The Cart Before the Horse: Graphic Design Services

graphic design services EBA PrintingEvery week we see two to three design projects which did not take into account the print and bindery production cost before the design was completed. It is important to consult with your printer about graphic design services for the project before hiring someone to do designs. A prospective client will engage a designer assuming that this person has taken into account the cost of making a catalog, letterhead, etc. Here are some real life examples.

A prospective client sent us artwork for letterhead, matching envelopes and business cards for two people. The letterhead had “bleed” (printing to edge of the paper) on 3 sides, the envelope had full bleed on all 4 sides, and the business card was full bleed both sides plus rounded corners. The quantities for this project were 500 or 1000 for the stationery and matching envelopes and 1000 of each of the business cards. The ink was two PMS colors. For the business letterhead you need to print on a larger sheet and then cut it to size increasing the letterhead cost by over $60 for either quantity. The envelopes required “conversion” (printing a flat sheet and then die cut and form the envelope). This process added an additional $685 to the project. Lastly to get smooth rounded corners you need to die cut the cards which added $110. The owner of the business of course got sticker shock and had us redesign the envelope so it did not bleed and they got rid of the rounded corners on the cards.

An existing customer two weeks ago had their catalog redesigned by a new designer. The catalog was 32 pages and they wanted 1500 pieces. The new design had embossing on the front cover and they wanted spot UV. Previously they had this catalog printed using 80# gloss text throughout. To do embossing on the cover you need to use cover stock at least 80# cover or more. In addition, a custom die needs to be made for the embossing, film for the spot UV, and all of the associated production costs. The bottom line of the project cost went up over $1800. This particular customer did not do these enhancements because of budget consideration.

With both of these examples the per unit cost would not be that expensive if they were doing much larger quantities like 10,000+. There are fixed costs for any kind of customization whether doing 500 or 10,000 pieces. In addition, more pieces need to be printed due to waste in the manufacturing process. For example, for conversion of an envelope, at least 500 to 1000 envelopes are wasted in the setup process for die cutting & gluing.

The mistake with both of these projects was that the business owner/decision maker should have discussed with us (or another printer) what they were thinking and get preliminary production cost. Both people in the above cases assumed their designers were “business people” who would take cost into consideration.

A good printing company will provide you a wealth of consulting if you ask them for assistance with your custom designed marketing collateral ideas. Once you know what the printing, bindery and finishing process costs will be, you can then look at graphic design services. This will avoid wasting money with a designer on a project you will never implement.

Great customer service, friendly, easy to work with. The quality of the work is excellent. I recommend EBA Printing all the time.

Moshe R., Mequon, WI

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