Print is definitely not dead – despite the rise of the online world and a move towards a paperless environment, printing still maintains its place in both the business and consumer world.
The competition between printers is harsh. There are many online printing companies that will only deal with online orders. These tend to be highly competitively priced, with a fast turnaround on orders and are a great option if you know what you’re doing and have used them before, so know what the quality is like.
However, they rely on you, the buyer, supplying all the artwork, and signing off on proofs. If you are unsure about what you are doing, and don’t have the know how to create the right formats to supply to the printers, then mistakes can be made – and they will be your mistakes that can end up being costly. The more help you enlist from these companies, the more expensive it becomes.
You may be better off seeking out a good local printer who you can build a relationship with, and work closely with over a period of years if printing is an important part of your overall business.
We have created a checklist of what you need to look out for when selecting that printer. The more you know from the outset, the better informed your final decision.
Ask to see previous examples of their work
Understanding the quality of the work printer is capable of is a crucial element in your decision. Ask to see past examples of their work. Don’t just accept emailed PDFs – ask them to mail to you actual examples of the work they have completed, brochures, leaflets, different types of printing so that you can have a look and tangible feel of their finished quality.
Does the work they have done in the past match up with your own visions and values? Can you see your own brand in the work they have done? The more that they know about you, and that you know about them, the better the synergy.
Do they have a good repertoire of printing options
Can they be versatile and flexible in terms of the type of printing product they offer. Most printers will do standard leaflets and brochures, but there is a lot of more commercial printing that requires the attention of more experienced and established printers. Packaging, miniature leaflets, textiles, signage… if you know that you have a need either now or in the future, make sure that they are up to the job!
Don’t be afraid of asking them questions – it is crucial that you understand what the processes are and how the printer is going to help you and your business. If there is confusion, this will lead to mistakes. Clarity is key.
Are they integrating green processes
Contrary to what you may have heard, the paper industry actually contributes to the regeneration of forests. Recycled paper can be re-used up to to seven times, and the industry as a whole invests in reforestation to ensure that there is a continued supply of paper products well into the future. Make sure that your potential printing partner is proud of its green and sustainability policies and that they match with your own values.
Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions
Printing is a highly specialised, high technical business. Those who work in the industry tend to stay in the industry, and build up an extensive array of experience and knowledge. As in any industry, if you are working in it every day, you tend to take it for granted that every one else speaks the same language. They don’t, and neither do you.
And finally…. Price
When getting quotes for a job from different printers, it may be tempting to go for the cheapest. However, beware! The cheapest might be fraught with problems in the long term. Often a cheaper price is indicative of inferior quality. For some jobs lesser quality may not be an issue – for example if the project is for a simple mailout and you are looking at quantity rather than quality.
However, there are projects – such as a corporate brochure – where the quality is important because it is reflecting your brand and your company. A cheaper printing job may save you a few pennies in the short term. But long term it might cost you in potential new business.
Make sure that you always get examples of their work to ensure that the finished product matches your reasonable expectations.