Ten Questions You Should Ask Your Printer

It takes a lot of effort to get something to print-ready stage. You’ll want to make sure that your creation is going to look good when you get it back from the printers. Knowing what to ask your printer can save you time and money, resulting in both you and your printer happy with the transaction. You’ll find good printing services will help you a lot with the technical issues.

Here’s 10 things you should always ask your printer:

What equipment are they using to print?

This is important, because it defines the printer’s capabilities. Advanced systems can work with a huge colour spectrum and are fully digital, able to work with any form of software.

Will anything be outsourced or is it all done in-house?

Subcontracting can result in extra costs to clients. In-house printing is a far more cost effective, fully integrated process.

Ask for an equipment list. Most printers will give this up readily.

From the printer’s perspective an equipment list is really a list of services. This will tell you what sort of binding they can do, for example.

What file formats will they accept?

If you’re using high quality graphics you’ll need to be absolutely sure the printer can handle things like Adobe Illustrator files, PDF, and basic Windows or Apple related software.

What is the minimum resolution required?

Resolution will translate into a dpi (dots per inch), which is an indicator of print quality. Check your software so you can make an exact comparison between the printer’s resolution and what you want.

What is the total ink limit? Ask before you convert from RGB (red, green, blue) to CYMK! (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black)

The ink limit is a colour mix ratio. A CMYK mix is 40C 40M 40Y 100K = 220. That would be fine for a print setup with a limit of 360. If the required CMYK mix is above capacity, the print won’t be an exact mix, but a reduced equivalent.

How much will it cost to mix a spot colour?

Spot mixes are formulas, and this is one of the best possible reasons for working with printer with the ability to work across a full spectrum, where mixing spots is pretty easy.

What is the general turnaround time?

This isn’t a “maybe” question. This is a business issue, and it’s critical. Turnaround time should be factored in with your quote.

What are the proofing guidelines?

Proofing guidelines are specifications. Good printers will provide a complete built in set of guidelines for print jobs, specifying file types, resolution issues, and in some cases swatch references for colours, which make the proofing process very accurate.

How much bleed is required?

This issue is particularly important in graphics business card printing and poster printing. “Bleed” refers to excess elements which extend off the margins. This may be decorative elements, text, photos, clip art, etc, which creates a need for larger sizes of medium for the printer.

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