Choosing a printer is an important decision and for many projects, printing is the very last piece of what can be a very long and complicated puzzle. What if you have never had the responsibility to find just the right printer for your project and the success or (perish the thought) failure of the project has a direct impact on your career? Suddenly searching randomly on Google or dealing with the high school kid at the big box store doesn't sound too appealing.
Of course choosing a printer that isn't the best fit for your needs may not have such drastic consequences but you might end up overpaying for the job, missing deadlines, being surprised by a final invoice that includes items never mentioned in that bargain-priced "estimate," working with people who use industry jargon you don't really understand, or worse, no communication at all.
Obviously the fastest, smartest thing to do is to call Hartford Media (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) but we know there is always that one person in the crowd who wants to take the long way so we have compiled a few tips:
Talk to people you know who are familiar with commercial printing; ask for advice and recommendations from people you trust. It is even better if they have printed materials similar to what you need. If you have a project that requires special finishing touches such as embossing, perfect binding, assembly, and/or mailing, it would be good to know someone who has been there, done that, with the printer.
Start as early as possible. Some print projects can be done quickly such as post cards or a basic flyer but others such as booklets and brochures can take much longer. Allowing extra time can also keep costs in line by allowing more options to be considered instead of having to think speed first and anything else second.
Communication is key to a successful print project so make sure you choose someone you are comfortable with and one who asks many questions. The more they know about your project, the better. A printer should ask about your schedule, what you will use the materials for, what type of proofs and approvals are required, how you plan to submit your files, what your expectations are, what matters most to you about the project, where to find you, and most important, make suggestions! Their goal should be to make YOU look good.
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