Smooth Project Planning From Start to Finish

A successfully completed project doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of a careful collaboration with your printing partner from start to finish. Sound project planning should help alleviate headaches and prevent any unexpected outcomes.

The most important planning consideration is maintaining good communication with your printer. From the outset, let the printer know your project expectations. The printer will then explain what’s possible within the given timeframe.

James Printing helps customers keep their projects on track by offering these helpful tips:

Make a Schedule: Get your project off on the right foot by working with your printer to formulate a schedule that works for both parties. Establish a timeline for when the piece needs to be in the hands of the recipient. Once this foundation has been set, your project will flow smoothly.

Delivery Options: Deciding which delivery option can best meet your deadlines is crucial. Is local delivery the best solution or does the product need to ship across the country? Consider the level of postage you want to use; first class or standard pre-sort, (http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/ratesandfees.htm#wp3787938). Your budget and delivery needs will be the deciding factors. If you elect standard pre-sort, the United States Postal Service (USPS) could take longer to deliver your project. Any delays can seem like an eternity, especially if you’re dealing with time-sensitive material for an open house or special offer where items must arrive in advance of the event.

Account for Creative Processes: Projects routinely involve creative elements such as copywriting, art direction and photography, which take time to develop. This needs to be accounted for within your timeframe. Delays in “creative” stress downstream production processes and can only be made up by your printer to a point.

Preflighting: File-related problems are the biggest schedule-buster in the print production process. Preflighting your files prior to sending them to James Printing can save a great deal of time and aggravation. Preflighting is typically accomplished using software that checks your project for both obvious (missing fonts) and obscure (latest version of images and layout files) problems. Preflight software then consolidates all necessary files into easy-to-find folders and flags any potential problems, allowing you to send print-ready files the first time.

Proofing: Generally, it takes about 24 to 48 hours to have a proof in hand. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the proofs to be reviewed. Once the proof has been reviewed, allow time for any corrections to be made. The turnaround period here is usually 24 hours.

Consider Your Paper, Ink Choices: Another factor in project planning is the type of paper being used. If the paper is a house stock, there’s no lag time for the job to go to press. If it’s a specialized stock, it has to be ordered, which usually takes three to five days. Some inks may take longer to dry, such as reflex blue, metallics and specialty inks, so be sure to factor this into your planning equation.

Finishing Adds Extra Steps: Once the product is off the press, it goes to the bindery for finishing. If the product needs to be trimmed and folded to final size, that’s one thing, but if foil stamping, die cutting or glue pockets are required, count on adding time to your job for each extra step.

Packaging & Shipping: After the project leaves the bindery, you need to consider how it’s packaged for shipping. Does it bulk ship at the post office or does it have to be shrink wrapped in small packages? If any additional items accompany the finished product, such as a letter and business card, make sure they are also included.

Good project planning just doesn’t happen. It takes a well-coordinated effort involving you and your printer to ensure that everything comes together as intended.

The James Printing Advantage
Since 1971, James Printing has helped hundreds of companies achieve their goals by providing high quality printed materials to meet evolving communication needs. James Printing offers a wide range of graphic arts capabilities including expert job planning, instant preflighting, complementary proofreading, technically advanced litho and digital printing, complete bindery services, round-the-clock production and comfortable-as-silk hand holding at every step.

We’re centrally located in Kansas City, Missouri, for easy access to just about anywhere. James Printing is more than a printer; we’re a complete communications solution provider.