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Printer Charming: How to Choose a Commercial Printer Back

So, your newsletter is all written, edited, and proofread. Your articles are interesting and your design looks great. What’s missing? The final step—printing.

Many newsletter producers will print out their newsletter on their own printer and make copies on a photocopier. That is a great solution for a limited budget and a small run. You may find that this option is all you ever need.

But what if you want to print a tabloid sized (11 x 17 inch) newsletter and your copier only handles 8½ x 11 inch paper? What should you do if you want a more polished, professional look? Do you want to print in a color other than black? It may be time to use an outside printing service.

There are so many commercial printers out there. It can be difficult to choose which printer is best for you. If you’re wondering what is the best way to find and work with a printer, consider these tips.

Start at Home

Consider your budget carefully. Knowing how much you can spend allows your printer to understand your limitations and assist you in making the right choices. Be honest with your printer about your budget. But also expect to pay for quality printing services. Ask questions of your printer before you submit your job for printing. You will then be aware of any extra charges due to special paper, ink, or folding work beforehand.

Shop Around

Call or visit several printers in your area and discuss your newsletter project with them. Ask friends and business associates for recommendations. Make sure to ask for samples of their work. It is a good idea to view a sample as it comes off the press. Just looking at the samples they have on file won’t give you a complete idea of their day-to-day printing output. When choosing a commercial printer, don’t base your decision solely on price. Customer service, quality of work, and commitment to fulfilling your order on time are just as important.

Be Realistic

You can’t have full color printing for a small run of newsletters at a price that will fit most community’s budget. You can’t get your final proof to the printers in the morning and expect it back that afternoon. You can’t expect to have a newsletter printed on hot pink paper in blue ink look good. Printers have limitations. It is helpful to be realistic and to ask questions before your job is printed. Also, the more flexible you are, the smoother your job will go. Remember this general rule of thumb. When getting a document printed, you are looking for quality, price, and speed. You will generally end up with two. For example, you can get a great looking publication printed on time, but it may cost you more. Or you can get good quality on your newsletter at a bargain price, but this job may take longer. Fast and cheap usually means lower quality. Decide what is most important to you and discuss this with your printer. If you are unsure about something, just ask.

Develop a Relationship

Once you find a printer that you like, foster that relationship. You will have a good understanding of what to expect and will come to trust in your printer’s judgment. Your printer, in turn, will better understand your needs and the manner in which your work is presented. By anticipating your needs, your printer can schedule your work ahead of time and offer you faster turn-around time. If you ever need any other printing done, you will have a trusted partner to turn to and can be confident in the results.

Before you pick your printer, read our important list of questions to ask a printer.


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