The first step in dealing with printers is to obtain a written estimate for the job you want done. Unlike many of the people discussed above, printers will always give you a written estimate provided they know exactly what you want.
In addition to size, the printer will need to know
- the number of colors you intend to use
- the number of photographs or transparencies
- the weight of paper you want.
You should discuss the paper with the printer, and ask to see examples of various weights. Weights are given in grams per square meter; as a general rule, the heavier the paper, the more ‘up-market’ the appearance of the final brochure – and the more expensive it is! Ask to see a sample of the paper to be used.
If you are sending it away, send a covering letter explaining anything which is not obvious from the artwork or overlays, together with a purchase order. If your printer is local, then you can take the artwork and other enclosures by hand and explain in person anything you think is unclear. It is still a good idea, however, to enclose an explanatory letter so as to avoid any possible misunderstanding later.
Before doing the print run, the printer should send you a proof to check. If it is a colour job, you should insist on a colour proof. When you get the proof, you should check the following:
- Is everything there? It is not unheard of for a small piece of the artwork to be missing.
- Have all the colors been printed throughout the brochure?
- Are the colors right, and have the photographs been reproduced in their true colors?
- Is it in register? Register is the correct positioning of one color on top of another. A piece of work is out of register, for example, if you can see a strip of yellow peeping out from the edge of a green section. That means that the cyan has not been positioned exactly on top of the yellow. The text can also be out of register, resulting in the letters looking blurred.
- Are there ink or dirty marks on it?
Depending on the size of the brochure, the proof may come in the form of one or more large sheets, with everything shown on one side. This means that it won’t be in page order. Don’t worry about that -the final printing and folding will put it all in the right order.
When you have checked the proof, return it to the printers with any comments and they will print and fold the brochure.