5 Tips for Optimizing Your Print Budget

Great printing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. A little pre-planning and smart choices can make your budget stretch further than you might expect.

For most marketers, tight budgets are a reality. How do you stretch those dollars to get the most impact? Here are five tips for getting the most out of your next printing project.

1. Work within the press format size

Different presses have maximum paper sizes. Knowing the dimensions of your printer’s press(es) allows you to maximize the cost-effectiveness of your output. On a 13” x 19” digital press, for example, 6” x 9” postcards can be run four-up. On a 20” x 29” press, they can be run nine-up. By maximizing the space on the sheet, your cost per piece goes down.

2. Prep the file carefully

Before printing, files go through a process called preflight. Files are checked to make sure they are formatted properly and contain the proper elements, such as fonts, image files, margins, and bleeds. Files that need to be corrected often incur a charge, so prepare your files carefully.

3. Know the breakeven between processes

Depending on the length of your runs, you can switch between digital production and offset production. For shorter runs, digital will cost you less per piece. For longer runs, offset may be more cost effective. The crossover point at which one process becomes more cost-effective than another is called the breakeven. Knowing that breakpoint can save you money.

4. Consider different format options

The beauty of printing is that there are so many different formats to choose from, and some formats cost more (or less) than others. You can save money on your direct mail, for example, by using a three-panel self-mailer rather than a printed letter in an envelope. Likewise, a 4” x 6” postcard will cost less than a 6” x 9” one. But consider the impact on response rates before making a switch.

5. Use our house stock

Designers have a wide range of specialty stocks to choose from, and while these stocks offer tremendous creative flexibility, they will often cost more. Our house stock works great for most applications, and it costs a lot less because it is being purchased in bulk. Ask to see samples of our house stock and see whether you can get the same great results at a lower price.

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