- Contact Us First
If you're starting a job you know will need to be printed, it's a good
idea to contact us before you even begin to design the artwork. We can
help you make the best decisions on formatting, typestyles, colors and
paper to fit your needs and budget. If you're not sure what you're in
for ahead of time we can help you by providing samples or consultations
which can save you time and money in the long run on costly redesigns
or unexpected surprises. We can help prevent this by working to find
creative solutions to your specific requirements.
- Design Carefully and Follow Submission Guidelines
Artwork needs to be Camera-Ready before it can be printed. A digital art file on disk is not necessarily
camera-ready, so make sure when you're making your initial contact with
us to ask what we need before we can print from your art. A good rule
of thumb is to make sure that everything is included, such as fonts,
graphics and type specifications. And you can always use our file
submission page to send your work, which requires you to check off
each requirement as a reminder before your work can be sent.
- Make Use of Clip Art
Photograph printing can yield unpredictable results depending on the
quality of the source photo, and in the case of digital art the digitizing
process can drastically alter a photo's ability to be properly reproduced.
Clip art or library illustrations are abundant, cheap and print consistently
so you can be assured of good quality.
- Avoid Using Bleeds
Bleeds can be very attractive to
the eye, but hard on a budget. Designing a bleed can raise printing
costs by requiring different papers and increasing production time requirements.
Make sure if you're using a bleed it is strictly required and you allow
room in your time schedule and budget to accommodate it.
- Don't Underestimate Black and White Printing
Many people overlook black and white printing as an option because they
feel they can't achieve professional or elegant results without color.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Many designs can be strikingly
attractive when printed in high quality black and white, especially
invitations for formal events (there's a reason formal wear is often
black and white).
- Consider Screens
Additional colors can raise project costs and increase turnover times.
Instead of a second or third color, applying a screen to just one or two colors can make your work look as though it had several
more colors. As an example, a one-color flyer with a royal blue could
have a title screened back to make it closer to a sky blue. Effects
with this technique can be dramatic, but there are instances where screening
can lead to illegible pieces. Typically bolder types take screening
better, but be sure to contact us if you'd like to take advantage of
- Use Pre-Printed Shells
Many jobs can benefit from creating shells.
For example, a two-color letterhead could use a master to print a logo
and address in one color. The press operator can then go back and imprint
selected information such as names and phone numbers in another color.
Shells may or may not save money, depending on the job size, but they
can definitely help with hundreds of copies of business cards or letterheads.
Shells are also useful when designing a base for companies using similar
letterheads for multiple locations or employees.
- Remember Postage Breaks
Before you design your art, consider the method of delivery, and call
us if you want help determining the best way to distribute through the
mail. Self-mailers (pieces that don't require envelopes) require certain
tabbing for ideal cost-effectiveness. Most of the requirements are related
to machinability and readability, and you can get a complete listing
of these from your local post office. Ask for the Direct
- Group Jobs and Order in Quantity
Many companies order envelopes, business cards and letterheads using
the same colors, paper types and similar artwork. But often these jobs
are ordered separately or in small quantities. Printing similar jobs
together saves money on ink washes. Likewise, press operators usually
suggest printing more copies less often rather than the other way around.
The reason is that printing has fixed costs, such as press wear, operator
time, and ink changes. It's trivial to run a few hundred extra copies
while the press is still set, but ordering again means resetting the
press and charging for the setup again. Smart grouping and quantity
printing can save money in the long run.