The decision to order printed material to represent your business in an effective marketing campaign is a big one with much thought and time involved. Frequently asked questions include:
- What printer should I choose?
- What should my budget be?
- How can I know that I am getting a professional product at a reasonable price?
- What kind of customer service should I expect to receive?
- What do terms such as "4 over", CMYK and proof mean?
This column is intended to introduce new entrepreneurs, as well as those who haven’t ventured into the realm of professional printers, to concepts they should know and understand when attempting to enter into a printing relationship.
Who am I?
My name is Stacie Clark, and I work for We Print Quick.com, a division of Eveready Printing. I wanted to share what I have learned with you from a Printing 101 perspecitive in the hope that my knowledge will help you advance your marketing skills as a new entrepreneur, and maybe -- just maybe -- bring you to www.weprintquick.com when you are ready to start your printing relationship.
I use the word relationship because the company you choose to handle your printing needs will be involved with your business as it grows and evolves. Choosing a printer that you can trust, one with excellent customer service and high quality product, will be very rewarding to you and your business as it grows. They will come to understand your needs as well or perhaps even better than you understand them yourself, and they will help you create high quality promotional material that will reflect on your professionalism and impact the seriousness with which consumers will evaluate your product.
Shopping for a printer:
When you are shopping for a printer, no matter how big or small your project, take time and really research the company. Search Google for feedback on product quality, consumer complaints or rave reviews. Questions to ask when selecting a printer for your marketing campaigns:
- If the printer is a division of another company, how long have they been in business?
- What is the reputation of the parent company?
- Are they open during hours that meet your needs, or do they offer service through email?
- This first step is as important as any you will take because if your printer offers a great product but no customer service, how do you resolve issues?
The BBB offers an accreditation for businesses that have a good reputation, so be sure your choice is accredited.
Learn the Lingo:
Once you make your choice, then you must learn the lingo of printing. This is where all the fun happens! You must decide:
- Your paper weight
- How much color you’d like
- Where you’d like to put the color.
You must provide artwork in the correct format, and when you get it all together, you’ll have to look at the proof before it is printed and make any necessary changes then, because afterwards it is too late.
Determining the weight you need your paper to be isn’t terribly difficult if you work with a printer who can give you advice. Basically the weight refers to how much 500 sheets of a particular paper weighs. So, smaller weights are thinner sheets, while heavier weights reflect thicker paper. This can be complicated by the standard size of the paper and whether it is coated, uncoated, satin, glossy or any number of combinations. I will discuss choosing the correct paper at another time, but if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
Color is also an issue in the printing world. Most people think in terms of RGB (red, green, blue) but printers work with CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). When sending art to your printer be sure that your files are converted to CMYK so that your color registers accurately. You should check in advance to ensure that you know what file format you need to have your graphics in as well. For example,WePrintQuick.com, accepts all types of commercial files including .pdf, .tiff, .eps and even high-resolution .jpg files , but that may not be true at every print shop. When asked what choice of color you want, the term 4 over or 4/4 might be used. This refers to the four colors (CMYK) on one side or both. To clarify, if you only want printing on one side, you might see 4/0 – four colors on one side, zero colors on the other. In contrast, 4/4 refers to 4 colors on both sides of your document.
When your order is ready to be printed, the printer will send you a “proof.” This is either an electronic or actual physical copy of what your printed item will look like. This is your final chance to make sure that everything is how you would like it to be. When you receive your proof, check the spelling, examine the placement of text, and look closely at your colors. If you see changes, now is the time to make those corrections. Be sure to communicate closely with your printer at this time to ensure that you are happy with the product you are going to receive. If everything looks good, be sure to communicate that to your printer as well, so that they know they are ready to print.
This should get you started towards a successful print marketing campaign, whether you are ordering business cards, postcards, brochures or other marketing materials.
I welcome your questions about how working with a good printer can help increase your odds of success in the business world, and encourage you to email me at Stacie@evereadyprint.com if there is anything I can help with.
About the Author: Stacie Clark is with www.WePrintQuick.com, a division of Eveready Printing.