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Printing in good time

In an ideal world, any print and design project would come with a comprehensive brief, a generous budget and a long lead time. The resulting products would be perfectly proofed, printed, packaged and delivered ahead of schedule. Sadly, the clients who enable our (admittedly humble) dreams are few and far between.


We’ve all been caught out once in a while. Studiously working though our to-do lists when we get a panicked email asking for the earth on a plate with no time to spare. And of course, we’ll always do what we can to turn around a job with even the tightest deadlines. But if time is tight, what do you need to do to make sure your printing happens as quickly and efficiently as possible?


1. Be clear about your brief in advance. Don’t brief two colour and then decide you want full colour. Don’t brief matt finish and then let the chief executive persuade you she wants it glossy. Don’t ask for 8,000 copies and then increase it to 15,000 at the last minute. These changes require different machines, different paper and different lengths of time to prepare


2. Work with a creative design team who know about printing. Having to re-proof designs to make sure they’re print-ready can cost valuable time when a deadline is looming


3. Book your printing slot as early as you can. Most printers will have a timetable for their machines each day. If you are going to need 3,000 copies of a 16-page booklet, you need to factor in time for printing, drying, collating and packing and if the timetable is already full, your chances of “just squeezing it in” are very slim


4. Stick to sign off schedules. Printers need the print-ready files ahead of time to set up the print run. Missing sign-off deadlines can throw the whole process out, meaning you miss your precious printing slot


When you are up against it, it’s useful to know that there are trade-offs you can make when it comes to getting your project out of the door. You just have to decide where you can compromise. We apply the “golden triangle” principle, which has three elements: cheap, good and quick. If time goes out of the window you have to choose between it being good and quick or cheap and quick.


Good and quick – A healthy budget will mean we can provide top-specification printed collateral for you in double-quick time. If you have the budget, we can use our long-standing relationships with a wide range of production sources to turn your project around as quickly as overnight.


Cheap and quick – If finances aren’t on your side, we can adjust the specification, providing perfectly serviceable print collateral at a reasonable price. You’ll still get what you need when you need it, but maybe at a lower specification than if you were prepared to wait or spend more.


Read more about this virtuous triangle in our other blog.


We have high standards and we know you do too, so we’ll never ask you to compromise too far. Our industry knowledge and contacts let you take advantage of our Clever Print Management techniques. So give our friendly team a call to chat through the options for your latest project – even if you need it tomorrow.

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