Behind the emerald curtain in the Commercial Printing industry a war quietly rages. Rather than a war between good and evil, this war is fought between Account Executives, and Production is trapped in the middle of the fray. Account Executives seeking new business in a fiercely competitive marketplace often agree to tight turn times or seemingly impossible deadlines. Production is charged with completing all projects for every client accurately and on time. The number of projects and client expectations frequently create production scheduling conflicts, bottlenecks in the availability of equipment and labor. In the past, many printers resolved scheduling conflicts based on factors such as an existing client’s annual revenue or new client’s potential future revenue. But this is a new era and technology is rapidly evening the playing field through the implementation of sophisticated plant management software and scheduling automation.
Print quality is affected by numerous factors, such as the type of paper used and the viscosity of the inks to name a few. One of the biggest concerns all print buyers should be aware of is the effect of climate on print quality. Temperature and humidity are responsible for a host of problems including picking, misregister, wrinkling, and curling. Quality issues like these may necessitate pulling or reprinting the job, and that means buyers sometimes must choose between compromised print quality and missing a critical deadline. Neither scenario is acceptable, which is why print buyers should only work with commercial printers with climate controlled production facilities.
The printing press has come a long way since Johannes Gutenberg ‘s invention of the first press with movable type in the mid-15th century. Today there are multiple types of printing presses designed for applying ink to everything from paper to metal. In commercial printing, substrates are the base material, supplied in sheets or rolls, onto which ink is applied. Traditional Offset printers were once limited to printing on paper. Today, paper is just the start of the numerous substrates available. Special ink formulations, UV printing technology, and improvements in the manufacture of substrates enables offset printers to apply ink to a wide range of plastics and synthetics.
Your printer just told you the art file you provided has some issues and you have been asked if you can provide a vector file. When you questioned what that means you received a response from your printer that didn’t help you understand the problem any clearer. Now you’re frustrated and feel like sending your business to another printer. Unfortunately, another printer will either tell you the same thing or will produce your piece with unsatisfactory results. The print quality of your project largely depends upon the type of files you provide, and in commercial printing not all file types are equal. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the difference between Vector files and Raster files.
Have you ever received a postcard in the mail or picked up a brochure that was so glossy it almost seemed as if it were still wet? That super glossy sheen is a UV, or Ultraviolet, coating. Advances in print coating technology means there are more options now than ever before, and more to know. The following is a quick reference guide for print buyers and marketing professionals.
An eye-catching design and enticing offer are only part of the total direct mail package. Many “behind the scenes” processes contribute to its success, including prepress, mail list processing, variable data composition, printing and delivery. Of course, the success of a direct mail campaign can only be measured when responses start pouring in but keep these tips in mind so your campaign is handled properly before and after it drops.
In the print production of direct mail there are many factors which affect costs. Because price is dependent on the design specifications unique to a project, commercial printers price every job individually. Color, paper choices, print method, and bindery finishing all contribute to cost and should be taken into account during project planning and budgeting. It is important to have a basic understanding of how your direct mail project will be produced. The following overview covers some of the more common considerations every marketer should be aware of and how different production techniques affect cost.
When was the last time you received a birthday present, wrapped in decorative paper, tied with a brightly colored ribbon, and you chose not to unwrap the gift? If you’re like me the answer is never. What’s in the box? Shake it. Does it make a noise? Is there something loose inside rattling around? How heavy does it feel? What could fit inside? These are some of the thoughts that might go through your mind.
The cost of paper is one of the most important considerations for any print project. In fact, paper can account for 50% or more of the total project cost. If your marketing budget is slimmer than ever, you may be tempted to buy your own paper from a paper mill or distributor as an alternative to buying it through your printer. But does buying your own paper really save you time and money?
Savvy marketers know the best allocation of their budget is a mix incorporating multiple channels. It could be a mistake to neglect the use of one particular channel over another, and eliminating one entirely could hinder your ability to effectively reach your target audience. Success or failure of a marketing campaign can mean rapid growth or calamitous loss of money.