Printing

Successful Print Campaigns Start Here

Think that choosing a printer comes at the end of the print design process? Think again!

Every day at Hotcards, we deal with customers that have the same problem. They've got a great print design or concept, but it can't be implemented because it wasn't actually designed for printing.

“Not designed for printing?” Our confused customers say. “But that's impossible! What other purpose would I have designed a tri-fold brochure for, if not for printing?”

Let me rephrase.

Although your print campaign materials were certainly designed for printing, they weren't designed for printers. Each printing house has its own unique standards when it comes to technical specs like coloring, resolution, bleeds, trim and fold markings, and even file format. These standards are created and strictly adhered to because printers know what their printing equipment needs to produce the most high-quality work possible.

It can be frustrating to customers to have to change designs that they've already put a ton of R&D into. This is especially true if you're a designer and you have a pet project that has to look “just so.” But if we ever took on a job that didn't fit our technical specs (for example, if the file sent to us was less than 300dpi), it would come out with some serious problems, whereas a few alterations now, at the end of the design process, can guarantee the exact results you are expecting.

In fact, why wait until the end of the process? Starting a project by choosing a printer means less work, and time and money saved in the long run.

Beginning a project by choosing a printer will also give you ideas in terms of style, such as knowing the grade and gloss of the paper your print design will go on, and in terms of practical matters like timeframes. Does your printer promise a fast turnaround, like Hotcards? Or will it be weeks before your job is done? Knowing this stuff can be pretty important when deadlines are a priority.

At Hotcards, the things we need from our customers aren't complicated. In fact, we make the design process as easy as possible in two pretty cool ways.

First, we have templates available to download from the site which give you the exact specs to design within for almost all the different kinds of printing we do. To find these templates, just go to the Hotcards product page of your choice, click the “Templates” tab, choose the printing size you need, and download it! This little document tells you everything you need to know to get your job ready for print, in terms of design, AND in terms of the format the design should be delivered in.

Second, you might want to consider having your design work done through Hotcards. Around here, designers and printers work together closely, which is really the best way to produce a top-notch finished product. In filmmaking, a director would never just storyboard a scene and then leave it to the cameraman to shoot, but this lack of collaboration happens in the world of print design all the time. At Hotcards, we've seen firsthand that a unified process creates results with the most integrity.

So next time you're beginning a print design project, but you don't have a printer in mind, stop! Rewind! Start at square one the right way by choosing a printer, so that you can design with results in mind, and together we can create the best finished product possible.

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