Printing 101 for small businesses
Singapore is becoming one of the world’s premier hub for quality printing presses, even our national newspaper boasts quality color printing bringing about more vibrant colors and smoother fonts.
Technology plays a big part in both providing faster turnaround time and lower costs in printing here.
I met Morgan, an Aussie entrepreneur, looking to bring his business here and he wanted to get his latest spiffy company logo down to the printers to print his business stationary. The friendly printer spouted some jargon like CMYK, dpi, bleed-size, to him, which he did not quite understand. He was then given a quote straightaway.
Being new and unsure of how it works, Morgan was not convinced he was getting a good deal and showed me the quote.
“You know mate, I don’t want to blow my budget to start something up here but I like to have a good looking card to boast.,” Morgan said.
“How many printers did you check with?” I asked.
“Three,” he replied.
“And one of them say if I would print some more, it will save me more money. They also said something about offset and digital printing. Which one should I go for?”
Choosing between Digital or Offset print
Here’s a simple guide to help you decide what is good for your business stationary.
1. Offset printing
If you want a clean and crispy line on your business cards, go for offset printing because the way the ink transfers onto the paper produces a high quality finish compared to digital printing. This is good only if you are printing in large quantities because of the way offset printing is set up which requires putting on plate transfers and pressing them directly to the paper.
The larger your quantity, the price for each business card is cheaper.
Therefore, go for offset printing if you have at least 500 pieces to print. One box will generally hold between 100 or 200 pieces (depending on the thickness of your card as well).
Offset printing also allows you to add effects like Spot-UV (an extra layer of shine usually place over your company logo), hot-stamping (a dry printing method), die-cutting or embossing, making it an ideal method to get fanciful business cards.
2. Digital printing
Maybe if you only need 200 cards, and not intending to blow your budget over business cards. Digital printing will be an excellent alternative because in this day and age, the new printers have produced very credible quality prints that are comparable to offset printers.
However, the cost to produce digital printing business cards will remain the same regardless of the quantity you are looking to print. It is good and useful only if you decide to have a smaller number of cards, while you might want to consider offset if you have a bigger number.
There are other considerations as well before you decide on what type of printing to go for. For example, looking at Morgan’s requirement, it was best he started off with a set of digital print because he will be getting a new direct phone line into his new office so it made no sense to get a big quantity and you have to either throw them away later or use a correction pen which can be ‘unprofessional’ looking.
“So, Morgan, before you head down to the printers to get your cards printed, decide on how many you need first because that will save your business money rather than going ahead with the printer with the lowest quote.”
"Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste." --Catherine Pulsifer
Terence Lim, Partner, Aggro Design Studio