Finding the right printer for your project is determined by:
- What are your job specifications or requirements?
- Is your job "print-ready"? Or do you need any pre-press services?
- Is the printer experienced in your industry or project type?
- Do you trust them?
What type of printing press does the job require?
Printing is a hugely complex industry with endless combinations of equipment, skills, and levels of quality results. For the purposes of this discussion, processes will be limited to printing of only black or color inks on paper.
At the most basic level – if you are printing black and white alone – a high-quality, highspeed DIGITAL PHOTOCOPIER may provide you with perfectly adequate results. Systems such as Xerox 4112 print at 600 dpi (dots per inch) on two sides of paper up to 11 x 17 inches and paper stocks up to 110# index.
If in need full-color project, a high speed DIGITAL PRINTING PRESS like the Xerox 700 Digital Press can deliver very high "photo" quality full-color results on two sides of paper up to 13 x 19 and a wide range of paper stocks. The digital process is perfect for smaller projects of less than 1000 and sometimes up to 5000 – 10,000. The digital process requires very little set up and there are not the offset "plate" costs. However, unlike offset jobs, it costs just as much to print the first copy as it does the 10,000th. Due to a fixed "click" charge from Xerox, for example, the job costs are the same throughout the job.
If you are printing one or two "spot" colors only (and black is considered a color), your piece includes high resolution (1200 dpi and up) output, you are printing on heavy or rough paper stock, and/or you need quantities of 1000 or more – you should consider moving to SHEET-FED OFFSET PRESS (DUPLICATOR). The offset press can handle sheet sizes up to 11 x 17 and some print one color at a time while others print four or more colors. The number of prints is important because of the time it takes to set up each printing job and the printing "plate" required for each color and side. Therefore, the cost to print the first copy is very high while the cost to print the 10,000th is very small. All the costs are incurred on the front-end.
If you are printing more than four colors, quantities greater than 10,000 and sheet sizes over 11 x 17, search for large SHEET-FED PRESS or WEB PRESS.
Therefore, price depends on the process, the equipment used, the number of colors and the speed in which the job can be printed. Generally, the more colors involved and the longer it takes to print, the more the job will cost. More specifically, a special order color, high-quality paper, perfect registration, a printer must charge more to run the job.
What other services does the printer offer?
Graphic Design / Prepress - If your files are "print-ready," you may not need the services of a graphic designer on the staff. But if you need some help with your design or any unforeseen technical problems arise, you will need help in the prepress department. Without support in this area, it is totally your responsibility to have the file ready to go to press. If the file is not ready, the printer will not accept it. And when the file is accepted, it will be printed exactly as presented. So you had better be confident that you file is just as your want it.
Bindery / Finishing – Some projects are simply printed and ready for delivery. Others need to be cut to the desired finished size, folded, or bound together in some type of "book" format. Many of these additional services require specialized equipment that not all printers have in-house. If a printer has to send out your printing project to have it finished, it might cost you time and money. Generally speaking, a printer can do the job cheaper and faster in-house with the proper equipment.
Does your printing require a specialist?
Would it make a difference if your printer knew your industry? You bet it would. Don't be worried if your printer prints for your competition, it's to your advantage. If the printer is familiar with inner workings of your industry or project type, they can save you money, time and perhaps give you insights you might not have considered. Ask for samples of projects similar to yours.
It all boils down to TRUST?
You can find a printer with the exact equipment to print your project. They can have all the support staff you need for design tweaks or technical glitches. You've checked the samples and they have industry experience. One final question: Do you trust the printer?
- Trust is something that you can't put a price on or fit neatly into a timeline.
- Trust in your printer can relieve anxiety about deadlines.
- Trust in your printer can give you confidence to push the envelope on future projects.
- Trust in your printer will help you serve your members, clients, customers in new and different ways.
Advantage Printing is a commercial print and marketing service provider serving churches, nonprofits and small to mid-sized businesses.