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  • Nicole Manks

Briefing your printer

Here are my top tips on briefing your printer:

1. Timeframes The first thing you need to let your printer know if your timeframes. Whether you’re starting designs from scratch, or simply need a re-print, your deadline is a very important. The more notice you can give your printer the better. As soon as you know a project is coming up get in touch so that you can book in some ‘print time’. The tighter your timeframes the more limited your options will be for finishes and even paper stock selection.

For more complex print jobs that include special finishes, paper stocks or detailed folding you will need to allow extra time or extend your deadline. Y may need to consider simpler options with a tight deadline!

2. Budget Let your printer know if you have a set budget for your project and if there’s any flexibility in the amount you have to spend. Paper stocks, finishes, shape, colours and timeframe can affect what your final costs. It’s always a good idea to let your printer know the limitations of your budget and how flexible you are, so they can make the best recommendations for your project.

3. Quantity Be clear on the quantity of the print run you require. Depending on your project it may be more economical to print a larger quantity. Keep in mind though about the projects shelf life. Is there a chance that your contact details may change in the near future? Or is this project a time-sensitive offer or event. In these situations it’s better to consider a smaller print run that will give you enough stock but not leave you with lots of leftovers containing old or out of date information.

4. Size, Format & Colour Have a clear idea about what size and format you require. Standard size formats A4, A5 etc. are more common sizes your print supplier will have in stock, which will result in a quicker lead-time. When stock has to be cut to a non-standard size it will have an impact on how long your print job takes and the cost.

If you use specific corporate colours, let your printer know the Pantone reference numbers. Your Pantone reference numbers should be outlined in your Style/Brand Guide. If you are still trying to decide on colours, it’s a great idea to use your printers swatch books to choose ones you like as colours seen on a computer screen look very different when printed.

5. Environmental Requirements Does your company have an environmental policy in place as this may affect the materials you are able to use?

Even if you don’t you may want to consider environmental options anyway and many printers have made a commitment to providing environmental solutions.

  • Recycled Paper Recycled paper is the greenest option overall. Its production requires less energy and fewer chemicals, plus it provides a market for paper waste and encourages more recycling.

  • Inks Many printers now use vegetable-based inks as opposed to traditional petroleum-based inks. These are much more environmentally-friendly as they are made from a sustainable source.

6. Final Artwork Specifications Ask your printer how they would like the artwork to be supplied. Do they have requirements around bleeds, image resolution, embedded fonts etc. A good graphic designer will know exactly how to format artwork for printing but you will need to let them know of these requirements from your printer.

Your printer is there to help you and get the best result. Listen to any ideas they have around the print of your project. They may have upgraded technologies or other print processes available that you haven’t considered.

I find using the same printer for all my projects means that I have over the years formed a great relationship with them and now they know what I need which makes briefing much easier.

Happy printing!


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