Where’s the best place to buy print?

by Rich B

When you have a particular print job in mind, it’s important to look at which printing process will give you the quality you need at the most cost effective price. Each Print project is different and has to be first assessed in terms of which printing process is best suited to your requirements.

For example, something like the Radio Times magazine, where hundreds of thousands of copies are required on a weekly basis, would be produced on a large web offset press (more than likely a 64pp Web Offset press). Web offset presses like these print from reels of paper and can fold in-line thousands of printed sections per hour. As these presses fold in-line, they are usually restricted to lighter weights of paper. These presses have a considerable setup cost before they even start to print – creating the plates, making sure that the quality of the print and the folding is correct. This set up cost is, however, a one-off cost and can be spread over the hundreds of thousands of magazines being produced

Now take a design agency project for example. They require a few hundred high-quality, laminated and perfect-bound company brochures for a client. The setup costs on a large web offset press would probably run to almost the entire budget.

48 page web offset printing press

Do NOT print your 100 business cards on one of these!

So for this particular project, the print buyer should be looking for a printer with a sheetfed press. These sheetfed presses are smaller in format than larger Web offset presses, they print from sheets rather than from reels and they fold off-line rather than on-line. As these presses fold off-line, they are usually restricted to the heavier weights of paper. Therefore the cost to set up these and run these sheetfed presses is relatively low in comparison to the Web offset presses.

So, all factors must be taken into consideration when putting together a print specification - quantity / page size / number of colours / weight of paper / finishing style.

So, you can see that placing this project with the right printer will result in more efficient use of resources – all contributing to a better quality product, less wastage and a consequent lower final cost.

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