If you want to keep the costs of your printed marketing materials to the minimum, here are a few suggestions:
The first thing to do is to have a good hard think about the print item you think you need: Who is it aimed at? What do you want to say to them? What do you want it to achieve?
Make sure the medium you have selected is the best way to reach the target audience and persuade them to act on what you are offering.
Make sure you have enough time to get the item prepared and printed for your schedule. Rush jobs almost invariably end up costing more.
Get quotes from two or three suppliers, but don’t forget that price isn’t everything. If you have a good, reliable supplier hold on to them!
We have found on many occasions that one supplier can give you a good price for one specific item but can be very expensive for another – it’s horses for courses, so make sure you have a selection of suppliers that you can choose from and a variety of capabilities.
Use a professional graphic designer. Graphic designers know about the production processes and how to prepare artwork in the way a printer needs, plus lots of tricks to get your print looking its best.
Get the designer involved early on and ask for their advice – after all it should be part of the service that any good designer will offer.
Consider the quantity you will need at an early stage so that you don’t over-order.
Provide a very clear brief to your designer at the outset. Get everything together first (text, any branding elements with guidelines, photography, diagrams, illustrations, other graphics and logos).
Get the best value from photography or any other original artwork that needs to be created – can it be used in other places, can other photographs be taken at the same time for use elsewhere or in the future, can graphics be devised to suit other situations too?
Get your designer’s advice on the amount of words in any text. Prepare and carefully check all text before you give it to the designer. Get someone else apart from the person who has prepared the text to double check and proof read. They will find mistakes that have been missed.
Doing this has the potential to save hundreds of pounds and avoid the costs that can be incurred due to author’s corrections during production.
As print designers we rarely get a job that is not amended at some stage. Making sure that the text has been carefully prepared, checked and approved in advance saves a lot of time and trouble (of course, you can always take advantage of our brilliant copywriters!).
Always make sure you see proofs and check them thoroughly.
The modern vogue is for printers to supply soft, or digital, proofs in the form of a PDF. This will save you money and it certainly saves the printer time, trouble and money as they don’t have to invest in hard proofing systems or a representative to bring the hard copy to you.
Studies have shown that people do not read information on screens as thoroughly as they do printed material. This means that mistakes are more likely to be missed on soft proofs.
In addition, a hard proof is essential if colour accuracy is critical in your print. Colours on screen are far more vibrant than any print reproduction process can achieve due to the fact that light is transmitted, rather than reflected.
A proof at artwork stage should be used to check that all elements are as intended. Whilst this is not your last chance to make any changes, subsequent amendments can prove costly.
The printers’ proof should be used to check that nothing has gone awry between the artwork proof and the origination material that the printer will print from. Making changes at this stage can cost a great deal and severely delay the job.
Many printers will ask you to ‘sign off’ the proof, agreeing that everything is as you want.
During the proofing process, the less proofs you need to see, the less it will cost, but we recommend that you should at least have one artwork proof and one printer’s proof.
It goes without saying that any mistakes missed during the proofing stages can have disastrous and potentially costly consequences once the job is printed, so make sure you get things right.
Seek professional help
There’s no shame in not being able to do everything! We are all busy people and achieving the best results relies on employing the best resources. Using an external agency for your design and print work not only leaves you free to concentrate on more important aspects of your work, but can also deliver many other benefits in terms of stress, effectiveness, efficiency and quality.
Furthermore, a professional external resource can give you a new perspective on design, direction and implementation.
Talk to us to find out how our design and print services can benefit your marketing efforts.