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Printer tips & cost saving techniques





Printer Tips

Press Related


Ganging your jobs will save you money.


Do not wait until the last crucial moment to have your project printed.


Allow your projects ample drying time. Inks will only dry so fast and offset will occur if your printer is forced to cut and trim your project before the inks are thoroughly dry.


Printers schedule press time according to their clients' needs. Don't open yourself up to rush charges by waiting until the last minute to get your project started.

If your printer has to pull off another clients' work, to rush your project through, YOU WILL incur additional expense.


Print the "same color projects" at the same time in order to lessen the wash-up charges you will incur for the press.


Combine corporate packages to print at the same time. If you are in need of letterhead, envelopes and business cards - you could print them altogether. By printing each on a larger press sheet, you would save on press time charges, wash-up charges, stock and plates used.


Stock that needs to be printed on, after being delivered from a cold delivery van, makes for a slower completion.


Back to Contents

Ink Related


One of the major expenses in the cost of printing is the number of colors you use.


1-Color printing is acceptable for some things, but 2-color printing is usually the norm.


The use of a second color, will increase, your printing price. Sometimes, up to double the expense.


Spot color printing is more cost effective than four color process printing.


Four color process printing is not necessary unless you have full-color photograph reproduction.


It is possible to mix 2 or more spot colors which will result in additional colors, without additional expense.


Most print houses have standard ink colors. Using these standard colors will prevent additional expenses from being incurred.


Your colors should be prepared with trapping, if colors overlap in the piece. This will prevent "white areas" where there should actually be color.


DO NOT use spot colors with CMYK (four color process) colors. This will incur additional expenses for you when the printer needs to fix your files before outputting to film.


In some cases, to eliminate the need for metal plates, you should AVOID using massive coverage of one ink color.


AVOID bleeding your colors off the edge of a sheet. This will be more cost-effective when your piece does not need to be "trimmed to size."


Do Not Assume!


DO NOT assume that all printers have your best interests at heart.


DO NOT assume, the printer will fix your mistakes for free.


DO NOT assume, your expectations are detected by the printer. You must convey your ideas to your printer!


DO NOT assume a printer will accept expenses for your typography mistakes.


DO NOT assume, a printer will follow this quotation price, if you make multiple changes before your project actually gets to the press.

Why Not........Printers' quotations are a reflection of your "request for a project price" - and are based on the information you have supplied them.

IF you have not given the printer an accurate picture of your project, then it stands to reason, they were not going to be accurate in their quoting process.

During interviews with prospective clients, I have experienced many complaints concerning their invoices not reflecting the "original quote" price they received. Most times, this was a direct result of the client themselves, not relaying a "true picture" of what the project entailed.


If possible, always supply the printer with a pre-printed sample of your previous run for accurate quoting.


DO NOT assume the printer will automatically run your work. Always call in advance, even if you print weekly.


DO NOT assume a printer has the ability to print everything. If you need presentation folders, perhaps you need to inquire with a Specialty House?


DO NOT assume the printer will tell you they don't print specialty items. Many printers will take your order and out source it to another supplier. Mark up the project when it is completed and send you a billing which is much higher than it would have been, if you utilized the proper channels.


If you're a print buyer, make yourself knowledgeable in all phases of the industry. DO NOT assume someone else will make you aware!


Bindery Related


Avoid difficult folding techniques.


Saddle-stitching is not necessary on newsletters, pamphlets or brochures if you intend on using an envelope to mail it.


Considering hand-folding your own materials.


An advertising agency will send us their old sheets, letterhead or miscellaneous stock. We will cut it down, pad it, and send them notepads which can be acquired for mere pennies!


Stock Related


Mill items take longer to be delivered to your printer.


Consider using coated stock, versus more colors, to bring a piece to life.


Before wanting a specific stock - ask your printer if there are any leftover shelf stocks which can be used instead. This saves cash!


Special stock should be ordered ahead of time. Give yourself plenty of time to be prepared.


Pre-Press Related


Save dollars and supply your own text.


You are not required to let the printer output your films for you.


