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Tips on Printing – From choosing a printer to reviewing the proof

Posted on May 20, 2009

Post written by Cristy Wiza.

“The design is done, now what do I do?”

If it’s a printed piece, the answer is to find a printer. As designers, we work with printers on a regular basis so we know how the process goes. What specifications to include, how to look at a proof, what questions to ask. But as a professional in a different field, it would be difficult to guess what to look for when choosing or working with a printer. So we are going to let you — Yes, YOU! — behind the curtain, share some of the knowledge we’ve acquired over the years (not too many years, since we are all 29 years or younger… just don’t look at our driver’s license). Before choosing a printer, please review our top five tips we’ve put together about the printing process.

  1. Shop around.
    Not all printers have the same capabilities or level of quality, and much of the time you will get what you pay for. However not every project demands an expensive, higher-end printer either. Higher-end printers can offer more color accuracy and unique techniques such as die cutting, but if the project doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles, a less expensive printer will do just fine. Get quotes from more than one printer, if possible.
  2. Turn-around time.
    Some printers can complete a simple project in a few days while other printers have a standard 2-week turn-around time (depending on the project’s complexity and quantity). If you need the piece printed ASAP, or if the time frame is not urgent, discuss this with the printer. This could be a factor in the price and even the printer that you choose.
  3. Verify correct colors by consulting with printer.
    A screen proof looks different than a printed piece, and every printer prints differently. Consult with the printer to make sure the colors are accurate. For critical colors, many printers will allow you to be on press when the piece is printed so you can adjust colors to be exact.
  4. Request that both You (the client) and the designer see a proof.
    You know your product and the designer knows design. Both will be able to see things the other might miss. There have been numerous times that one or the other finds an error. You can never proof a piece too many times.
  5. Read EVERYTHING on the proof.
    This is the last chance to make changes before it is on press. Sometimes information can get moved or lost in the transfer of files, so never assume the content is correct. Verify content with the last PDF or mockup from the designer, everything from images to the fine print. It is cheaper to get another proof than it is to reprint the entire job.

These are just a few of the many things we’re learned while working with printers. We hope it helps make the process a little less painful because knowledge really is power. And if you have any questions, please ask us! At Moxie, we are here to serve our clients, to help YOU SUCCEED!

www.thinkmoxie.com


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