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A Look into the Print Job Process

At R.C. Brayshaw & Company, we take pride in providing our customers with the best service and recommendations for all of their print projects. To help ensure that all projects are processed efficiently and accurately, our customer service team has created a list of the most important elements of processing print jobs for clients. Whether you are an established or new customer we hope that this list helps you prepare for your next print project.

Estimating

ChecklistProcessing a print project often starts with providing customers with an estimate for the cost of the project. Not only does this help our customers stay within their budget, but it gives them estimated dates for completion and delivery. For the most accurate monetary and delivery estimations, the following information is essential:

  • Quantity & Size – Quantity and size determines the best way to print your project and how long it will take.
  • Ink Colors – The ink colors for your project allow us to determine which of our many Heidelberg offset presses or Xerox digital presses will produce the best quality version of your project in the most economical manner possible.
  • Paper Stock – Whether you want Coated or Uncoated and Cover or Text weight we can print on just about any stock. If you have questions about the difference between stocks or would like a recommendation on which stock is ideal for your project, please let us know!
  • Finishing – Tri-fold brochures, flat postcards, stitched magazines or perfect bound catalogs are just a few of the projects our finishing department can handle. We are happy to provide guidance on the best option for your design.
  • Delivery – Where does your project need to go? Do you have limited office space to store your printed materials? We can store your items and make them accessible to you 24/7 on our online portal for later distribution or when it is most convenient for you. Do you have a large distribution list of representatives that need the new project you just had printed? You can send us the list of your reps and their addresses and we will package and drop ship the distribution for you. We can ship wherever you would like or have the items ready to pick up at any of our three convenient locations.

Production

CMYK Printing Color BarOur production team works closely with our customer service team to keep projects flowing smoothly and help guarantee on time delivery. The following are the most frequently asked questions we hear from our customers, and knowing the answers will help you avoid delays in the production process.

  • How should I submit my design files? Ideally projects should be packaged in Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress or as a High Resolution PDF with bleeds. These file formats are the most reliable for us to work with while preparing your project for the presses.
  • What is the difference between laser PDF and final proof? A laser PDF is created to show changes done to a file that are requested by the customer and is normally emailed for review before going to a final proof. A final proof is the last time to view the project and make any changes before moving forward to print.
  • What is the difference between PDF Final Proof and Hard Copy Final Proof? A PDF final proof is a digital proof viewed through email. A hard copy final proof is a physical proof, to see how the finish product will look with final bindery. A hard copy proof is still produced for in-house press review even if a customer only chooses to view a PDF final proof.
  • Why do the “i” & “l” look bold on a final PDF proof? This is a quirk of the PDF display on screen and how it displays half a pixel. If you print out the piece, this digital artifact will disappear and look normal.
  • Does a hard copy proof need to be returned before printing can begin? Yes, the proof needs to be returned to us before we can proceed to print the project. The pressmen and bindery use the proof as a guide during the printing and finishing process to ensure your expectations have been met.
  • Is approval necessary before printing? Yes, a print approval is needed for all printing jobs. The proof approval summary lists all of the specs for the job from quantity, stock, ink/color, bindery and delivery. This summary provides the customer a final chance to view all specs of the job to ensure everything is correct before printing.
  • When should I provide shipping instructions? As soon as you have them available, but ideally when the job order is first placed. This helps ensure that we can meet your delivery expectations from the start of the project.

Mailings

The final step of processing some projects is mailing out the pieces. Here are some tips to ensure this step goes smoothly and your mailing goes go out on time.

  • Please provide your mail files in Excel format if possible. Excel format is flexible and is compatible with almost all mail house software.
  • Make sure you receive and fill out a Processing Acknowledgement Form (PAF) at least once a year. This is required by USPS and should be completed and kept on record prior to having your mail files National Change of Address certified.
  • Please note that all mail files must be run against the National Change of Address (NCOA) registry. The addresses on this registry are people who have moved or have otherwise changed their address in the United States. It is maintained by the United States Postal Service and access to it is sold to firms that engage in direct mail. The use of NCOA is required in order to obtain bulk mail rates, as it minimizes the number of incorrect addresses, thereby saving the USPS lost time in return mail processing and handling.
  • Know your postage options and select the best one for your project. These options include: First Class, Presort First Class, Presort Standard Mail, Non-Profit and EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail). If you currently mail promotional postcards for your business and target your customers by a geographic area, EDDM is a new service offered by the US Postal Service that allows regular retail businesses to mail at 16 cents per postcard to mailing addresses in your selected geographic areas.

R.C. Brayshaw & Company understands that for our company to be successful, we need to help our customers be successful. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our customer service team will be happy to personally guide you through all of your print projects!

Authored by, Amanda Catledge, Ken Jackson & Joshua Adams, Customer Account Managers