Edinburgh Web Development

Briefing a printer

by Iain Wilson

27 April 2006

If you need to get documents printed at all, here's a great article given to us by our friends at George Nicol Graphics (0131 332 0449), on the important things to tell your printer.

Most reliable printers really do want you to be a totally satisfied customer, but to be fair they sometimes get the vaguest of enquiries and still have to give an accurate quote. It can sometimes end up in a disaster. Here are some guide-lines for you to get the best and most accurate quotes.

Make a detailed list of all your requirements e.g:-

  • Whether photos need to be scanned or will you supply high resolution scans.
  • Will you be able to supply all artwork on disk with everything in place, correctly formatted and created in a programme that printers accept.
  • Give exact document trim size and number of pages - 4pp of A4 etc.
  • Print quantity and costs for run on if required.
  • If you only require a small quantity (1-1,000) consider using a digital print company as they are far more economical on short runs.
  • Material - colour/stock/weight - try recycled materials which are far superior now and used by many major companies.
  • How many colours.
  • Printed 1 side or both sides.
  • Scored, folded, collated & stitched.
  • Any special finishes required - gold foil, special cutter, laminated etc.
  • Delivery (where & when) etc.

Then speak to your current supplier or get someone to recommend a reliable printer to you. Go through this list with the print company asking them for their recommendations for this particular project.

Once you have all this information, make a detailed spec and send this to at least 3 reliable, quality print companies, making sure that each gets exactly the same spec. You will then receive your 3 quotes and it's simple enough to choose the most competitive.

Be sure to check they have specified everything that you asked for.

Also make sure you find out what their turnaround will be, especially if you're after an exceptionally fast delivery.

If you are in any doubt about any of the technical points make sure to clarify these with your printer and discuss the project further.

If you have a tight budget ask them if there are any options for keeping costs down.

Make sure to ask for a high resolution proof to be included in the price so that you can approve an exact copy of your project before it goes to press - don't be talked out of this because of the time factor or that it will cost extra, as it's crucial if you want to avoid a print disaster!

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