Like many industries, printing and envelopes have their own terms and certain procedures which are unique.  When you’re ordering a custom printed envelope or custom printed form, it always helps to be as familiar as possible with the process.  A good vendor will always know the right questions to ask to help guide you but the more you know, the better your chances for a smooth and fast transaction which yields the desired result.

Here are a few basic things to keep in mind when asking for a quote or placing an order.

  • Ink colors: All printers use a what’s called the PMS (Pantone Matching System) for ink colors. Each color has a number and a specific formula to produce that exact color. Telling your vendor that the job “prints in blue” will not give us the correct PMS color your customer is looking for. If the form has been printed previously, it was matched to a specific number. This needs to be provided in order to get exactly what you want.  If it’s not available, a sample can be provided to the vendor and he will try to match it as best as possible to a PMS color.
  • Files: Electronic files must be print ready with high resolution. Sending a document in Microsoft Word or other document file will cause the contents of the file to change from one computer to the next and are not acceptable except as a starting point. Final artwork is best sent as a PDF file. Again, a good vendor can set up artwork for you at a reasonable cost.  A good print job requires sharp, clean artwork. It’s worth the small investment to get it done right.
  • Lead time: Many customers don’t understand that making a custom printed form or printed envelope requires some time.  Companies will have a production schedule and new orders are entered and given a place in the queue.  It’s very helpful to know what the expectations are for delivery at the time the quote is submitted.   If it’s a form that you or your customer is using regularly, try to get a feel for how long the supply will last and check in with them a month or so before to allow plenty of time to order a new supply.
  • Overs/Unders: Typically, when you’re ordering a custom business form or custom envelope, it is common practice to allow for a certain percentage of overs or unders.  Multipart forms should always have the overs produced because once the forms go to the collator (marrying machine) you will have lost forms during the set up before anything gets put together and your order will be short of the anticipated quantity. With envelope manufacturing, there is considerable waste in the process which needs to be accounted for.  This is why on custom jobs, usually a certain amount of overs will be produced and which the customer will be responsible for.  For a more detailed explanation of the reason for overs and unders  click here.

We’d love to hear about your experiences in ordering print. Send us a comment on this blog anytime.