I’m continuing my tips for saving on design (see the previous post about saving on web design), and today I’m writing about saving on print design. So many of us with small businesses need postcards, flyers, and brochures, and may not have the time, software, or skills to design them for ourselves. Here are some tips for working with a print designer.

1. Decide how you want to print your project

To prepare your print job as efficiently as possible, a print designer will want to know how you want to have your piece printed. Will you be having it offset printed? If so, choosing a printer at the beginning of the project can save time (and money) because the designer can prepare the file to the printer’s specifications. Offset files, short run print solutions, online print providers, or files (such as letterhead) which you can print from your own computer may require slightly different design solutions, and converting between different formats is possible but will incur additional costs.

2. Decide when you want your project completed

Every company can think of a time when something came up and they needed an ad, brochure, or postcard in record time. Lots of designers are willing and able to work on accelerated schedules, but almost all will charge more for rush work. If you can plan well in advance, you will generally be rewarded with a smaller invoice.

3. Prepare your own content

Content development services may be provided by the company designing your print piece, but these services are not usually included with a print design. Developing your own text and providing graphics and photos will save you the expense of content development.

4. Provide content in digital form

As with web design, to save even more from your print costs, provide your content in digital form (usually Word or text files for your written content, high resolution JPEG or TIFF files for your photos and logos). For photos, logos,etc., a resolution of 300 dpi is generally required for print work.

5. Submit only finalized text for layout

This is important for web design, but vital for print. Be sure that you’re providing only your final drafts of materials. Fitting text around graphics is like putting together a puzzle, and if you make significant changes to the text, the pieces won’t fit together the same way. Providing edited or rewritten text after a designer has created the layout of your print piece will sometimes require a complete redesign. This is like paying for the same job twice! Easy solution: finalize your text before you send it to the designer.

6. Check your print proofs carefully

Whenever your designer provides proofs for your review, check them carefully. The most important set are the final print proofs; your project will print exactly as it is represented in these proofs, so make sure these are right. If you have chosen to have your piece offset printed, changes to your pieces after this point can be very expensive. Even if you’re printing at Kinko’s, hundreds of copies of a typo can get expensive. A few minutes of care can really save.

Please let me know if you found these tips or the previous web design saving tips helpful! Also let me know if you have any other tips to share–add your comments below!