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Printing Services Guide

Hiring a commercial printing service will add pizzazz to your brochures, flyers, business cards, and any other stationery product. Most people will think of the spectrum of colors a designer can create, but providing colors is just one of the abilities of a printing service. Designers can fold, laminate, and bind as well to make your advertisements more interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

It will be beneficial for your business; but, there are ways to go about this most involved process. How much do you know about commercial printing? There are choices to consider pertaining to paper, ink, colors, finishing, press technology, etc. The more you know about the process, the better the final product will resemble your desires. The following article is constructed to serve as a guide to commercial printing:

Before the press
The beginning of the process involves readying the text and graphics you would like to be printed. Supplementing the printing process with a graphic designer will provide for the most optimal results. Whether the graphics and text are coming from a designer or in-house, you have to confer with the printer about what formats will be most compliant with their systems.

Once the printer has your design, they will print out (usually in black and white) a prepress proof. If this appears to be adequate and meets your standards, then the next stage will commence.

Printing Press
The project will now move to the printing press. The printer will place the project on the press using printing plates, paper, and ink. The printer will run off one copy (a press proof) in order for the customer to fully evaluate what the final copy will look like and if it is as they desire. Press proofs are expensive, but they are worth scrutinizing before the whole job is under way.

Most professionals will tell you that the prepress proof should be meticulously scanned even before the press proof to add extra reassurance that there will be no disappointments. Unfortunately, finding a mistake at the press proof stage will cost extra money because the printer will have to reset the press and then provide another press proof.

Beyond the press
It takes one to two days for the ink to dry after the pressing process; after, the printer will then collate, fold, trim, and bind the printed material.

A major component of the process is choosing the right paper for your job. The printer will be able to offer their experienced suggestions. The weight and thickness of the paper will factor into the decision in choosing the right paper for the job.

The thickness of the paper may be a determinant in how well the ink settles onto the paper manipulating the visual pleasure of the product.

The weight of the paper will have a direct effect on the mailing price of the final products.
The coloring process is divided into the number of colors needed. Using up to three colors (black counts as one color) usually warrants the spot color process. Spot colors are identified through the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The colors are assigned a code in order to keep the same hue each time you print.

Full colored documents such as photographs require using a four-color process. The process is able to produce any color using a mixture of four ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

The professional
It is usually more profitable for printers to work in a niche market, meaning that the more specialized they become in one area (such as poster, postcards, business cards, etc.) the more beneficial it will be to their bottom line. Many businesses work with several printers depending on the job they seek to have fulfilled (most businesses will not devote all of their printing needs to only one printer).

Prices can fluctuate dramatically depending on the printer. The printer's experience, equipment, and the size of the job, and colors, ink, and paper used will serve as factors contributing to the final price. Most experts will tell you to get quotes from at least five providers and then research what each specializes in to make the best match for your particular job. To be more cost effective, order a large quantity of product if you know that you will be able to later use them.

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