Updated: Jul 6, 2022
Looking to get something printed?
Just take it down to your local printer and they can press print – right?
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s all about finding the RIGHT person for the job.
In the world of printing, there are several different types of printers who all have their own expertise or niche.
Similar to when you are looking for a motorised scooter for your elderly parents. Do you go to the local Nissan Dealer and tell them you want a Motorised Scooter and expect them to be able to assist you. Nope! Won’t work! Just because they sell a motorised “transport” solution, does not mean that the car dealership will sell that particular motorised transport solution.
Well, printers are a bit the same… Just because they are a printer, does not mean that they can do the TYPE of printing that you need. It is important to start by understanding which printer is going to be the most suitable for the purpose you need.
DIGITAL PRINTER Small shopfront printers are generally called “POD” printers or “Print On Demand” printers and offer print and copy services for general requirements where quality is not too essential, timeframe is more important. This kind of printer is ideal for one-off’s, some photo printing, may be a single poster or something quick and easy… In the old days, people use to call them “photocopy” centre as essentially, they are… They can print files straight from your phone or thumbstick without requiring any printing skills.
COMMERCIAL PRINTER? Perhaps you’re a business or organisation that needs small to large quantities of business cards, flyers, books, booklets or signs. Commercial Printers are generally recognised for their strength in colour management and paper stock variety. They are incredibly professional, know their trade well and support the business community. If you want something that looks and feels professional then your local commercial printer should be able to assist you or at least point you in the right direction.
SCREEN PRINTER These guys are a dying breed as the world of digital printing has become so fast and so much cheaper, however, if you want something artistic and need a creative angle as well as an artisan feel, a Screen printer will be the right person to visit. They can help in putting a logo onto many different substrates and medias. Everything from a T-shirt to a boat sail to a skateboard graphic.
PRINT MANAGER These guys are hip… They do not actually have or own a printer. They are the most educated in print solutions though. They know all the tricks possible to save money. They know who to go to and where to go to achieve the best value possible. They will rarely help you with just 100 business cards or a few photocopies as there is nothing to save, however, they will work on pretty much anything where you can save a lot of money. They achieve the savings via aggregation by going to the right printer. For instance, they will use one Commercial Printer for all their business cards needs. In the end, they will printer 10,000 or 50,000 business cards for 500 clients as opposed to one set of 100 cards for 1 person. Print Managers are there to bring knowledge in the supply chain across the printing industry and bring you substantial savings across all that is print.
LARGE FORMAT AND SIGNAGE
This is all about being BIG…. Anything bigger than an A4 flyer or photocopy is what these guys do.
They can do small corflute signs for wayfinding all the way to billboards, and building wraps… These guys can do 1 small banner all the way to thousands of HUGE banners. They will do flags, stickers, banners, point of sale, awning signs, marquee tents, car wraps, building banners, posters, fabrics and more.
These guys do anything that is big and needs to be seen by an audience…
BOOK PRINTERS / PUBLISHERS
These are the most obvious… Need something published in LARGE quantities? Need a paperback romance novel? These guys are it… They don’t do anything small run, everything for them is large quantities… No need to really introduce these guys much, their name and skill speak for themselves.
Plenty of options - right?
The good news is, once you have this worked out you are already on the right track.
When people approach their printer, they often have no idea where to start, what they need and sometimes even… what they want.
When you have no experience in the print world, it can be overwhelming. What do I need? What is the correct terminology for what I am after? What product is the most suitable?
We understand, it can be confusing.
To help you out, we have compiled a Print checklist of ‘Information to have ready’ BEFORE approaching your printer.
Following this checklist will eliminate frustrations and result in a straight-forward and enjoyable printing process.
Let’s get started!
My Print Checklist
Product Use. What product am I after? Sounds obvious right? However, a good way of identifying what it is that you are after, and getting exactly what you want, is by first asking… How do I intend to use it? For Example: You may be wanting to purchase a banner, however, there are numerous banners styles to choose from. So a good question to ask yourself is… Where am I using it? Is it inside? Outside? Attached to a fence? Stand alone? Long-term? Short-term? Answering these questions will ensure that you end up with the product most suitable for your intended use.
Size. What size am I after? If you know where/how you will use the product, this should give you a good indication of the required size for the space. Hot Tip – Printers often work in millimetres, so keep that in mind when talking numbers…
Quantity. How many am I after? This is an extremely important question to ask yourself. In the commercial printing world, size makes a HUGE difference to the cost of the product. The more you buy, the cheaper is it is per unit, hence, the price can vary depending on the quantity you require. Hot Tip – Some printers will have MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity), so keep this in mind.
Time Frame. As with everything, things take time. It’s important to be clear and up-front about your time frame, to allow your printer the best opportunity to deliver on time and without disappointment. Of course, some print items do take more time than others so time constraints may be non-negotiable. The safest rule of thumb is to remember… the more time you allow, the better.
Artwork. Do you have an artwork/design that you want printed on your product? Is it print ready? (Hot Tip - If you want to know more about supplying ‘print-ready files’, check out our recent blog here). If not, you will need to enquire about artwork creation. Be clear on your artwork brief and expectations, have logo files and fonts prepared and in suitable formats.
If you have the answer to each of these items ticked off BEFORE you head to your local printer, you will find that the response if quick, easy and efficient and results in a product that is not only suitable but also meets your expectations.
Click here to download your own copy of ‘My Print Checklist’.