5 Things to Know When Dealing With a Commercial Printer

Most people don’t have large printing projects that require using a commercial printers on a regular basis. So when they do have a project that calls for a commercial printer most people don’t know where to start. Here are 5 of the most common questions that arise when dealing with printers. Keeping these in mind will help you make sure you get your project done right, on time, and on budget.

1. What Kind of Digital File Does My Printer Need?

The key word here is digital. There are many people that bring in a physical, or paper copy of something they would like printed. If you ask your printer to reproduce an item from a paper copy they will have to use a graphic designer to turn it into a digital file. This will greatly increase the price of your project. Bringing the digital file with you will eliminate this added expense. The correct file format to use is “PDF”, or portable document format. PDF files are universal and used by all commercial printers, so there is no need to worry about your printer being able to open or print the file.

2. What is Image Resolution?

After you get you project in PDF format now you need to make sure your image resolution is high enough. Resolution refers to the number of pixels(small dots of light that make up an image) in an image, the more pixels the higher the resolution, the higher the resolution the clearer the image. This is especially important if you would like to change the size of the image or graphic. The larger you want to make your image the higher the resolution needs to be. If you use image with resolution that is too low it will come out blurry and pixelated. (You might also think about using vector graphics if you need to enlarge your image.) The exact specifications on how high your resolution needs to be will vary by how much you are enlarging the image. Your printer will know how high the resolution needs to be in order to be printed properly.

3. What Do They Mean, “Does it Bleed”?

Does your image bleed? This is a question that you will be asked every time you use a commercial printer. When printers are talking about a bleed they are asking about how your project is designed. Does your image run right to the edge of the page(bleed), or is there a gap on the outside edge of the page? The answer to this question is up to you, and how you want the finished piece to look. Having a bleed or not will not drastically change the price, but it will raise the cost a little. The real reason it matters is that it will change how your project is printed. Your printer will need to use a different page size in order to print with a bleed.

4. How Fast Can I Get This Printed?

For most printers you can expect about 1-2 weeks for your project to be completed. There are however a number of variables that come into play when dealing with timelines and printers. Do they have the paper you are printing with in stock? Do you need to have extra finishing work done to your piece, like laminating?  Do they have press time to run your job? All of these things and many more will determine how quickly  your project can be completed. You should always discuss timelines before you begin a printing project, and if you have a firm deadline let your printer know at the start.

5. How Much is My Printing Project Going to Cost?

As with most things there are volume discounts when it comes to printing. In the printing business the majority of the cost on any particular job comes from the set up.  It isn’t the paper or ink that is expensive when printing it is the time, and effort it takes to get the press ready. After the press is up and running it is very inexpensive to keep it running. For this reason the difference in getting 1 piece printed and 500 might only be a few dollars, because no matter how many you need the setup cost are the same.

 Things to Remember

In conclusion; make sure you use a PDF file, that has a high enough resolution, decide if you would like to have your project bleed, give your printer 2 weeks to complete the job, and make sure the volume you are printing is larger enough. Everything you need to know about commercial printing in one sentence.

Commercial printing like every other industry has its’ own terminology, and trying to wade through it can be challenging. If you have any other questions about commercial printing please feel free to contact us here.




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