Tag Archives: Publishing and Printing

Checking the Press in a Digital Age

The digital press check can be markedly different than the traditional press check. In a majority of instances, you never have to leave your office. Here are some basic tips to follow to ensure that you’ll have a successful experience.

1) What You See Is What You Get – When you review a proof for a digital press job, you’ll be looking at an actual press sheet printed from the digital press. And this is a key difference between digital printing and traditional printing.  The digital press gives the printer the capability of showing you exactly what you can expect on the actual paper you’ll be printing on.  While some proofing systems can run on the actual paper and generally serve the same purpose, you would have to go on a press check to make sure you’re getting an accurate representation of your client’s material.  With digital printing, you can check the sheet at your desk.

2) I Can See Clearly Now – Just like any traditional press check, you should carefully check for all the basics like type, color, clarity, crop marks, and any other potential problem areas.  Since you’re checking an actual press sheet, use a set of the color printouts of the final file you sent to the printer – this will give you something to check against, just in case there was an issue with the file.

3) The Times They Are A-Changing – Digital printing is the perfect fit when you’re using variable data to reach your client’s prospects. Look at the position of the variable data to make sure it is consistent in placement. Ask your printer to bring you several different press sheets so you can see a variety of line lengths for the names, addresses, and any other area that changes.  Remember to watch for type that might reflow in a paragraph due to length of the variable data.

4) Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It – When you have to “color match” a digitally printed piece that was previously printed on a traditional press, ask your printer to run some test sheets so you can see if you need to make any file adjustments. You may encounter this situation from time to time, so it is worth the minimal expense to maintain your client’s brand integrity.

— Tim Kedzierski, Production Manager

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Three steps to a successful direct mail campaign when using variable data

I’m not the Unabomber!

My heritage has granted me the opportunity to be the recipient of endless spelling variations of my last name.  Some have been comical, some have been insulting, and some have been downright mind-boggling.  I do receive a lot of mail with simply

“Tim K.” This can be considered somewhat cowardly, but I’m at least a little less irritated.

I recently received a direct mail piece from a well-known Atlanta printer. I’ve done business with them over the years, so I wasn’t some blind prospect for them. They know who I am and where I work.  It was a nice design, and they used variable data throughout.  But there were some serious issues with the execution.

They totally massacred my name, along with using a former version of our company name. The printer was touting its ability to go the extra mile for its clients.  Do you think I believed them when they couldn’t take the time to check their information?  How much confidence would anyone have in a company that didn’t check its list?

This was totally avoidable.  A little front-end research could have planted the seeds of building on a client-vendor relationship. Instead, the potential business relationship is gone. Lost prospects mean lost dollars.

Here is my advice to anyone using direct mail with variable data:

1) Check your list!  If you are compiling your own list, hire someone to take the time to call and verify all the vital information.  It is pretty basic stuff, really. Name (see spelling), title, company name, address, etc.  You are investing a lot of money to promote your company in the hopes of gaining business. Take the time to earn the right to our business.

2) Check your list often!  If you work in the business, you know that your contacts can move around a lot.  Use some of the professional/social websites like LinkedIn or Facebook to keep up with your prospects.  Update your list and when you’re done – update your list again.

3) Proofread – I have received endless direct mail pieces that are currently in a landfill due to typos. The minute I see one, I toss it to the trash can. Don’t waste my time.

I’m done with my manifesto – off to my one-room shed in the woods.

— Tim Kedzierski, Production Manager


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