You can save when you supply your project films.


You can utilize a Service Center for all your pre-press needs.


If you know the press your printer will use, supply your ready plates.


Do not color separate a two-color spot job that has no tight registration. Your printer will be able to "mask off" the color seps during the stripping process.


Remember, whether you supply your films, or the printer shoots them, they belong to you once you've paid for the completed project.


When changing printers, make certain your old films are sent to the new printer. This will save on unnecessary reproduction of these films.


Save yourself the aggravation and check with your printer to see what software program(s) they support.

Providing your printer with a four color process piece done in Publisher, will definitely add to your costs of having it prepared for better output. (Publisher does not handle four color process photograph separations properly.)


Customer Proofing


Colored printers will not give you a 100% accurate color proof.


Request your printer to send you a 3M Rainbow (Dye Sublimation Proof) when you are in need of viewing a 99% accurate color proof.


Should you fear that your colors or layout are incorrect.....ask your printer for a short pre-run of your project. While this will incur additional expense at the beginning - it will save you expenses in the long-run should you be correct.


Signing your final proof is acceptance of the proof provided - and that you are in agreement to continue to the final phase of printing.


NEVER sign the proof unless you're ready to go to press. Signing the proof makes you responsible for payment.


Miscellaneous Strategies


Save additional funds on typesetting by doing the design work yourself.


Hire a professional to design all your advertising materials.


Hire an employee with typography experience, to save the $60-$125 per hour charged by most printers and designers.


Avoid the need for "tight registration" in your projects and save!


Give yourself more leverage during the quoting process by telling each printer - you are going to several others for a quote and you will be going with the lowest price.

Printers most likely will "underbid" their normal markup, to insure they stand a chance to get your job.


If you run flyer projects constantly, why not "gang" up on these projects to save yourself the extra cost involved with the wash-up of inks?


Have the printer "break down" the price of their quote. It will give you bargaining power if prices aren't matching other quotes you have received.


DO NOT use a slide program to prepare a brochure that needs color breaks.


If the printer has ample time to complete your job, he will be much happier - and you will be happier when the invoice arrives.


Additional Problems Encountered

60. Clients will use bitmapped images instead of vector graphics.
Example: Vector graphics can be enlarged or reduced in size without losing their consistency, while bitmapped images will tend to show "jagged" edges.

61. Clients will supply disks using the wrong format.
Example: Supplying a flyer that was produced in a slide presentation program and expect miracles to happen when the printer needs to output the project to film.

Example: Using a publishing program that does not separate colors properly. Sure, it may look great on your screen - but it doesn't output in the Commercial Printing Industry!

62. Clients will supply camera ready artwork with screens or gradient colors.
Example: A gradient in color means you start with 100% of a specific color and using a gradual decrease or tint of the color, the final "end" color becomes white. Clients fail to understand - we can not make our camera do tricks. Anything with a screen tint, will not be picked up during the "shooting" process. Gradient colors, screens or tints will need metal plates - and therefore need to be output to film. DO NOT supply them as camera ready artwork.

63. Clients will supply camera ready artwork with 256 grayscale images.
See Explanation #62 above.

64. Clients mistake "full color" as anything with color in it.
Example: Clients think anything with color is naturally "full color," or four color process. When receiving a quote for such a piece, the client will be flabbergasted with a high price. Printers assume the client knows what "full color" means and therefore will quote a four color process, when in fact, all the client wants is one color. Be certain of everything your project will entail so your quotation request is accurate.

65. Clients supply camera ready copy that hasn't been properly proofed.
Example: If you're going to supply your own films - then be certain to check it for errors. Incidentally, proofing should be done BEFORE it gets output to film!

I had a client who used as many of the cost effective tips we mentioned above - with one major fallacy. They didn't carefully proof it for spelling errors before they had it output to four color films and a Matchprint. This mistake cost them a pretty penny - considering we found 17 spelling errors in the entire piece, including the clients' own address and phone number!

Make certain this doesn't happen to you with your next printing project. Make yourself knowledgeable in the print buying process - and smile all the way to the bank!


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