Imagine an artwork your client has sent you for their upcoming marketing campaign that includes brochures, standees, and hoardings. You have been asked to print them and deliver them. You prepare your printing machines and put everything into production. Unfortunately, the print doesn’t come out the way it should be, and the colors are a little skewed, or the artwork is not coming out distinctively as it was looking on a computer screen. Sounds familiar!
Instantly you approach customers showing the outcome, they reject the whole order, and you have to reprint the entire thing again. This leads to a waste of effort, and material, delay in printing, brand goodwill at stake, and unhappy customers, which is the fatal result. Both printers and print customers need to know the requirements for a better printing outcome.
We usually tend to think that is the problem with either machine or ink or production process, but there can be multiple things in the picture, and it can be from your customer’s end as well. Printing production majorly involves three-step production: Pre-press (which involves the preparation of material, artwork, and combining all the things required to put the print into production), printing, and Post-press (which involves finishing work binding, versioning, etc.).
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These three processes involved in printing have different sets of requirements, and a separate set of the checklist must be followed to get the print right at the end. Because –
“The quality of your print starts before you print it.”
Why Print Quality Deteriorates?
There can be different reasons for the deterioration in print quality, such as the use of low-quality images, font types, and size, low-resolution files put into printing, or design errors. The prepress process or the printing or designing anything, if went wrong, can impact your printing quality—the accurate print results from every step done right and with full accuracy in the entire production process. Sometimes printers think the reason for bad printing is only the artwork and fails to evaluate the prepress process and vice versa. Depending on the kind of printing process followed (be it screen printing or digital printing), the checklist for preliminary steps can vary; one has to ensure that every step is being followed carefully for a good outcome.
The problem aggravates when you have the same client for years and hold multiple logos, brochures, and other print-ready files. Lack of automation can lead to duplication of files and printing of wrong files in the first place. If things are not fixed in the pre-press phase, it is really costly to fix them later. Technologies are made to make businesses easier, and the print industry is embracing such technologies to make their jobs faster, more accurate, and error-free. The right web-to-print solution with all the features of print automation can help you keep a constant check on all the essential elements of print-ready files.
Similarly, sometimes, workflow approvals are not very tightened and followed properly as things are being communicated either verbally or in emails leading to confusion. Instead, a print management software that provides inbuilt workflow approvals being assessed by end-users and print admin is a much easier way of getting approvals on time and printing the right piece to avoid any reprints and wrong printing files.
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Ways to Reduce the Errors
Things got tougher for personalized printing businesses as in the digital age, your customers you images that are shot by the camera and expect a similar output that they see on mobile screens. The most pressing issues are the inevitable mismatch between screen output and printed piece (be it a t-shirt or mug). You can avoid this by setting up a digital imaging workflow and using an excellent digital colorimeter to help you calibrate to create a match between customers’ expectations and output.
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Also, suppose personalized printing businesses are giving designing tools on their websites. In that case, proper instructions should be given about the use of the material in printing, image resolution to be used by customers, size of design, and enhancements to support the creation of artwork. This will create less hassle and to and fro of designs between you and customers and give a good head start to your printing project.
Technologies cannot replace humans, and thus, it is advisable to have a professional designer at your end to assess and improve the artwork and designs sent by your customers. Ensure that you use professional tools like Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and Illustrator to design and improve your customers’ artwork. Colors are converted to CMYK rather than RGB.
Apart from the technologies helping get the quality of your print right, certain aspects of using the right raw materials, suitable inks, paper, mesh, and light conditions must determine your customers’ print quality. The customers must be suggested about the right material for printing, the type of printing, and the required time for printing it.
Customer expectations change very rapidly, and thus, limited print production and more customized one-offs are in demand. Low-volume printing makes it necessary to inspect every minute element of the design. Usually, designers working at the customer’s end may miss out few details while designing, and before putting it into production, printers must analyze it correctly.
Printing is a big investment for your customers, and quality matters greatly. Producing prints that are not worth the investment is unsuitable for your buyers. Your print quality depends on printing, paper, ink, and print resolution; getting these four factors right is the key to high-quality printing and returning happy customers.