Make the time to ask the right questions and to get the right answers for your project. The right printing team can save you time, money and frustration. Here are some of the questions to ask:
- Does the printer have the capabilities you need? For special projects, it’s a good idea to ask for samples of completed projects similar to yours. Carefully explain the materials you need and the outcome you desire. For rolling out a full campaign, find out if the printer has the capabilities to deliver all the pieces, e.g. ID tags, promo pieces, brochures, signs, banners, point-of-purchase displays, etc. It’s most convenient to have one printer for all elements of your project. For large volume, be sure the company is capable of producing and delivering your order on time as promised. Matching your needs with the printer’s abilities is essential for success.
- What is your printer’s core competency? A printer’s reputation is often based in part on excellence or skill in a specific area of printing. For instance, a printer may be well known for finishing, for bindings, for apparel screen-printing, or for embossing. Ask for samples of the printer’s work product. When embarking on unusual projects, choosing an experienced specialist may be the best idea and may eliminate expensive trial and error.
- Does the printer know the pro’s and con’s of his programs? Not every program can do everything. It is important to understand which process or program you will be using and why. Setting realistic expectations is the cornerstone to completing projects successfully.
- Will the printer provide guidance and support? From initial design to final product and distribution, the printer you choose should be available to advise you. For example, from the start, collaborate on how to create the most impactful lay-out, photos and fonts. Together you can determine the best effect and clearest communication for your message. Select a printer who is available to you, provides insightful suggestions, manages your costs, and offers free consultation.
- Will the printer meet your timetable/schedule? No matter how ideal a printer may seem, if he cannot deliver your project on time and on budget, and if you feel that he’s “squeezing you in,” find another one. There’s no need for you to be stressed because your work is not delivered as promised.
- What are the costs/discounts for large projects with multiple pieces? In collaboration with the printer, write down the elements of your project and the costs at each point. Consider ways to cut some costs, without cutting quality.
Given all these considerations, build a relationship based on mutual trust and collaboration. The right printer for your project is someone who shares your vision and works with you to translate that vision to your target audience.