30 Tips for the Perfect Print Job

In order to ensure you get the perfect print job, make sure your file is print-ready with a resolution of 300 dpi. This online tutorial demonstrates how to check your image resolution.

When it comes to print marketing materials, you want everything to be perfect in order to stand the best chance of success. Whether you’re printing brochures, direct-mail postcards, catalogs or banners, it’s important to ensure your print job takes every advantage to motivate your customers to take the next step in the purchase process. To help you increase your return on investment, here are 30 tips for the perfect print job.

  1. Establish a goal for your campaign so every printing decision is made with the end result in mind.
  2. Design your materials using a print-ready template that has lines for the safe area, cuts and bleeds.
  3. Make sure your file is print-ready with a resolution of 300 dpi.
  4. Use the correct color mode, often CMYK.
  5. Choose the right paper stock for the job and your brand: glossy or matte, thick or thin, white wove or smooth, coated or uncoated.
  6. Craft stellar copy to motivate response.
  7. A great offer and call to action, combined with targeted distribution, will make any print job more effective.
  8. Dazzling design sells.
  9. Flatten your design and save as a PDF to ensure proper printing; otherwise, include fonts.
  10. Note that printed jobs are typically darker than they look on bright computer screens.
  11. Ask for feedback on your design before you go to print.
  12. Always get a hardcopy proof – not just an electronic proof – to see how your final printed piece will look and feel.
  13. If possible, test small runs of your print marketing materials on limited audiences to see which performs best; then complete the entire print run.
  14. Take advantage of discount printing, especially deals that can net you as much as 60 percent off regular prices, to reduce your initial investment and increase your return on investment.
  15. Communicate with your printing company: tell them your goals, ask for suggestions (they’re the experts, after all), and troubleshoot any issues.
  16. Go green by printing on recycled paper.
  17. Soy inks are better for the environment and produce more vibrant colors.
  18. Print as many pieces as you’ll need in one printing to reduce your overall investment, especially if your job requires offset printing.
  19. Ask your printing company if there are ways to accomplish your goal without jeopardizing quality that will reduce your investment; in most cases, they’re happy to help.
  20. Take advantage of in-house addressing, mailing and mailing list services for more efficient, economical distribution.
  21. Test your printing company’s customer service before you send your project to print; call their customer service number to ask questions and see if you get friendly, helpful answers from a real person.
  22. Take advantage of die-cut templates or have your printing company create a custom die-cut template for you, if you’re using die cuts.
  23. Ask your printing company for a template for foil stamps, or how to so designate them, before you create your design.
  24. If you’re considering different types of paper stocks, see if your printing company has a free sample kit they can send you to help  you make an informed choice.
  25. Ask your printer what type of press your project will be printed on; make sure it’s a modern, state-of-the-art machine to ensure quality.
  26. Double-check your printer’s guarantee or error policy; you need to know you’re protected if they make a mistake.
  27. Use printing preflight diagnostic tools to ensure your file is truly print-ready and to minimize the risk of errors.
  28. Plan to print well in advance of your campaign so you can take advantage of reduced shipping rates.
  29. You should also print in advance so you have time to correct any errors, such as damage during shipping.
  30. Use professional design software to ensure your files are properly prepared.

What other tips can you offer for ensuring a perfect print job?

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