Help! I need a brochure 2

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Sabina Heggie  -  

No 2 in a series  about sourcing a brochure for your business.

When you’re first thinking about a new brochure, there are a number of important decisions you need to make to ensure a smooth, successful project.

Decision 2: Who will print my brochure?

A four colour offset printing press

You may think it strange that the decision about who should print your brochure comes in so early on, since printing is the last stage of the project. But there’s a good reason why you need to think of printing early. That’s because printing is likely to take the biggest chunk out of your brochure budget.  Printing costs are likely to be the controlling factor on the size of your brochure and how many copies you decide to print.

A printer will be able to give you a ballpark print cost up front, but be careful about  relying on ballpark costs.  Many factors can affect the final price, nearly always in an upwards direction. The printer usually can’t give you a firm price until he or she sees the final artwork for the job and you choose the paper stock.

There are other reasons for involving the printer early on.

First, you need to understand that good printers are craftspeople. They are very proud of their product and will often give you free advice and ideas, based on their experience.

Second, printing takes time. It’s not just a case of pressing a button. Setting up a print job is a multifaceted operation. After the presses have stopped, the inks take time to dry and then it has to be bound, collated, packed and shipped. So you need to ask the printer how much time to allow for printing. Then you can work backwards to figure out how much time you have for writing, design, revisions and approval.

Why is printing so expensive?

In the age of the internet you can get a website up and looking respectable for a few thousand dollars. Then, if you’re lucky, it may get millions of visits for no extra cost.

Printing is different. You may be dismayed to find that printing a hundred copies of your brochure is only slightly cheaper than printing a thousand. This is because of the setup costs involved in preparing the artwork and printing press. The setup costs are the same whether you print ten copies or a thousand copies.

What sort of printing press will the printer use?

The printer may use a different press, depending on the number of copies you want. Digital presses are often used for small runs while offset presses are more cost-efficient at printing larger quantities.

What about the print shop on the corner?

The corner shop may be a cheap option but will normally only be able to offer a limited range of papers. It may only have a digital press, therefore, for a bigger job you may want to look further afield. Their press may not be able to print on thicker card, and the quality may disappoint if you are expecting a very a high-quality print job.

If your brochure has extra colours like gold or silver, an unusual shape, shiny or matt varnishes, a flap to hold loose pages or other special features, you need to find a printer who understands and has the capability handle your requirements.

How many print quotes should I get?

When my clients ask me about printers, I recommend they get three quotes. I usually recommend two printers I know and trust, and then I suggest a third who I’ve heard good things about. For simple little jobs, the corner shop maybe one of those who are asked to quote.

A good way to break down print quotes is to work out the cost per copy. I find it’s much easier to say to a client “It will cost you $4.27 a copy if you print five hundred and $3.50 a copy if you print a thousand.” rather than simply giving them large, scary figures.

I hope this helps you get your brochure plans another step down the road. Please call me if you’d like further advice, or to have a chat about how I can help you with your brochure.

Decision 1: The size and shape of the brochure

Decision 3: Choosing a writer and designer