Article by Cath Phillips – 19th July 2017
I began my career in the printing industry a number of years ago, stumbling upon my first job as a proof reader’s assistant at my local newspaper. I could wax lyrical about my time there, the smell of the ink wafting through the office, the sound of the big printing presses in action…but I’m getting side-tracked, I’ll save that trip down memory lane for another time!
Now, as a print buyer at Advanced Direct Mail, my love for printing has got even stronger. In a mailing house it can often be all about the service and postage, so I see myself as the champion for all things print, quietly (well, actually loudly I imagine my colleagues would say) waving my print flag.
With Summer in full swing, as unbelievable as it sounds, our clients are starting to think about Christmas (I know, incredible to be talking about December whilst slathering on the sun cream!). But, planning for the yuletide season so far ahead really does make sense. It gives you the luxury of time; to design, edit, adjust and print your Christmas brochures before your postage deadline. As you can imagine this is a busy time for me, so I thought before I became completely surrounded by paper and ink, I’d share a few tips on what you should consider when buying print, and how I can help:
Get Help From The Beginning
For the first time in about 4 years, the price of paper has increased (by about 8-10%). Many things have been blamed for this increase, including Brexit and Donald Trump, though quite what he has to do with it I don’t know…but whatever the reason, it’s now more important than ever that mistakes in the design process are kept to a minimum.
This means getting help from the beginning. So, as soon as you start to plan your new project, give me a call! I can offer printing advice that may help shape your project. Whether that’s paper choice, weight or pagination, getting it right from the get-go goes a long way to helping keep costs down and projects on time.
Believe me, there is nothing worse than having your designer produce a catalogue, only to discover that the size is slightly too big for the envelope or that the weight just exceeds the postage band.
My biggest enemy, especially during busy periods, is scheduling. Those immortal words – “We are running late on artwork, can you give me a little more time?” keep me up at night. Always try to create reasonable time lines and give yourself a couple of days’ leeway for delays on the artwork side. Especially with larger printers, timing is everything and they normally schedule their jobs hour by hour. If you lose your slot you may have to wait awhile to get another one, which would throw a spanner in the works if you are working to a tight schedule.
It helps to have a clear specification for your project; size, pagination, finish and weight. This then allows us to make sure we are getting you the best printing options and prices possible. We also have a great calculator where you can pop in page weights and sizes, and it will work out the final weight, giving you an exact calculation for your prospective costs.
However, don’t worry if you are unsure of what you want, we can advise on that too. For example, paper weighting: the countless times I have seen a gorgeous catalogue spoilt because the cover stock is too heavy and needs to be creased before folding. Give me a chance to get in there first and that won’t happen. Promise.
Right, I’ve bent your ear enough for one day! Stay tuned for part 2, where I will be discussing all things paper (my absolute favourite topic) and the importance of picking the right printer. But in the meantime, if you want to have a chat with me about any of your printing requirements, please do give me a call on 01384 215790.
Want to chat about your printing requirements?
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