Ask your digital printer these questions.Planning a large-scale printing project for your business? There are a lot of things to consider: What’s the goal of the marketing campaign? Whom do you want to target? What do you want the campaign to look like? Once these questions are answered, it’s on to the next step: coordinating execution.

When you work with a seasoned partner like Digital Dog Direct, the logistics are easier to handle. (After 40 years in business, we’re well prepared for almost anything!) Still, you should always ask your printer a few key questions before they start your project, so that expectations are aligned from the beginning. We recommend starting with these:

  1. Have you handled other jobs like this?

Nothing offers peace of mind like knowing your printer has experience handling the exact kind of project you’re asking for. If you’re looking to print a product catalogue, for example, but you’re talking to a printer who specializes in high-volume coated post cards, it might be worth confirming that they have the equipment and knowledge to deliver on your vision.

  1. What is the minimum order quantity? Is pricing tiered based on volume?

Typically, cost per unit drops when volume increases. Ask your printer for the specifics that apply to your job. Learning more about pricing as it relates to volume can help you make critical decisions about your overall campaign, especially if your printer offers different pricing packages.

  1. In what format should we submit our creative assets?

There are many different formats that might be used. Does your printer have a preference? What does he/she recommend? Often when you ask this question, it will prompt your printer to mention other requirements or guidelines pertaining to creative. At Digital Dog Direct, we typically recommend a hi res PDF in combination with the native art files, just in case any edits need to be made.

  1. Will you allow for creep and color bleed, or should we allow for that in our creative?

Asking this question will let your printer know that you’ve done your homework! Print creep is “the technical name for what happens when you fold a stack of pages together; the outer pages appear shorter as they wrap around the large inner bulk.” Nearly all printers know how to handle creep and color bleed, but you should confirm if there’s anything you’ll need to do on your side (especially if it can help save time and money!).

  1. Will we get to see a proof? What kind and under what circumstances?

It’s standard for printers to show you a proof before your order is fulfilled, but what type of proof will you get? Soft proofs or PDFs allow you to see a simulation of your printed piece on a computer screen. They are inexpensive and quick to produce so they can provide for quicker approvals and turnaround times. However, soft proofs don’t give you an accurate color representation and won’t show pagination.

Hard proofs are printed pieces produced on an output device that’s cheaper to print on than a printing press. Hard proofs are nearly identical to the finished product, but since they’re not printed on the same device as the finished product, the colors are not identical.

Press proofs are produced on the same printing press the job will be printed on, providing you with the best representation of the final product. On the downside, press proofs take more time to set up, making for extended turnaround times and increased costs.

Talk with your printer about what type of proof makes the most sense for you.

  1. Are there any costs we haven’t talked about?

No one wants to be surprised when the bill comes. To help avoid that situation, ask this question as a way to wrap up the conversation.

Ready to give these questions a try? Contact us today to discuss your next printing project.