With any print project, there is a budget in mind. It’s essential to get quotes from reputable printers, which you can then compare. The right quote and creative print team could save you significant time and money. To get an accurate quote, the printer needs to have specific information. It’s up to you to know exactly what you want done in terms of quantity, stock type, design work, and many other elements. Here’s a look at what your printer will need for a quote.
You want to provide the printer with as much information as possible, starting with contact information. This includes the name, email address, and phone number of the primary contact associated with the print project. Be sure to specify the preferred method of contact to facilitate efficient communication.
A timeline is crucial with any print project and should be clearly established beforehand. Give the printer due dates for not only artwork submissions, but also the final delivery. Make a note if the print project is part of an upcoming event, and set delivery for a specific time.
If using artwork in the project, provide the printer with a sample. In the event that a sample is unavailable, provide details such as file format (PDF is preferred since estimators don’t typically have access to CreativeSuite or EPS files), method of file submission, and the anticipated receipt date of the artwork.
Order description is crucial to getting an accurate quote. It helps to know particular commercial printing terms. Consider these factors when presenting a printer with your project description:
Quantity: Clearly establish the total number of pieces that need to be produced.
Size: The printer should know both the finished size and flat size in order to gauge the extent of the print project. Finished size refers to the size of the print after printing and binding is completed. Flat size is the size of the product before folding, but after printing and trimming, if it’s laid flat. Also inform the printer of any irregular cuts or shapes (die cut) that will be included in the project. Provide the printer with a full-scale printout of the project’s dimensions, including crop marks, if you’re not sure of the size.
Number of Pages: State the total page count, including the interior pages and covers if quoting a multi-page document. Typically, in book printing, it’s important to note whether the total number of pages includes the cover or is in addition to the cover. When saddle stitching is the desired type of binding, it is important to note that your final page count should be divisible by 4.
Paper Stock: The printer should know if you desire coated or uncoated paper stock, the weight (thickness) requirement, and the particular color, brand, and type (example: newsprint, recycled, biodegradable paper). Both cover and text weight should be presented. Uncoated paper has a natural finish and rough feel, while coated paper produces finishes that could be matte, gloss, dull, or cast.
Ink/Colors: Specify the color selection needed for the project and whether the ink will print on one or both sides of the piece. Depending on quantity, or whether there’s personalization in the project, the estimator will determine whether the project will print in process or spot colors, but here are the differences:
- Process Printing: This approach uses a layering method, where inks are placed on top of one another to create the appearance of other colors. Four-color process printing (CMYK printing) is the most popular technique used. This process is used in both offset and digital printing.
- Spot Color Printing: A Spot color or PMS color is a single, specific color. If your brand is color specific, call out the number of PMS color(s) in the piece.
Bleed vs. Non-Bleed: Keep in mind that printers sometimes include charges for bleeds (images or print elements that extend over the edge of the sheet).
Binding: If your multiple-page document will need binding, perfect bound and saddle stitch are two standard common options; however, spiral bound/coil bound and plastic comb binding are also available choices.
Simply put, the more information the printer receives, the more accurate your quote will be. During the process of getting a quote, be sure to ask the printer about their creative team to ensure that your project will be in the right hands.
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