When you buy printing, it’s usually important. Most print collateral is vital either to promote sales, or an essential part of delivering your product or service. Making informed choices is really important, but navigating the options can be a minefield.
Often we seem to be comparing apples with oranges, and ending up buying a pear. Today I highlight three key areas which should give you a head start to more productive and timely conversations with your print supplier. If you’re prepared at the beginning you should have a lot more choices than you expected, and you’ll minimise stress and waste.
Mistake # 1
Leaving it to the last minute
If you have an actual deadline (maybe you’re running an event, launching a product, have a new member of staff coming on board, or you’re just getting low on a mission critical
item), make this clear to all participants in the project, and flag to your print supplier from the start what you’re planning. Some suppliers have fixed lead times regardless of your requirement, while others are flexible.
Lead times can be affected by the quantity, style of print, paper stock and special finishing or binding – and if you’re supplying your own artwork, whether the file is ready to print when it arrives. Some jobs may be produced literally while you wait, while others may take several days or even weeks. If you leave your run too late, you may limit your choice of product, and pay more than you should.
Mistake # 2
Buying too many – or too few
As most people know, if you print more, you will usually pay less per piece, which sounds like a great way to save money. However, studies show that around 30% of what’s printed goes to waste. So it’s important to make an accurate estimate of what you require. Generally it pays to be conservative.
Think about the life of the document, and print about what you really need. The less you waste, the more you save. Aim to have no waste (doh!). Digital print now makes it possible to print exactly the quantity you require for a particular task or promotional period, and it also allows you to print small additional runs economically.
Mistake # 3
Assuming the products everyone else buys are best for you
There is a range of standard print sizes, formats and common paper stocks. Many printers, particularly online only suppliers, limit their offering to these standard specifications. Or they may be willing to customise, but will charge substantially more. Don’t assume all suppliers are the same. Always ask what’s possible.
Using standard sizing allows for efficient utilisation of paper, and matching to standard envelopes and packaging. However, there are often good marketing arguments for using custom shapes and sizing. You’re much more likely to get attention with an unusual size, shape or design. A flexible supplier will work with you to create products that have maximum impact, without necessarily costing more.