Short run digital printing:

Picking the right printer

Short run print intro

What is digital print?

Why go digital

Picking the right printer

Preparing artwork

Avoiding problems

If things go wrong

Before you embark on a short-run print job you’ll need to find the right print company.

There’s no point in going to a glorified colour copier service if you need a six-colour brochure with print finishing services. Similarly, don’t expect a fine art printer to give you a good deal on knocking out a few letterheads and compliment slips. Finding companies that offer short-run print services is simply a matter of looking through the ads pages of magazines such as MacUser, specialist print magazines, trade directories, and of course Internet searches. Once you have a few candidates you can narrow the list down to the one that fits best. Ask for print samples showing the kind of work you’re considering, and ask a few pertinent questions to make sure you’re fully aware of what they can offer. You’ll need to tailor your questions to suit your own needs, but there are some basics you should always consider. Make sure you know at least the following facts:

  • The kind of digital printing methods which are available
  • The number of colours they support (i.e. CMYK only or with additional specials)
  • The paper sizes which are supported
  • The kind of finishing services (folding, collating, stitching, and so on)
  • The normal turnaround time for your kind of job
  • The resolution of their printer and its normal halftone screen frequency
  • The preferred format for supplying artwork
  • The ways artwork can be delivered to the printer

You should also ask the printers for any tips and tricks that they can pass on to make the process smoother. You will probably find that some of their advice isn’t necessarily best practise for all print processes, but do bear in mind that they should know their equipment well. If you’re sure you’re talking to the right person, consider all their recommendations carefully.

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