Should you be planning your printing? (Short answer: yes)

This is part one in our series about how effective print planning can boost your business. Subscribe to our blog to stay updated on the series. The idea of actually finding the time to sit down to think about and then plan out your printing probably sounds laughable. With the stresses of needing to drive revenue hanging over your head the last thing you want to be concerned about is margins or banner sizes. But what if I told you that taking that planning time could actually save you money? We’ve spoken a lot in previous blogs about all the ways that printing can help you control costs — from ensuring you’ve got the right expertise around to ensure fit-for-purpose prints, to moving away from an ad-hoc approach. Well, another huge factor that can affect cost controls in your business is whether or not you effectively plan your prints. There’s a HUGE difference between a well-planned print job and one that’s been haphazardly thrown together. Getting what you need out of printing all comes down to how well prepared you are right from the beginning.

Creating a solid plan for you printing can reap a huge range of benefits

Failing to plan your printing effectively can lead to:
  • Making mistakes in print jobs
  • Using the wrong materials
  • Overpaying on stock or services
  • Printing something you don’t need or isn’t right for your business.
There are some key areas where many businesses fail to plan, leaving them in hot water:

The Structure

What do I mean by failing to plan print structure? Well, here’s a common scenario — you’ve probably experienced something like it: You want a specially branded folder to hand out on a training day. You get your designer to create a perfectly sleek, eye-catching design. You get a range of print quotes to find the best one. You choose the exact stock you want. And it comes back from the printer with half the design cut off by a glue flap. You’ve gone from a sleek, high-quality idea to a messy and unusable waste of money. That stock and complex folding didn’t come cheap, and now you’re going to have to pay to get it re-done. And it’s all because of a failure to plan all the details. I see it all the time; binding errors, glue flaps, and just generally poor placement of anything structural. It all comes down to a lack of experience and a failure to plan ahead.

From folders to banners, it’s vital to plan the structure of a print

The Use Situation

Failing to consider where and how your printed product is going to be used is one of the best ways to make sure it won’t be suited to that purpose. This is especially the case for items that need to be used outdoors — have you accounted for weather or durability? And if it’s for an indoor event or booth — have you considered transportation and setup? If you’ve designed a banner that needs 7 guys, a crane, and a degree in aeronautical engineering to set up, then it’s probably not right for a one-day event.

Have you considered the elements and the ease of transportation?

The Quantity

When most businesses order collateral — be it business cards, flyers or folders — they have a tendency to over-purchase because of the perception that it’s “cost-effective” to bulk buy. But what are you really going to do with all that extra product? All those extra business cards for a person who doesn’t even work for you anymore? What are you going to do with all those letterheads dated from last year?

Is printing in bulk really worth it?

You can see how a failure to plan any of these factors can lead to a huge waste of money, storage and time.

“How can I get better at planning my printing?”

The key to getting better at planning your printing is to consider all aspects. To get started, you should first ask yourself these three questions:
  • What are your overall objectives?

This is key. What’s the point of this print? What goal is it working towards, and how is it going to help you get there?
  • What are you trying to sell?

Obviously, any piece of collateral needs to be working towards paying for itself. Ask yourself how this piece is going to generate business for you — and from where.
  • What are you trying to achieve out of this printed piece?

Whether it’s giving customers an easy way to contact you, grabbing their attention, or giving them a reusable piece that will help them remember you, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re trying to achieve. This will help you ensure you’re creating the best possible printed piece you can.  

Not sure where to start? Get advice from an expert

One of the best things you can do to ensure you’re being proactive about printing and planning is to get some consultation and advice. At Inkifingus, we know all the ins-and-outs of printing, and it’s second nature to us to consider every single factor. We also offer co-sourced printing, which gives us access to a huge number of suppliers. It means we’re capable of getting you exactly what you need, in the right materials, at the right amount. Contact Inkifingus today if you would like to know more about the benefits that our expert planning advice can offer your business. Or, if you’d like more information on Inkifingus’ extensive range of products and services, you can download our product brochure here.
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