Printing Materials for Your Business
“The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.” – Tom Waits
Print in Marketing
How many time has someone in your office said: “Hey, look at this!” when you receive an unusual or nicely printed piece of printed material? Certainly every now and then I would estimate. How many times has anyone asked this same question of a piece of Spam email or social media page? Normally, only when it is rude, ridiculous or inept, and then only for a fleeting few seconds.
This is because people like to feel and hold something bright, clean and often tactile that is visual attractive rather than a piece of 80gsm copy paper … the same applies to peering at a badly designed piece of junk on a computer screen.
We have often heard that “print is dead” when if you really want to get your marketing message across you still have to print a card, a leaflet, a brochure or a banner to get your companies name and message across.
Leaving printing materials out of your marketing mix is like selling with one arm tied behind your back. Print is far from dead, it is alive and kicking and can help communicate YOUR message to all YOUR customers and prospects.
Lithographic verses Digital Printing
So what’s the difference? Why does it matter? Well, print is cheap if you use the correct printing process for the correct job. Here is a quick guide.
Litho / Lithographic Printing
Works by transferring an image from a plate onto a rubber (or similar) blanket and then on to the paper. Ink is made from oil (usually vegetable based these day). Useful for printing longer runs 250 sheets to 100’s of thousands on material that ranges from 60gsm to 500gsm. Benefits are a full range of colours, print quality is then as good as it gets, amazing blocks of solids and lots of different coatings to seal your print to the paper. Finishing of litho printed materials is usually straight forward.
Download our marketing plan template
An advancing ‘fast’ printing process. This is an electrostatic process where toner (often with a wax element these days) in smaller machines is “glued” to the paper or inkjet based in larger machines, here ink is sprayed to the paper or material being used. Digital has no plates unlike litho. Currently stock ranges that can be printed are from 80gsm to 350gsm, materials tend to be smoother and more expensive compared to litho printing. Run lengths tend to be shorter and more cost effective than litho ranging from a single copy to a couple of thousand copies. Machines are higher maintenance and printing companies will often take out a service contract just to keep their machine running in an acceptable quality. Moving forward, digital is currently seeing the advent of foil and embossing processes. Digital printing also scores extremely well on personalisation, something that litho has to treat as a separate process.
Print Finishing Options
You could write a book on printing materials and their ‘finishing options’. So you could just cut it to any shape you feel like or fold it to a myriad of shapes and size or do a bit of both for that matter. Or before your cutting and folding what about laminating your print on to the sheet with a gloss or silk finish? This gives your finished job a nicer feel and finish. Laminates can also be found in soft-touch, or even sparkly and patterned finishes. You can also get a similar look from Ultra-Violet varnishing and this can be supplied in a pattern across your job or an overall coating.
You might want to put your printing into a book. Years ago you would have had to have it hand sewn into a case to make a hard back book which was very expensive. Today you can glue your books with a soft cover as Perfect bound, PUR bound or even plastic and wiro bound, all comparatively cheap compared to case binding.
Don’t forget your printer should be able to offer numbering and perforating and personalisation, where every copy printed can be printed with a different name and address etc.
Talk to your printer and designer about the options available to you to make your printing materials stand out from the competition.
Where to Buy Printing Materials? Local or National?
Go on the internet, find to cheapest guys around, put in your credit card details, send your artwork and your job comes back. Obvious, isn’t it?
Well not always so. Don’t forget the guys on the Internet are printing upwards of 20 jobs on the same sheet at once and your small job might not be the top of their list. They will print whatever you send them, be it right, wrong or just plain indifferent. Great if it not wanted in a hurry or you can live with wasting a bob or two.
But we aren’t like that in Yorkshire, we want value for money but we also want it doing right! So just think. You have job. You have spent a fortune and hours putting it all together with your design team, why would you risk the quality of the finish. What about if you call your local printer guy? You can ask if he’s a trained printer and about his background and experience. You can also discuss your design and any problems that they can see.
Your printer can suggest paper or card stocks and finishes and other ideas that he has come across. Wouldn’t it be nice if he could show you a printed proof of what you will get? Your local printer probably can and will. It’s a good investment considering what you have laid out at the design stage? Your local printer will know his equipment, he is after all a print expert and will give you true Yorkshire value for money. And at the end of the day if you do have a problem he is there to sort it out locally, in person.
The choice is yours.
Ask for help and don’t DIY your printing materials – your customers expect you to be professional and quality print gives you the edge! Use professional designers and take advice from skilled printers to help you stand out from the crowd!