Print Buyer Checklist

Success in printing requires scrupulous attention to detail. Organise all information related to your printing job on a "specification sheet" so you and your printer know exactly what you want. Spec sheets are important for filing Request for Quotation forms and purchase orders.

Client name, job title, job description, date.
Item. For example, a 16-page self-cover brochure, catalog, etc. Note that one sheet equals two pages. Use pages when "specifying" a bound piece. All others use sheets and indicate if one-sided or two-sided.

Quantity: Include number of samples and percentages of overs you'll accept.     

Size: Include both flat and finished folded sizes.

Stock: Brand name, colour, finish, weight; is it text, cover, bond etc.?

Ink: Include Pantone numbers, varnishes or in-line coating (spot or overall) for front and back.

Files: Let the printer know what file format will be provided. It's helpful to provide a list of fonts used, as well as any linked graphic files or other components needed to output the final product. The most common problems experienced by prepress operators are missing graphic files or fonts. Some printers prefer to receive .eps or .pdf files to "collect" everything in one file.
Some print customers protect themselves from costly mistakes by "preflighting" files before sending them to the printer. This type of software, using your printers preferences, will check it for output accuracy and provide a report of approval or list errors that need to be corrected.

Proofs: Specify the type of proof required. Some colour proofs are not considered "contract" proofs. This means they are not required to match the press sheet. If an accurate colour proof is required, be sure to specify a contract proof. Blueline proofs are used to check placement, content, and backup - not for colour.

Bindery: Trim, fold (type of fold), die cut, score/perf (litho perf/score or letterpress perf), collate, number, drill (number of holes and hole diameters), padding; stitch, shrink-wrap.

Finishing specialties: Embossing, foil stamping, UV coating, laminating, etc.

Packaging: Carton weight, pallet and labelling.
Due date and delivery instructions. Include address and phone number to call to verifying delivery

Return-artwork instructions: Specify number of boards and/or discs and photo/transparencies to be returned along with number of samples.                                                                          

Quote price: be sure to understand the printer's terms and conditions of sale

Print Buyer's Guide

The following Guide published by GEON is an excellent resource for the Print Buyer