Tired of high printing costs? Here are some tips of the trade to avoid the pit falls of the printing industry.

The land of print can be difficult to navigate and very costly too. Below are some hints and tips about the printing industry and how you can save money for your business.

Bulk printing can save you money, but what are the downfalls?

If you have a mid-to-large sized company, you may have considered bulk printing for cost efficiency – this means printing more stock than you need and storing it in a warehouse.

The positives of doing this is that you will save money on printing costs, while ensuring colour consistency and a quicker turnaround time.

The negatives of doing this is that you will have to guesstimate your future usage. The problem with this method is that your overstock print will sit around a warehouse, which can warp the paper and render it unusable. Unfortunately, there is a shelf life for paper.

Also keep in mind you will have to pay for storage and will need to have a plan on how to manage this going forward. You may need to implement a print content management system to manage the usage, waste and re-ordering.

Should I print offset or digital? What’s the difference?

Offset printing involves plates being made, which is an additional cost to your print run. You might not know this, but printing plates are thin, flat sheets of metal that are used in printing products like business cards, catalogues, and brochures.  Offset does pose its advantages of cost efficiency, the larger the run the cheaper it will be. When it comes to brand control offset print ensures a better finished product and colour consistency for your brand – this includes paper stock, finishing and ink.

Remember, you cannot guarantee colour consistency from one digital print company to the next – they will all be different. This is because they use different printing machines that have very different processes of laying down the ink on the paper. This process changes how the colour will appear.

If you need a short print run, then a digital print will be your best bet. However, keep in mind that it will cost you more for a short/small run. My suggestion, to ensure a closer colour consistency, is to give your printer something physical to colour match to (a brochure or a flyer). They can try to print as closely as possible to something you have printed previously.

So, you want that custom cut business card…

If you have a funky die cut or a custom finish business card this will bare an additional price tag.  The things you need to consider are your brand’s look and feel. Is this something you really need and can afford the print costs in the long run?

Custom prints are great for that standout brand; however, these types of print runs are offset which does hold a considerable turnaround time. So, if you’re willing to wait and have the cash to spend then a custom look is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

What to look out for when printing:

THINK! Think about colours, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, K=Black – CMYK are the four printing inks that you will pay for every time the printer lays down ink on the paper. The printing company will pay for each toner cartridge, paper cost, and their operational costs. So, remember this when you’re weighing up your printing costs – this is the reason why your printing quotes vary.

Keeping that in mind, here are some tips below to keep your printing costs down:

  • Ensure your black is 100 per cent black. What seems like black can actually be a combination of all four inks. It will seem like its black but be aware because you will be paying for all four inks!
  • Check for SPOT or UV colours– Try and ensure you have your colours in CMYK, otherwise you will be charged more for spot and pantone matching system (pms) colours. There are positives and negatives to using these colour palettes, so be well informed before going ahead. Ask your printer for the cost breakdowns before proceeding with your print job.
  • Check your paper stock– Sometimes going down a GSM of paper can save you money. Don’t be afraid to ask your printer and get a new print estimate.
  • Avoid cheap online printers– Online printers will not offer you the best quality print because after all, you are getting what you paid for, a cheap print run. There won’t be that artwork check for you also. You will get back whatever you sent them.
  • Cheap banners– You will most likely end up with a cheap banner that breaks, go for the middle ground price point to ensure decent quality.
  • Digital– Do you need to print? Can you use a digital letterhead as opposed to a printed one? With a digital letterhead you can update/change and rebrand without the costs associated with reprinting the collateral and it is more sustainable.
  • Have your artwork print ready– To avoid delays and additional costs, ensure your artwork is print ready to the printer’s specifications. Ensure your graphic designer has all the specs they need before they start the creative process.
  • Quote around– Always try and get at least three printing quotes before making your decision.

While printing can make your brand stand out, it’s always best to get the right advice first from a professional – or it could stand out for the wrong reasons. Focused Marketing has the print, marketing and design expertise you need to navigate the complex world of printing. We can help guide you in the right direction without taking a toll on your budget. There are print and promotional solutions out there for every size business and we can help you to get exactly what you need, when you need it.

by Niki Contese, Graphic Designer