High quality print results – every customer wants them, and every printing company claims to deliver them. As a printer, I do tend to celebrate the consistently beautiful prints coming from my machines. My customers appreciate that, too. But real quality can be measured and achieve in much more practical ways. True high quality print results are a factor of composition, suitability, and production. We’ll get to those in a bit.
What is high quality when it comes to print products?
We can talk about high resolution, vibrant colours, expensive papers, and cool finishing as all being the essentials of a high quality print. However, it is entirely possible that some of those qualities, like high resolution printing, can make image issues pop out. In addition, the expensive papers may be nice, but if they are don’t suit the purpose, they too can reduce the overall appeal of the product. Finally, a beautifully printed piece on premium paper or media may still have little value and be tossed in seconds if it doesn’t contain material that is meaningful to the end user.
About real quality
Real quality means that your print product has value.to the person into whose hands it lands. Done well, your printed material will inspire action. The person who sees it will either do what you want them to do, or they will give your print to someone they know needs to do what you are asking. Real quality means that the print and media support your message, rather than confusing people. Most importantly, a real high quality print builds inspires trust in potential customers. Consequently, it makes your brand look good and brings you a return on your printing investment.
Where quality starts – your composition
So high quality starts long before the print job gets to the print shop. The first important element is composition. In the other words, if you want a high quality result, you need high quality input.
“Garbage in, garbage out”
There are a few simple guidelines here, if you want to get it right
- Create your artwork in the size of your intended print. For instance, letter sized artwork cannot fit into a half letter flyer without creating empty spaces that look odd. Use letter sized artwork for letter sized prints.
- Make sure your artwork has bleeds and a safe zone, so that the text isn’t too close to the edge.
- Use high resolution images (300 dpi). This is especially true of your logo! This means you probably can’t get your images from the internet.
- Along the same line, save your final artwork as a 300 dpi (dots per inch) file. This doesn’t mean that you can use a 72 dpi image in your artwork and then save the whole thing as a 300 dpi file. All that does is make the pixelation in your lower quality image look worse.
For help with this, you can use our design online tool. It will help with most of this. But fair warning: if you find a cool online design tool somewhere, design your piece there and download it to print somewhere else, you can be sure that your downloaded file is very low resolution.
Your content needs to be well written and free of errors. If you need help with that, please ask. If your goal is to inform, give clear information with enough detail that people understand why it matters to them.
Call to Action:
Most importantly, ask your reader to do something! A call to action is a simple request. For instance, buy now, book today, order this week and save 30% are common. If you can create urgency by giving a deadline or creating a fear of missing out (FOMO), even better.
Secondly, high quality prints have suitability
After the composition, the next aspect of a truly high quality print is how the print format and style support your message. It has integrity. This one is simpler than it sounds. For instance, if your content is about how you use environmentally friendly cleaning materials, or you sell organic products, your message is supported by printing on recycled paper. In fact, if it isn’t, you may lose a bit of credibility with then end user. If you don’t use recycled paper, are you really using “green” ingredients? Similarly, if you are selling luxury products and use the “cheap” paper, the print products are confusing. This is where you may benefit from requesting a quote for custom options. One luxury tour company, for example, ordered booklet brochures with every page printed on 16 point gloss card stock. It was an unusual request, but the result was perfectly suited for their product. High quality prints are on media that is suitable for the job. Otherwise, even expensive media can be poor quality in your campaign.
Finally, high quality is completed in production
Ordering your print job is the last big piece. Here again, quality is not necessarily something you can buy. For example, you can insist on printing tickets on 16 point card stock because it costs the most, only to find that the perforation didn’t go deep enough and they are hard to tear apart. Or you want to save money by not laminating a sign, only to have the inks wear off from too much handling. Most importantly, it makes no sense to go to all the trouble of getting your artwork right, with a strong call to action, make all the right print finishing choices, and then send a low resolution file for printing. It happens, regularly..
Simply put, here’s how you get high quality print results every time:
- Prepare artwork that is free of errors, high resolution, and has a clear message and call to action.
- Choose print options that suitably supports your message and values. Don’t confuse your customers.
- Deliver quality files to your printer for production. With good input comes great high quality print results, regardless of the cost of the paper or media.
With all of the pieces in place, you are much more likely to see a return on your printing investment. That is a high quality print result!