In our many years of working with printers we have learned a few important things you might like to know.
First, do not think of printing as a commodity. It isn’t. Matching the best printer suited to deliver the best final product is always the best choice for each job.
Second, cheapest is not always bestest. Okay, that’s not a word. But you get the point. The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true in print production.
Third, relationships are critical. Whether it’s the sales rep, customer service rep, pre-press operator or lead pressman, you want people who know you and are willing to go to bat for you to get the highest quality job done on time and on budget.
Fourth, technology matters. Advances in equipment and its ability to deliver accurate color registration, cutting, binding or anything else involved with the job can be the difference between “wish we could’ve” and “glad we did that.”
Fifth, and finally, the devil is in the details. Working with highly organized people and systems will ensure a print job is properly started, produced, delivered and fulfilled.
I’ll share a story. Over the years we have produced a wide variety of dimensional PR and marketing kits for clients. These kits most often announced a new product to media/press people so they had to have some “hello” and “shazaam” as they arrived on editors desks. Calling attention to themselves is what made them stand out and become newsworthy.
One particular project involved the release of a new penny from the U.S. mint that was exclusively available in a packaged cereal product. Our concept for the press kit involved sourcing, managing and coordinating all of these details:
- A circle hat box vendor
- A custom label maker for the cover of the hat box
- A printer who could produce and bind a circular brochure
- A foam insert to go inside the hat box to hold media materials
- A fulfillment company to assemble all the elements together
What helped us pull all this together in a short period of time? Years of production experience. A network of strong relationships to know who was best suited to contribute to the project. A bit of creative ingenuity. And old-fashioned resourcefulness to figure it out.
Typically when we are involved with print projects we’ll clearly define the specifications and then bid the project out to three different printers. There is a fair amount of back and forth to answer questions and clarify things, but it’s important to make sure we are comparing apples to apples with their estimates. Then we can make a recommendation for who we believe is best suited for the job. It’s not based on price alone, but on multiple factors like competency, experience, customer service, etc.
We know that working with a trusted print partner generally ensures a project will go smoother.
Plus, it eases our minds knowing they will do their best job for our client. Here are the qualities we look for in our print partner:
- Willing to meet with us and talk about the project in the early stages
- Ability to come up with solutions for “outside the box” creative
- Ask a lot of questions, confirm correct specs
- Provide complete estimates, leaving nothing out so we aren’t surprised
- Give realistic timelines and deliver on this timeline
- Advocate for DKY/DKY’s client within their company
- Good quality finished pieces/quality control internally
- Have proven with past projects that they are a “trusted” partner
So next time you have a question about a print project, please reach out to us. We are more than happy to lighten your load and step into the print production process.