When you decide to buy printing, it’s usually important – because you need to promote sales, or the item is essential to delivering your product or service. Knowing how to get the best print outcome is vital, but navigating the options can be a minefield. Often we seem to be comparing apples with oranges, and ending up buying a pear.
Today I highlight three key areas which should give you a head-start for more useful and timely conversations with your print supplier.
Be prepared at the beginning and you should have a lot more choices than you think.
Boo Boo 1 Leaving it to the last minute
If you have an actual deadline (you’re running an event, launching a product, have a new member of staff coming on board), make this clear to all participants in the project, and flag what you’re planning to your print supplier immediately. Some suppliers have fixed lead times regardless of your requirement, while others are flexible. Lead times can be affected by the quantity, style of print, paper stock and special finishing or binding – and if you’re supplying your own artwork, whether the file is ready to print when it arrives. Some jobs may be produced literally while you wait, while others may take several days or even weeks. If you leave your run too late, you may limit your choice of product, and pay more than you should.
Boo Boo 2 Buying too many – or too few
As most people know, if you print more, you will usually pay less per piece, which sounds like a great way to save money. However, studies show that around 30% of what’s printed goes to waste. So it’s important to make an accurate estimate of what you require. Be conservative. Think about the life of the document, and print only what you really need. The less you waste, the more you save. Aim to have no waste ( “doh!” ). Digital print now makes it possible to print exactly the quantity you require for a particular task or promotional period, and it allows you to print small additional runs economically.
Boo Boo 3 Assuming the products everyone else buys are best for you
There is a range of standard print sizes, formats and common paper stocks. Many printers, particularly online only suppliers, limit their offering to these standard specifications. Or they may be willing to customise, but will charge substantially more. Don’t assume all suppliers are the same. Always ask what’s possible. Using standard sizing allows for efficient utilisation of paper, and matching to standard envelopes and packaging. However, there are also good marketing arguments for using custom shapes and sizing – you’re much more likely to stand out from the crowd. A flexible supplier will work with you to create products that get attention to make you more money, without necessarily costing more.