This time, it's printing, the make and break of a good project. Bad printing is the printers fault, but ultimately in the clients eyes it'll be your fault. On top of that, if you haven't got your process right it will be your fault anyway. It's very unlikely when using a good printer, that you'll get anything back other than what you asked for—they are specialists just like yourself, but they can only work with what you've given them.
I once heard the saying "Every good president has an even better woman behind him" in reference to Obama's term in office, and I feel the same can be said for a designer. Every good designer will have a good printer behind them and in the same vane, every printer has good files behind them. So hopefully these tips will help you make sure that you can keep your printer happy.
Tip 1: Start your day right.
Not with a bowl of horribly sweet cereal but in-fact making sure to set up your documents correctly. Are you working with something that will be printed? Make sure it's CMYK, make sure it's 300 DPI and make sure you've got the right dimensions. If possible try creating the work as flexible as possible, using vectors and high quality scans where possible—because if you are making an A5 flyer, it's very possible that could easily become an A2 poster.
Tip 2: Always expect your printer to be busy.
Taught to me by my tutor, he explained that you should always plan for your printer to be busy. You'll never really know how busy they are, but if you give them no time to produce lots of work; you'll either get rubbish work and nothing at all.
Tip 3: Know your onions.
Shallots are the small ones. Understand?
Try your best to understand what you are asking for, as it'll help your printer understand what you need. Things to keep in mind are which process it might need, what type of printing are you asking for, what paper stock would you like to use and even what type of printer will be printing the work. Are you using pantones, can they print pantones? It's impossible for anyone to understand exactly what you need, if you don't know that yourself.
Tip 4: Treat as you would want to be treated.
The printer is providing a service to you, just as you are to someone else—so don't be a prick.
They are quite literally in the same industry boat as yourself, so if you start rocking that boat, shouting uneducated profanity at them because you weren't aware of what you actually needed, then you will also sink with them; getting very damp shins in the process.
Tip 5: Get a copy of the print handbook.
For a steal of under £10, I've found this little booklet stupidly helpful. From being able to quickly reference a large variety of paper sizes to having visual representations and test prints of various processes and pit-falls. It's always on my desk and it's just that lovely little cue I need to make sure I'm doing it correctly.
See you next time sexy pants; love Vincent x