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Free eBook Download: The Ultimate Guide to Buying Print

Free Resource: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Print

Ordering print should be easy, but with hundreds of options, it can become overwhelming quickly. Whether you’re a printing veteran or a “newbie,” the Ultimate Guide to Buying Print will be an essential resource.

The guide will walk you through the print ordering process, help you lower your printing costs and help simplify your ordering experience. This article we will summarize the sections of the Ultimate Guide To Buying Print, for more details on these subjects you can download the full eBook here, or call us at 1-800-707-9903.

Part One - The Basics

Digital Printing Vs Offset Printing

When deciding to use digital printing or offset printing it’s important to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Offset printing is often used for jobs that require a higher volume or larger paper sizes. Digital printing requires less set up, so unit price stays generally consistent, making it more cost effective for jobs that require less volume. Digital printing also provides the option for variable data printing.

Paper Options

Paper has a major impact on how well your print works. Every commercial printer carries a set of house stocks, the papers the printer uses regularly which tend to cost less. There are a multitude of paper types that are intended for a variety of usages.

  • Coated
  • Cast coated
  • Gloss
  • Dull/silk
  • Matte
  • Offset/Uncoated & Opaque
  • Text & Cover
  • Writing
  • Specialty

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Print provides more detailed information about paper types and sizes. We also encourage all our customers to order our Paper Sample Guide to become familiar with Conquest Preferred Paper Stocks.

Common Products and How They Are Used

One of the most important steps to ordering a print job is choosing which product best fits your goals. The most common print products are postcards, brochures and business cards but those just scratch the surface. In order to get the most value from your print job it’s vital that you know what products are available, so you can choose the best one. Speaking with a customer service rep will ensure that you find the best product for you goals and budget.

Speaking Printer - Terms to Know

There are a few terms that are essential to understanding commercial printing. Brushing up on your terminology will help you communicate more clearly with your printer and know what to expect from your final product. Here are a few terms you should know:

  • Bleed: The excess (typically ⅛ of an inch) margin that allow images and color to extend to the edge of the page once the item is printed and trimmed.
  • Bulk: Thickness of paper in thousandths of an inch or number of pages per inch.
  • Copy: All furnished material or data used in the production of a printed product.
  • Ream: A sealed package of precut paper, usually containing 500 sheets.
  • Trim size: The final size of a printed image after the last trim is made.

A more detailed list of terms can be found in the full Ultimate Guide To Buying Print.

Part Two - The Printing Process

Get Prepared and Establish Expectations

Realistic expectations need to be set before you order a print job. Working with a customer service representative can go a long way in helping you understand the cost associated with ordering print and the quality you can expect from your final product. Some things to always keep in mind when considering cost are:

  • Turnaround time & expected completion date
  • Shipping options
  • How the finished product will turn out
  • What actions you’ll need to take throughout the process
  • What type of art is needed

Getting Started

Your first step should be establishing a print goal, determining what exactly you expect to gain from your print job will allow you to make informed decisions. Are you trying to generate more leads? Connecting with current clients? Promoting a new product?

Once you have established your goal, your next step will be deciding which product will help you reach it. Even if you have a print product in mind you should still contact a customer service representative that can inform you about products you may not know about and provide you with some tips on how to make your print more effective.

Designing and Providing Artwork

If your print job requires artwork, and most do, it is very important that you understand the technical requirements of the images you provide your printer. The better quality image you provide the better your final product will look. It is essential to understand the importance of dot per inch (DPI), providing your printer with the correct size image, and accounting for bleed room.

Because art files have a major impact on the results of your print work, you may want to consider hiring a graphic designer.


One of the most important steps in the printing process is proofing. Before your print job goes into production your printer will provide you with a digital print or ship you a physical one for an added cost. It’s extremely important that you look over your proof thoroughly and check for any mistakes or inconsistencies in the print. This is your last chance to make corrections before your print job goes to press.

It’s vital that you know printers don’t check for everything during the proofing process. It's your responsibility to make sure the proofs are correct. Printers may catch glaring mistakes, but even that’s not guaranteed. Instead, It is your responsibility to check your work and catch errors before approving it.

Please note: Turnaround time begins only AFTER you approve your proof, please see our turnaround time page for further details.

Post Production

After your print job is completed it will be distributed according to your instructions. Some printers have in house mail centers and some send it to a third-party business. When the printer mails on your behalf, you’re in charge of paying the postage and shipping fees. You may also choose to have your print job shipped directly to your offices and distribute them as you see fit. Make sure you establish post production goals with your printer to ensure your product finds the best home.

This is just a summary of all the useful information that we provide in our Ultimate Guide To Buying Print. Download the eBook now to become an expert at ordering your next print job!

Ultimate Guide to Buying Print

Whether you’re a printing veteran or a “newbie,” The Ultimate Guide to Buying Print will be an essential resource. The guide will walk you through the print ordering process, help you lower your printing costs and help simplify your ordering experience.

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