Commercial printers produce high-quality products in a quick manner using high-efficiency machines. Many commercial printers specialize in a specific type of print. And many commercial printers offer services in addition to printing. Before working with a commercial printer, it is important to do your research about your options for the project you are looking to complete to ensure you will get the best results.
Here are five tips to be well-prepared for working with a commercial printer:
1. Explore Options
Research commercial printers that have the capabilities and services you desire. You may get a slightly better price working with an online commercial printer but working with a local or small business print company may be in your favor. Local print companies often are more convenient, provide better customer service, and offer overall better print quality. Know who you are printing with; look at reviews and past projects done by the printer.
2. Ask Questions
It is important to discuss the potential project with the commercial printer you may want to work with. During this step, you should discuss essential details, such as time frame, important dates, print capabilities, price range, and other details specific to your project. This is the time to ask any questions about the project or print process. If you do not know specific print terminology, always ask for clarification. If the representative does not sound knowledgeable or seems to be vague in explanations, that could be a red flag.
3. Clear Design Direction
If you have your own design, great! Make sure your colors, fonts, images, sizing, etc. are how you want them, and you checked for spelling and grammar. Most commercial printers offer design services for a fee. But you get the expertise of a designer that knows how to create something visually appealing. If this is the route you go, make sure to articulate your vision as clearly as possible. Provide specific design direction with colors (provide Pantone or other color references if necessary), font styles, text, images, and other pertinent details to make sure the designer has a good understanding of what you are looking for. If you have a specific vision in mind, but lack the artistic abilities, draw a rough sketch!
4. Prepare Files
If you created a file for print, preparing that artwork file is one the most important steps in the process when working with a commercial printer. All commercial printers work differently and may have specific steps or rules for preparing files. If the commercial printer has a guide, use that.
Digital files should be sized and scanned appropriately. Printers often use the terms DPI (dots per inch in a printed image) or PPI (pixels per inch in a digital image on a screen). Both refer to the same thing – image resolution. Photographs and artwork should have a resolution of 300 DPI for the best quality and never below 200 DPI. Images with lower resolution may appear blurry or distorted. And remember, taking a small image with a low resolution and making it larger with a higher resolution will not magically make it a better-quality image!
At Omega, image files are required to be Hi-Res PDF with 1/8'' bleeds and crop marks. If there is a die or spot varnish, native files are needed. All files should be ZIP and then sent via an ftp link on the website or wherever the printer collects them. Providing your commercial printer with the correct materials and files will make it more efficient for all parties involved.
5. Get a Physical Proof
How photos and graphics look digitally may differ from how they look on paper. To ensure that you are pleased with the product, have the printer create a physical proof for you. Getting a proof will let you see how the colors, sizes, and other elements look printed on the substrate you chose. You can then fix anything that does not look right or share new project details with your commercial printer. The printer should not proceed until you have given a signed approval of the proof. The printer should have a quality check process. So, in terms of quality of the print, this process should be smooth.
If you follow all these tips, you will have the tools needed to work with a commercial printer on your next print project. When you do all your preparation correctly, it makes the job easier for everyone involved.
Contact Omega High-Impact Print Solutions today, to discuss working together on your next print project!
Written by Omega High-Impact Print Solutions’ Marketing Intern, Ava Hoch.