Top 6 Worst Mistakes to Avoid in Managing Print Projects

by Rich W

Here are our top 6 commonly made mistakes that can all lead to late projects, increased costs and sleepless nights – as told by someone who’s managed hundreds of printing projects (and has the scars to prove it) – new blogger Rich W:

1. Not Making the Specification Clear
No.1 on the hit parade is the need to clearly and accurately define the final specification before the order goes to your printing services company (or printer). Totally accurate, unchanging specifications of precisely what you want printing are vital. If you change specs after placing the order, it can lead to extra costs/later delivery/increased admin.

2. Often Overlooked – Packing options
It’s very easy to forget about packing options until the last minute, but it will impact on the cost of the job so again, you need to specify exactly how you need your project packing. Having your order boxed will cost more than delivery on pallets but might be important to your warehouse, so make sure you’ve got it covered.

4 cute puppies

Gratuitous and indiscriminate use of a picture of puppies. Use only in case of emergencies when your print project's going wrong!

3. Single Page PDFs
It probably wouldn’t even occur to you if you don’t buy print regularly, but printers prefer each page of artwork as a separate (correctly named) pdf file. It has to be a pdf – many printers won’t use InDesign or Quark files. And if you don’t provide them in single pages, it’ll slow some printers down and others won’t even be able to use them! Provide your artwork in the format they require and your project will run more smoothly.

4. Trim
Make sure everything you want to appear on the finished printed page is at least 5mm inside the edge of the page. If you place anything too close to the trim line, it’s in danger of being trimmed off. For example, any slight variation in the folding could push this ‘live matter’ over the edge of the page when a book is cut to the finished size. Better to be safe than sorry!

5. Proofing
Final proofs are usually sent back to a client to give one last check before production, making sure nothing’s gone wrong during the processing stage. If you make content changes after seeing these proofs, this can have cost/time implications (such as changing plates or even missing press time slots). So once you’ve approved a job for printing, unless it’s an absolutely essential change, try to resist making changes.

6. Don’t Miss Artwork Deadlines
If you miss the deadline for providing artwork, this will often move the printing time, meaning your printing project will be delivered late. If you need delivery at a certain time, your printing services provider will tell you when they need final, approved artwork for. If you know up front that you won’t be able to make the artwork deadline, let your printer know and they’ll usually do their utmost to move the slot on-press or upgrade the delivery method (though sometimes this will incur an extra cost).

The Moral of this Tale
To get a good job provided to deadline and cost, keep your specifications tight, keep talking to your printing services provider and deliver your artwork in the right format and on time. Do all these things and you’ll be 95% of the way towards printing project happiness!

And if things still go wrong, there’s always the picture of the puppies to make you smile again!

See also:
All about preflighting artwork for printing (if you’ve never heard the phrase, you probably ought to check this out!)

Getting the printed colour you want – 5 step guide to Pantone

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