easiest way to make sure you streamline your project is by using a professional designer. Many print companies have a staff designer that knows the ins and outs of pre-production and can easily follow Artwork Guidelines. If you’re going to be designing yourself, save time and confusion by asking for a template that includes any particular areas that can not have images, like in a mailing panel or text in the bleed safety zone.
- Create a realistic timeline. It’s okay to be fluid, but it’s important not to rush any one component of the process. Get input from everyone involved on how long their portion of production takes. Make sure everyone has enough time to put their best foot forward on your piece for maximum success.
- Somewhere along the line you’ve heard the adage “fail to prepare and prepare to fail.” This rings true when you’re working on any marketing project. Keep a master contact list complete with emails and phone numbers for everyone involved.
- When placing an order, be sure to communicate the specifics of your project including your timeline. Tell your printer upfront if you have any special requests like a certain number of extras or split shipping.
- If you’re working on a piece that gets mailed, provide your mailing list as soon as possible. This gives your mailing provider time to make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date when they run it against National Change of Address (NCOA) and other mail sorting software. Every great mail provider will be able to give you changes and updates so you can improve your records.
In life, it’s impossible to plan every little thing, and often issues and additions pop up. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the smoother sailing will be during your project. The most important thing to remember is to communicate throughout the entire process! Do you have any tips for how you communicate with your printer? Let us know in a comment below!