Buying print can be a bit of a minefield as it is an industry riddled with technical jargon and most printing companies don’t bother to explain things in simple plain English. However, if you are aware of the main pitfalls then you can ensure you are well informed when placing your print order as you will have mitigated all the risks.
In this article we go through the Top 5 Problems When Buying Print and show you how to mitigate the risk of things going wrong with your print job. Armed with this information, you will be able to have an informed conversation with your printer and maximise the chance of getting your print job to look exactly how you imagined it to.
Problem 1: Bad Colour Matching – most people who have been buying print for a while will have come across this issue. Those amazing colours that looked so good on your computer screen are now a dull representation on paper or, worse still, the colour is completely wrong.
This can happen for a variety of reasons but one of the main ones is that screens are calibrated to represent colour differently to how printing presses produce them. Therefore, there will always be a difference but if you can ensure your print-ready PDF has the colours as either CMYK or Pantone (as opposed to RBG) then your printer will know exactly what colours you need and there is no excuse for them to not reproduce them as accurately as possible.
Problem 2: Incorrect Artwork Format – when you submit your artwork to your printer it must be as a print-ready PDF with bleed, crop marks and all fonts converted to outlines. If you don’t have these three basic elements in place there is a high chance of your print job going wrong.
A lot of the time, people send their artwork to the printer as a Word, Powerpoint or Publisher document if you are using MS Office. Alternatively, they may send it as an Illustrator or Photoshop format. All of these are not ideal and may lead to things getting lost in translation.
Problem 3: Choosing The Wrong Paper – the paper you choose can go a long way to determine how your print job looks when it comes off the press. As it is quite subjective, there isn’t a definitive right or wrong answer but the following guidelines will broadly help you in choosing the right type of paper.
If you have highly detailed colourful images then you should opt for a high gloss paper as that will really make the colours stand out and make the images look very vivid.
If you have a lot of text in your artwork (e.g. a newsletter) then a silk stock will be best as it has that smooth silky feel but without the problem gloss stock has of being hard to read under bright lights.
Another category of paper is uncoated which doesn’t have the silky or glossy feel of the above but some things actually look better when printed on this stock as it has more of a rustic feel. Items such as orders of service, invites and menus tend to look quite good on this type of stock.
Problem 4: Lack Of Proofing – there is a saying amongst carpenters that always “measure twice, cut once” in order to avoid errors. The same is true with printing – we all read things in a different way so try to get as many different pairs of eyes on your artwork before sending it to the printers. Even better, get your printer to send you a printed proof and then get as many people to check it. This may seem time-consuming but it is quicker (and cheaper) than having to reprint the job due to an embarrassing spelling error or something that has been put in the artwork by mistake.
Problem 5: Unexpected Delays – most printers can turn around jobs quite quickly these days and some jobs can even be done on the same day. However, if you want to save cost and avoid undue stress, it is best to send your job to your printer at least seven working days before you need it. This will allow them to litho print your job which is higher quality and more cost-effective for higher quantities. If you do need your print job in a hurry then check with your printer if they provide a digital print service as this is much quicker but can be more expensive for the larger quantities.
If you print enough jobs then you are bound to come across occasions when something goes wrong as there are so many moving parts to the process. However, if you follow our guidelines as outlined above then you will make sure you increase the chances of getting a high quality print job that is within your budget and delivered on time.