PRINTING 101

The decision to order printed material to represent your business is a big one with much thought and time involved.  What printer should I choose?  What should my budget be?  How can I know that I am getting 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.

 

My name is Lisa Blevins, My expertise is in Marketing and Advertising. I currently work for WePrintQuick.com, a division of Eveready Printing. I am new to the printing industry and in the last few months I have enjoyed a crash course in Printing 101.  I have gone from knowing very little about the printing world to being able to function at a reasonable level. I wanted to share what I have learned with you in the hope that my knowledge will help you advance your marketing skills as a new entrepreneur, and maybe — just maybe — bring you to 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 products; 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 products.

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.  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?  Or if others have received bad product and have written about it, perhaps you shouldn’t assume you’re going to get great product.  The BBB offers an accreditation for businesses that have a good reputation, so be sure your choice is accredited. 

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 and where you’d like to put it.  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 like Eveready Printing Inc., / WePrintQuick.Com can help build a reputable company image and boost sales. We are a full service commercial printer that has been supplying quality products and services since 1919. We offer offset and digital printing, variable data and personalization services, a complete in house bindery, mailing and fulfillment services and wide format printing. We are constantly expanding our list of capabilities and services. We are a family owned and operated company, big enough to handle the most demanding jobs yet small enough to care about each and every job we produce.

Anything I can do to help increase your odds of success in the business world, I encourage you to email me at Lisa@weprintquick.com and I would be happy to assist you.

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About WePrintQuick: Print Marketing
Marketing Manager for a Commercial Printing Company.

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