A Trip to the Printers
Even in the era of digital marketing there are times when a web page or pdf file just doesn’t suffice as a means of delivering your marketing message and it’s then we still find ourselves going to the printers for our clients. Whether it’s a matter of preparing a new firm brochure or other sales and marketing collateral, there is something much more compelling about producing your message in tangible form and placing it directly into a prospect’s hands on nice glossy paper with a four color print process. In the last decade or so, the printing industry itself has undergone significant transformation with the proliferation of high-speed digital printers that are now available in most neighborhood copy shops. As a result, the threshold question we face on every print job today is deciding what type of printer is right for the assignment – a traditional offset or digital press? There are a few key points to keep in mind when making your choice:
- Offset printing is for larger runs, larger formats, and offers more specialized inks and more variety. The initial set up costs make offset printing impractical for a small run job; but with a large run you will actually end up paying much less per copy with offset.
- Conversely, digital printing is better for smaller jobs since there are no set up costs. This has the further advantage of allowing you to customize each page. On the downside, since there are no plates in a digital process, the finished product may not be as refined (although there continues to be a steady improvement in the quality of digital printing).
Whether you’re using a digital or offset printer, here are a few additional tips for making your print design press-ready, in order to insure you avoid costly mistakes:
- Make sure you proofread your document thoroughly before going to press;
- All unused swatches should have been deleted from the document;
- Check for all widows and awkward line breaks;
- Also be sure that all bleeds have been set up properly;
- If there are any shapes that intersect, be sure there are no hairline gaps and that all shapes are tightly constructed; and
- Check that files that have been placed into the document (eps, other file formats) are all appearing at full resolution when printed.
And finally, when you’re on press, and reviewing proofs, don’t forget:
- To check that all scores, die cuts, folds, and bleeds have been set up properly;
- And if there are specks or irregularities on any of the prints, be sure that they are only on one or two- that’s just dust- but if they are consistent, then there is something wrong with the whole run.
- Top Left: Inside the INX station at DG3
- Top Right: A mini-press with the mixed ink is used to test the ink color
- Left & Bottom Left: Pantone swatches are used in a color-correct lighting booth
- Bottom Right: A very special thanks to Mike Morin at DG3 for the press tour! Check out the final project here.
Did you know that most famous brands have their own custom ink color?