Saving Money and Using Colour


Piper Cub Airplane

OK, it's just that I like airplanes. And THIS is a colourful airplane!

Colour Gets Noticed. Are you using colour in your page layouts?

From a production point of view, colour printing can get pretty expensive, though it’s gotten cheaper with the advent of digital output. It’s still more expensive than black and white, though. Is it worth the trouble? I’d say so.

Using colour can make the difference between your brand getting noticed or not. As Melinda Emerson points out, a recent Xerox Colour Survey reported that 76 percent of respondents said they could access information faster when printed in colour. Read her full blog here.

Think hard about cheaping out on the colour of your printing. That being said, here’s a few ways you can save on print costs:

  • Order your printed material in standard sizes – 8.5 x 11 for brochures and flyers, 2 x 3.5 for business cards.
  • If you’re using digital output, (which is usually the case for smaller print runs) try to design your work without a bleed (that’s where the colour runs off the edge of the finished product).
  • If you’re using conventional printing realize that unit cost is hugely impacted by the size of the print run, because fixed costs (platemaking, design, etc) are all needed to even print a single copy. Once the press is running, the only variables are paper, ink, and press time.
  • Proof your work carefully before committing to print. Really. And get more than one person to look at it.
  • Make sure you use proper file formats for different kinds of image. Type is type, pictures are pictures. Set your type in Word or (better yet) InDesign, Quark or similar page layout software. Jpeg (i.e., a picture file) is not the best format for type. You’ll thank me for this later.
  • Shop around for price. Costs can vary significantly from shop to shop, and some specialize in colour (called 4-colour or process) printing the same way WestJet can offer cheaper flights because they only use one kind of airplane (Boeing 737s for you aviation aficionados out there). The size and format capabilities of a print shop’s output devices – whether it’s a printing press or the size of their digital output – can have a bearing on the price break they can give you.