As any visual merchandiser and marketer who works for a business that operates in the retail space will know, printing can be a necessary but constant drain on the budget. Between specials, seasonal changes, different colours and materials used, one is often left yelling “It’s going to cost HOW much?!” after they have consulted their printer. However, after 10 years+ in the business, I can tell you that there are ways around this that won’t leave you in a state of shock with a depleted budget. Here are our top money-saving recommendations that won’t see you sacrificing quality:
1. Use Standard Sizes
The print industry is built around the A-series sizes (A1, A2 etc), so if you stick to these you will save money. The stranger the size, the more expensive it gets! There is a really interesting article on Wikipedia about the origin of the standard sizes here.
2. Consider the size of the parent sheet with unique sizes
There may be times when you need a unique size for a certain promotion or piece of in store artwork. We recommend that you talk to your printer and find out what size sheet or roll they will be printing onto before committing to artwork. In the majority of cases, printers will always print onto a sheet that is bigger than the finished piece – this is called a parent sheet. Odd sizes can mean a lot of wastage and cost. Sizing your artwork to suit what your printer is using will give you a better yield, and value for money. For example, with large sheet printing onto a material like corflute, the standard sheet size is 1200mm x 2400mm. Therefore, designing your artwork to fit within the parameters of the sheet will work best.
3. Use CMYK Colours
Despite all of the wonderful colours that exist, not all of them can be produced using CMYK colour model (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK), which is what 99% of printing is done in. If it can’t be done with CMYK, then it will be expensive, and take much longer to produce. If colour is important to your brand or a particular initiative, it’s best to alert your printer ahead of time so you can troubleshoot, or agree on a workable colour alternative.
If you’re looking to print anything with the intention of folding it, like a booklet, it’s best practice to communicate this to your printer, and ask them about scoring ahead of the job.Paper represents about 30% of total printing costs, so you’re never going to make big savings by using a cheaper paper. However, if you want something that requires folding, it can make a big difference. Papers heavier that 150GSM will need to be scored before it can be folded, meaning another set-up and additional cost.
5. Kinds of Artwork
Look at what you’re thinking of getting printed and count how many different kinds of artwork you have. If the answer is more than 2, or the same thing in 4 different colours, the answer is probably too many. Do you really need a red version as well one in blue, pink, and yellow? Probably not. Minimising this will minimise setup, which will reduce the overall cost.
6. Batch Printing
If you know that you will have 10 promotions happening next month, print them all together. Your printer will be able to give you a much better price if you print 10,000 sheets with 10 kinds of different artwork, than if you print 1,000 sheets of one artwork in 10 different colours and materials. This is because when prints are done in a batch, they are done altogether, which takes less billable time, and therefore costs less.
7. Buy More
That seems crazy right? How does spending more save you money? Printing is an industry where economies of scale really matter. This is because of the set up element that is required, which is the same regardless of the job size.At a macro level, all printing quotes are SETUP + MATERIALS. This means the more units you buy, the thinner the setup cost is spread, and the lower the unit cost. Once you’ve paid for the setup you’re really just paying for paper. You could double the quantity, increase the cost by 10% and halve the unit cost. For example if you are buying wine bottle labels, buying a year’s worth of labels will cost you more up front, but will save you money in the long term because you have driven down the unit cost.
Printing is an essential part of the marketing mix for almost all businesses, in particular those with retail outlets. Being aware of print practices, and having open communication with your printer, will save you both time and money, without having to sacrifice quality.Have you got some campaigns in the pipeline that require professional printing? Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote or some expert advice.