Delays are always frustrating, especially when you are working on a tight deadline and striving to provide the best product. While the unexpected can happen, here are a few tips that will help you avoid most delays in your commercial print project, and help you meet your deadlines without a hassle.
Issues That Cause Unwanted Delays and How to Solve Them
Issue #1: Deadlines were not clearly communicated
If you are unclear on deadlines, then your vendor will be unclear on the deadlines. Depending on the volume of the project, the vendor’s timeline, and the time of year, it could take longer to get a project completed than anticipated. It can also cause confusion as to when a specific deliverable is due, leading to - you guessed it - additional delays.
The Solution? Clearly state all deadlines to both your team and your chosen vendor.
When you, your team and the vendor all have clearly stated deadlines to meet, there is less likely to be errors or overlooked work. You can completely avoid the panicked feeling of running out of time when everyone knows when their tasks are due.
Issue #2: Unrealistic deadlines for your project
Speaking of deadlines, setting an unrealistic deadline without considering the timeline and scope of the project can lead to multiple errors and the need for corrections due to rushed work.
The Solution? Choose a deadline that has enough time built in.
Choosing a realistic deadline and making sure it aligns with the vendors will avoid unnecessary delays. Planning ahead allows for enough time to complete a project, proofread, and make revisions if needed without hindering your timeline.
Issue #3: Not paying attention to bleeds or crop marks
When it comes to a print project, you must pay careful attention to bleeds (the printing area beyond the trim) and crop marks (where the printer is going to trim). Both of these show the printer where to cut and what will remain after the paper has been trimmed. Too much cut off can lead to the need for a reprint.
The Solution? Make sure you are meeting all the vendor’s requirements.
Before submitting your file, make sure you know all of the requirements. Ensure that the design extends beyond the final size by a minimum of 1/8” unless otherwise specified. When exporting your print PDF, make sure bleed and crop marks are selected. Without these marks, your printer will not be able to ensure accurate trimming..
Issue #4: Sending incorrect file types
If your vendor requires a certain type of file and you submit the incorrect file type, then your whole project could be delayed until they receive the correct file.
The Solution? Use correct file types defined by your commercial printer.
Simply put, not all file types are created equally. The resolution and size determine the file format. Your commercial printer should explain to you the proper file format and what you need to send to get the best quality product back.
Issue #5: Errors on the project
Once an item is printed, it can no longer be corrected. Having errors on the submitted file can lead to the entire project needing to be reprinted, which costs time and money.
The Solution? Have a dedicated proofreader.
Ensure that a second (or third) pair of eyes goes over every detail of the project before it is submitted. Even minor errors cannot be undone once a project is printed.
Slow Down and Ensure You Don’t Create a Delay
Slowing down and taking the extra time needed to ensure that deadlines are clearly stated, that the project is error-free, and the project has been submitted correctly will help you avoid delays. Rushing work almost always leads to backtracking in order to fix mistakes. Allowing yourself and your team enough room for revisions will keep your project moving smoothly.
Working With a Commercial Printer
Choosing a commercial printing partner can seem overwhelming. You want to work with someone that you can trust. While there are a wide variety of commercial printing companies, the team at Ironmark has the experience (60 years of it!), resources, services, and knowledge to help you with all your print needs.