How to Prepare Digital Files & Simplify Print Specs to Get Your Best Price
No matter the size of a project, managing budget and a timeline is extremely important. At each point of a design’s journey to print, there are factors that contribute to overall cost. Even from the early stages of getting your initial print project quote, there are tactics on how to simplify print specs to get your best price – without compromising quality. Here’s some of the basic ways to get the most accurate and budget-friendly quote from a print provider.
Tip 1 – Discuss the File Type You’re Creating
When a print provider prepares your quote, they are essentially estimating how easy or difficult the job will be. It might surprise you to learn that even the kind of file you are printing can affect this quote. Properly preparing files for digital and offset printing with InDesign or PDF files, are the easiest file types for printing companies to work with. These files have all necessary elements included. The process of going to print with file types like Word or PowerPoint is far more complicated, and can inflate print budget. Knowing what file type will be provided allows the printer to estimate the work that will be required on their end to prepare the document for printing.
|Do: Use InDesign or print-ready PDFs for preparing correct print files.
|Don’t: Use Microsoft programs.
Tip 2 – Provide an Accurate Page Count Estimate
Bindery functionality has a basic setup that facilitates folding in multiples of four pages. Ideal page configuration for projects that bind would be in increments of four, eight, twelve or 16 pages. A print provider may even suggest revising your layout, or adding blank pages, to ensure that catalogs or other projects can be rolled out in multiples of sixteen.
|Do: Design pages with even numbers and for binding purposes divisible by 4.
|Don’t: Submit odd-numbered pages for bindery over and press.
Tip 3 – Understand Your Choices in Custom Finishing and Binding
Finishing touches to a print job like binding, embossing and foiling, can make an average project memorable. However, these still add money to the overall quote. Additionally, perfect binding and saddle stitching are available as options. It’s helpful to establish these choices in advance, as they are two completely different ways of printing and assembling. By working with an experienced partner, any uncertainties can be answered when it comes to improving the final draft of a printed job.
|Do: Get estimates based on paper and binding.
|Don’t: Neglect to ask questions about finishings in planning stage.
Tip 4 – Paper Choice Makes a Difference
It’s not uncommon for a business to have a specific paper type or size they always use for projects as a brand standard. But adhering to strict requirements can actually drive costs up without a resulting improvement in quality. Remaining more flexible about paper type or size allows your print partner to make recommendations that will lower your cost without compromising the final product. This might mean reducing the size of a catalogue by a mere half-inch. You could also choose a similar quality paper manufactured by a different provider. With flexibility like this, a seasoned printing company can help you preserve a budget.
|Do: Get recommendations on paper & sizing price breaks.
|Don’t: Be too rigid. A small change can make a big difference.
Tip 5 – Know Your Budget
As it’s plain to see, every step of a printing process can drive cost up, up, and up when the right information isn’t shared, or when the print company isn’t asking the right questions. Skilled printing companies make suggestions to cut cost and keep the entire experience as efficient as possible. When a budget is provided up front, vendors can help to figure out where to allocate that money along the process. Rather than blindly guessing and then getting a final bill that is a surprise, you can rely on a print partner’s in-depth knowledge to inform and educate your design and printing needs.
|Do: Share budget to see what breaks partners can get you.
|Don’t: Waste time trying to hide budget, printers are on your side.
Summary: how to simplify print specs to get your best price
For any project, simplifying your process and preparing the correct print files will undoubtedly result in the best possible quote. However, getting started can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the printing process. If you haven’t defined all these details about your project, start a conversation with a printing partner early on. This is the best way to focus your planning and define how your vision will make it to print.