Getting the Best Partner out of Your Printer

Printing isn’t just shoving a sheet of paper through a printer.

That would be too easy.  As in any industry, printing has a workflow that must be followed in order to obtain a masterpiece of a final product.  Many people don’t realize the work and detail that go into the steps and supply chains of printing; from machine maintenance to substrate coating.

Choosing a Printer

You wouldn’t choose a doctor off the street, so why would you choose a printer that way?  A great way to find a printer, whether a local shop or a corporate chain, is by word of mouth.  Online reviews can also be helpful.  A great printer will offer different substrates, press compatibility information, and sample projects so you can see what they’ve accomplished before.

Preparing the Job

Printers will consult with customers to determine the material to be used.  For labels, a high gloss finish with an eco-friendly adhesive may be the answer.  Menus for a western country restaurant may be printed on wood veneer, and gift cards for a gaming store might be printed on silver PVC.  It depends on the brand identity of the customer and the desired end result.  Having multiple material options gives customers the ability to work with printers to create the best overall look.  Printers will also work with clients to ensure that files are set up correctly, in RGB or CMYK mode depending on the file and software, plus they will check for bleeds and crops.  A good printer will also prepare proofs for the customer so that the client can see what the finished problem will look like and adjustments can be made, if necessary, before a full run is started.

The Aftermath

If a printer follows all of his guidelines correctly, printing the job should be a breeze.  There shouldn’t be any running issues with substrates, ink adhesion, or any parts of the finishing process, such as die-cutting, binding, etc.  Even after printing is complete, printers can still be of assistance.  They can help determine mailing or shipping costs, recycle unused material, and help customers to work with other vendors or businesses.