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Getting Publicity Printed

EVERY PR executive needs a good working knowledge of print production. Ensure that you know how to select the right printer for the right job, and learn which factors influence cost and how to make savings by undertaking your own print – buying.

Choosing a printer

Whenever you are a supplier, make sure that you shop around – not only for the best price, but also for the most appropriate provider for your needs. Most large printing firms employ sales representatives who will be happy to visit you. Find out what equipment and machinery the print firm uses and what it is capable of. Ensure that the representatives bring samples. Check that the quality is good. Are colors true? Are documents folded neatly? Are pages stapled, or wired stitched, with precision? Are pages cut square? Usually a rep can arrange for you to visit and to see the print shop in action. This is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to the processes and the jargon, and to ask questions.

Budgeting for print

Many factors affect print prices. Internal factors – such as how busy the printer is, or how much they want your business – will have an influence. Then there is the specification or spec. certain processes will add to the cost. Full colour printing costs more than two colour printing. The number of pages, the number of copies, and the type of paper used will also affect cost. Special effects and finishes, such as metallic inks, die cutting varnishing, laminating, embossing will inflate the bill.

Using Digital Printing

Traditional printing performed on a printing press is ideal for runs of at least 500: the larger the run, the lower the unit cost. However, for short runs – especially short full colour runs – digital printing is more cost effective. With a press, the main cost is in setting up the machine, making small runs economical. Digital printing has no set up costs, so the unit cost for one copy is little different to the unit cost for 1,000. Many print shops offer both forms of printing. Ask which is best for your needs.

Undertaking your own print – buying

If you do not have time to arrange your own printing, or if you print – buying is a new area and you would prefer to gain some experience first, you can ask a graphic designer to organize it for you. In the long term, however, it is cheaper to do your own print – buying. Its standard practice for designers to mark up the cost of printing, usually by about 15 or 20 per cent, as a kind of handling fee.

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