Getting Your Business Materials Printed

Know when to do it yourself or take it to a print shop

Do it yourself? Go to a print shop? Print on demand? The vast array of printing options can leave you feeling paralyzed. You need to make the right choice because your business cards, letterhead, catalogs, brochures and direct mail pieces are a lifeline to customers. When printed successfully, they can:
  1. Enhance your company's brand and identity.
  2. Help you market to new customers.
  3. Enable you to communicate with existing customers.

Do it in-house

If a print job is really small, say a few media kits to send out for a public relations effort, you may be able to handle it in-house. To make in-house print jobs look professional, upgrade to a color printer that's speedy and efficient. And don't forget to use high-quality paper.

Print on demand

The next step up from printing your materials yourself is to use a quick-print/copy shop. This option is best if you have to have materials printed in large volumes at the last minute and the materials are limited to black and white. You don't even have to leave the office to send a job to a quick-print shop. Just send the documents online and pick up the finished product at a location near you.

Find a professional printer

If you're in the market for a glossy, four-color brochure or die-cut business cards, it's best to go to a professional printer that uses printing presses rather than copying machines. Put large or complex jobs out to bid with a few printers to see which one can complete the job on time and within your budget.

Be prepared

If you have an in-house designer or have decided to do it yourself, get up to speed on the process. You'll save time and reduce the hassle factor if you know what's expected of you.
  • Whether you're sending a print-job to an on-demand printer or a professional press, make sure all fonts and artwork are included.
  • Ask your printer what specifications they require for halftone screens, grayscale and what dpi photos need to be.
  • When ordering a print-job from a professional printer, ask for a pre-press proof to have a final edit before the job goes to press and a press-proof before the job is printed.
  • If you send a print-job to an on-demand printer and you don't get an email confirmation, follow-up immediately to make sure your order went through rather than finding out when the job is due.
  • Develop a relationship with your printer. As a repeat customer, you may be able to negotiate reduced rates and you're more likely to get assistance with design, ink and paper choices.

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