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10 questions you should ask your printer

Posted 25th April 2017

10 questions you should ask your printer

When it comes to getting the right results from a print run knowledge is key. The more you know about the process and the more you understand about your options, the easier it will be to get the finished product just right. To help you create the perfect print run, here are 10 questions you should ask your printer before your project gets underway.

1. What are the most cost effective options?

The cost of the job will depend on many factors including the size of the job, the materials and the finishes used. You printer will be able to talk you through these and suggest the best options for your budget and timescale.

2. What paper stock can I use?

The type of paper you use for your print run will have an impact on the look and feel of your finished product. If you talk to your printer about the result you’re looking for, they’ll be able recommend a stock that suits your needs.

For more details about 'choosing a paper stock' see these articles.

3. Can I use an environmentally friendly material?

Many printers will be able to offer you a paper stock that either contains recycled materials, is responsibly sourced or is carbon balanced.

At Swallowtail Print we take our environment impact seriously, so we use paper and cardboard that comes from FSC® approved sustainable sources. We also work hard to minimise the amount of waste we produce and limit our consumption of materials.

If you would like to display the FSC® logo and details about the materials used on your printed job then then speak to our production team. We can tell you the various logo sizes and wording you can use.

For more details see 'FSC and Environmentally Friendly Paper'

4. What print finishes can I use?

Adding a finish to your printed product can really help it to stand out from the crowd. Laminates, varnishes and bindings can all transform the look of your brochure, book, flyer or business cards, so don’t be afraid to try something a little different.

For details about 'different print finishes' see these articles

5. What size should I be using for a folded leaflet?

There are many standard formats for leaflets. However, because of the different ways they can be folded, page size can vary between printers so check with them before you finalise your design.

See ‘A quick explanation of the different types of folded leaflets available’

6. Do I need to allow for creep?

This is an important consideration when producing any printed document containing a large number of pages. When the sheets are folded and trimmed the sheets on the inside will be smaller than the outer ones, otherwise known as creep. The thicker the paper stock the greater this difference will be. Unless this is allowed for your margins will vary throughout.

Most commercial printer will make adjustments for creep during the file preparation process but it’s worth checking with your printer. Better to allow for this in the design than to have to make adjustments later.

7. What are your artwork requirements?

Supplying your files in the correct formats will help to speed up your job and make your printer’s life easier. Ask if there are any colour profiles that your artwork should be saved in and check if your printer would prefer the fonts to be outlined or supplied with the artwork*.

Outputting artwork to PDF is the preferred workflow for many printers. Check with your printer for their recommended PDF standard and compatibility settings. Most will require a pdf with bleed, crop marks and supplied as single pages, not spreads.

*Not all font foundries allow their fonts to be supplied to third parties, even if they are being used for output, so you will need to check the license for the fonts you are using. If you are using Adobe’s Typekit for syncing fonts then check that your printer has this facility. 

8. How can I supply artwork?

Many printers will have an online facility for you to upload files to, ask them for details.

For details about uploading files to Swallowtail Print see 'A simple guide to uploading files'.

9. Seing a proof?

Proofs are good for printers and good for clients. They help to ensure everyone is happy with the finished result and give everyone an opportunity to spot mistakes with the design or format. Make sure you see something before your job goes to print, even if it’s just a pdf.

See ‘Different types of proofing’ for more details

10. How quickly can you print them?

It’s always worth asking when a job will be completed. Often the lead time depends on a number of different factors, so it’s best to find out when you need to get the artwork to the printer in order for them to meet your deadline.

At Swallowtail Print short print runs requiring a very quick turnaround can be handled by our digital printers. For high volume output, we have two high performance Heidelberg Speedmaster XL sheetfed offset printing presses.

To discuss your requirements, contact a member of our team.