Paper Matters Blog
A Printer’s Guide to Do’s & Don’ts
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Don’t be stubborn about paper. My printer was working with a large client who was printing a large quantity, high-end brochure. The client was insistent on using a particular stock. The printer, knowing how this piece was going to be handled and the amount of ink that would be utilized tried to persuade the client to use a paper that would give the best results. The client was dead set on their choice and went ahead as originally planned. The result was a very expensive brochure that showed stress on the paper in the folds and was a little washed out in terms of color.

Do Trust your printer. Your printer is looking to partner with you on your projects. A well-printed promotion is not only a showpiece for you but also your printer. Additionally, your success means that you are more likely to continue the relationship that you have set up with your printer.

Don’t pay for inexperienced design. One of the top ways to waste money is just assuming that anyone with a computer can design. Designing for print, in particular, seems to be a lost art. Most times, what the printer ends up with are designs that are web-ready.” Low-resolution images, RGB color palettes and files that do not account for bleed and live areas. These files look great on your monitor but may not be legible when printed. Most printers have a prepress department and they can usually help convert most of these issues. However, that service will likely add to your invoice and your budget.

Do find the right design partners that understand print design and can set up files properly. Look for a designer who knows print. Hiring a designer with past print design experience is always a plus. This will not only keep your project on schedule but save you added expense down the road.

Don’t be colorblind. One of the most common conversations we have is regarding PMS colors. A global company selected PMS coated colors for their brand documents. However, 90% of the materials printed for this company are printed on uncoated paper, which will show the color differently when a PMS coated color is specified. The solution? Select a PMS uncoated color that closely matches the brand colors. In addition, when you are printing your job using 4-color process (CMYK), your PMS colors may print differently than expected.

Do ask your printer for ink drawdowns if you are concerned about how a color will print, the drawdown is the best way to see how your certain ink colors will look on a particular paper. If you can, allow time in your schedule and funds in your budget for this. Have it included in your job quote.

Don’t be font foolish. We recently received PDF files for a project with outlined fonts and a tight deadline. The problem? They still needed to add copy to the file. Working with outlined fonts and PDF files does not give us the flexibility to make edits quickly or efficiently. This caused a delay with the project because we had to wait for the native files to be sent to us. One hour turns into two hours and before you know it, a chunk of times has passed. It may not sound like much, but digital quick turn jobs are just that…quick turn. If we waste even a few hours, then the project may be delayed.

Do take the time to correctly package your files to send to the printer. This will include all font files, logos and placed photos so that there are no mistakes when opening the design files during prepress.

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