Everyone buys printing at some point. Few know what they want or how to ask for it. Most got the project dropped in their lap with an impossible deadline and no real budget to work with. If you are “that guy” just now or the one man printing committee for the PTA this will help.
Pick only two:
For quality and cost, you need time.
For cheap quick, you sacrifice quality.
For cheap you can only have one or the other fast or good.
The buzzwords are: artwork, size, quantity, specs and deadline. Sounds like another language. It can be but with a little direction, you can go prepared when you start asking for quotes for printed items.
Cost is always the all-important idea, or the Cheap. How much is always the first question right? Well if you stepped on a car lot and asked that, they would say, “For what?” A car or truck, lease or purchase etc. Purchasing printing is exactly the same challenge. A little more information to answer that all-important bottom-line question.
The first and last question is about artwork. Do you have it? Does it exist? Are we creating it? The minimum commercial standard for printing is an Adobe .pdf file. Desktop publishing only works on your home printer. Bring a copy or a sketch of what you want, but the printing, must process from a professional file. So expect a cost to create artwork.
A picture from the web will not work. DPI or Dots per inch must be at least 300, to be reproduced, as a quality printed item. What you get on the web is only 94DPI and will look like a 4th generation copy, all ragged and jagged.
Next the specs: What is it? How big is it? What is the application? How many do you need?
How do you want it packaged? Packaging conserves waste.
Finally, when do you need it? This is where it gets ticklish. For quality and cost, you need time. For cheap quick, you sacrifice quality. For cheap you can only have one or the other fast or good.
Good, Fast, Cheap – Pick 2