We have enough stress in the world – traffic, bills, work – print jobs do not have to be one of them. Having extensive experience in print customer service, we have seen print jobs go sour over the simplest things that could have easily been avoided. By following these five simple tips you are sure to maintain a healthy relationship with your printer and avoid any unnecessary hair pulling over print jobs.
1. Always know your printer’s requirements before starting the artwork
Every printer will have different file setup requirements to allow for optimal printing quality as well as eye-pleasing cutting, folding and binding. No matter what your design experience is, check out your printer’s specifications online or call and ask before beginning your design to prevent delays. This will save a lot of heartache down the line if the printer is unable to use the artwork or the final product comes out incorrectly. Once a design is done incorrectly, it usually can only be mended at a high expense or fixing it may even be impossible without completely recreating it. Templates are a very useful tool for most jobs, so definitely check to see if your printer offers one you can use before starting your design. This is especially important if creating a brochure, since brochure panels are not always the same size. Certain folds require some panels be smaller to ensure the brochure will close correctly after folding. Remember, most printers will even look at your artwork before ordering to confirm it is ready!
2. Contact customer service after ordering to ensure your job is ready to go and will be delivered by your deadline
After ordering a print job, it never hurts to send a quick email with your order number to your printer to request they confirm your order is 100 percent ready to go and will be delivered by your deadline. In this day and age of web processing you never know what steps may be required of you. We all know things aren’t always as intuitive as we’d love them to be, especially when it comes to ordering printing. By contacting customer service you can confirm your delivery date, whether or not your artwork is ready to go and if there are any additional steps you need to take. Taking a few minutes to send an email or make a phone call can save you from heaps of potential frustration if anything was overlooked or misunderstood during the artwork creation or ordering process. Email is especially good because you then have documented confirmation that everything is correct on your end.
3. Order a proof if you have time, and if not then be ready to accept the color as is
Take a look at the Terms & Conditions for most competing online printers. If you go to their color section, they will all tell you the same thing: “Color cannot be guaranteed without a physical hardcopy proof.” Color can be a tricky thing especially when ordering gang rung printing through an online printer – but this is of course the most affordable manner in which to order printing. You may love the color on your screen, but every monitor is calibrated differently depending on things as simple as how bright you prefer your monitor display. This makes it impossible for the printer to look at your artwork on their screen and know whether or not it matches the artwork as it appeared on your screen. This is where the hardcopy comes in. Generally if a hardcopy is sent to you, the printer will keep an in-house copy. Once you approve your copy they can then use the in-house copy to ensure the final print comes out correct. There are other options available such as pantone printing or color profiles, but these typically come with a higher price tag. Understandably there isn’t always time for a proof. In such case, be ready to accept the color as is, barring that it doesn’t arrive purple instead of yellow. Most people are sure to love the color anyway, even if it wasn’t exactly what you envisioned.
4. Give yourself a cushion day for delivery
Meetings, events, trade shows, flights – life can feel like a scramble at times. We all know there are those rush situations where printing is needed last minute – it happens. Treat yourself to a little less worry and give yourself that extra cushion day for delivery. Heck, why not give two days. Often times the expense to upgrade turnaround time or shipping time is miniscule compared to the stress incurred when something goes wrong with your rush delivery. Power outages, equipment failures, holiday delays, blizzards – you name it. Of course we shouldn’t go around expecting complete grid meltdown at all times, but a little forethought goes a long way. If nothing goes wrong, at least you’ll have that piece of mind.
5. If something goes wrong, contact customer service, be nice and let your needs be known
The order didn’t go through the correctly, the artwork had some problems that caused a delay, or the job didn’t arrive when it was supposed to – things happen. Think to yourself what you need to remedy the situation before contacting your printing company’s customer service. Understand that customer service representatives do want to help you – just let them know exactly what you want in a polite manner. If you treat them as a friend, they will want do whatever they can for you. You may need to remain patient and stick to your guns; but, if you stay calm throughout the experience will be a much more pleasant one. Business is all about negotiation, and companies ultimately want to make you happy within reason. In the end, you may need to compromise depending on the situation, but chances are you’ll get what you want without the stress.