The old saying “the devil is in the details” applies tenfold to print production. However, knowing every last detail, or anticipating every problem, is essentially impossible—even for the most scrupulous manufacturing partner. Mustering all the possible job information for your manufacturer, even when the devil is nestled in it, will more than likely make you look rather angelic.
Handling specs carefully can make for easier production, not to mention the possible polishing of your reputation as a thorough vendor. The more specific specs are, the more often you’ll appear as someone who has, to use another popular phrase, “all your ducks in a row.” Moreover, a thorough set of specs can minimize unwelcome surprises lurking in communications with clients.
Specs clearly need to provide such basic information as color and size, as well as the client’s overall expectations and vision for a project. But, specing extends beyond these bare bones, according to “The Basics of Print Production,” a publication released by PIA/GATF, headquartered in Sewickley, Pa., and authored by Mary Hardesty-Kuhn.
For example, over-offering information is a safer bet than offering less. Preliminary specifications should display the high-end of your clients’ expectations, including the largest number of images needed, and the job’s possible workload. Then come those pesky details.
Courtesy of Lisa Erdner, PIA/GATF marketing manager, the following tips, found in PIA/GATF’s publication can ensure smooth sailing when specing commercial printing.
Begin by establishing a checklist to keep yourself—and your customers—focused on essential elements including:
• Printing and finishing
• Special instructions
• Shipping and handling
The prepress section requires a well-rounded account of the amount and size of the job’s images, the type and quality of the file the printer will receive and client expectations concerning how the images will be handled, placed and produced, as well as when the files will be completed.
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