Not everyone can have a high-quality printer in their office. If you do a lot of print work that you outsource, there are many considerations that need to be addressed in the design stage. The staff at Creative Bloq outlines the top 10 questions to ask your printing company (hopefully SmithBates!) when you’re finalizing a printed project.
1. What are my printing choices?
Ask your printer which process is best for you. Quantities will often determine whether the job should be digital or offset, so find out how it will be printed. Work with the printer to find the best option for your budget.
2. What’s the creep and bleed?
If you’re printing a brochure or book, you should always check if you need to allow for creep. This can take a long time to adjust for pre-designed work. Bleed should always be checked whatever the job; .125” is a standard safety net.
3. What about paper stock?
You might know what you want already, but if you give your printer an idea of the finish you’re after, they will be able to advise on stocks, how the ink handles on them, the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly options.
4. Should I mark it up?
We like to mark up artwork with the specs and the colors printed, and any guides, just so everyone knows what’s going on. If providing the artwork in InDesign, set the guides up in a single spot color and call it “GUIDES ONLY – DO NOT PRINT.”
5. And what size?
If you can be flexible, it’s always worth speaking about the size you want your piece to be. Quite often, a difference of a fraction of an inch can mean you can plan more pages up per sheet and have a much more economical print.
6. What are your supply requirements?
Find out if there are any specific color profiles you should be working to and make sure nothing is set to overprint unless it’s meant to be. It’s worth checking whether the printer wants the fonts outlined or packaged up and sent with the artwork, as well.
7. Can I use folds or unusual formats?
Your printer will also be able to advise on any unusual folds or die-cuts. Different printers might want artwork adjusted to allow for folding, so go through how you want your final piece to look and they will figure out how to do it.
8. Can I see a proof?
Crazy things can happen when work goes to print, so even if it’s just a PDF proof, make sure you see something.
9. How fast can you do it?
Determine when you need the finished items and where you want them delivered. Your printer will then be able to work backwards from that time and give you a deadline for the artwork. It’s always best to do this sooner rather than later in a project.
10. Can I call you at any time?
Check in with your printer on a regular basis. If there is a problem, your printer should get in touch, but it’s always good to call up and hear that everything is running nicely and delivery will be on time. If you’re aware of everything at every stage, it can’t go wrong.
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