Custom Printing Do's and Don'ts

A great graphic designer can take your outline or idea and turn it into an amazing piece.  Creativity is their job - and their passion.  If you submit a file that just needs a few tweaks, they can do that as well.  A little work or a lot - they can fix it for you and make it something you are really proud of.

But design work isn't free - which leads me to today's "Do."


Do all your changes at once.


Graphic design work is usually charged at an hourly rate and prorated based on the length of time spent on the project and the complexity of the work.

Every time a designer touches your job, that's billable time.  They're more than happy to make the changes that you want, but if you don't have an unlimited budget you need to be conscious of the number of revision loops you ask for.  After you receive the first proof, look it over carefully.  If you work in a situation where multiple people are involved, send it to everyone at the same time so you can get everyone's feedback.  Decide as a group what changes you want and make sure everyone agrees on them before you reply.  If you're the sole approver, make notes from your first impression of the proof, then step away and come back a little later.  Does it look the same to you then?

Some clients look at the proof, send back one or two small changes and request a new proof to see what that looks like.  Then they send a few more changes and ask for another proof, and so on and so on...................

You can undoubtedly see where I'm going with this.  They're racking up huge design bills.  It's best to have a clear picture in your head of what you want and evaluate the proof accordingly.  Jot down notes as you review the proof and use those notes in your reply to make sure you don't forget anything.  Then the designer can make all the changes at once and send you one new proof.  If you just can't decide which way would look better, get your thoughts organized and send them back with a request for Option 1 and Option 2 (or maybe even Option 3) so everything can be created at the same time and sent back to you at the same time.  Remember - time is money.  Your money.

Making a lot of changes back and forth may seem like it's not a big deal, but it will save you money if you do them all at once and it will get your job done faster.  Every time a proof is returned as not approved and more changes are requested, the job goes to the end of the queue and works its way back up to the front of the line, so you can easily see how that would extend the job.  It's much quicker and more efficient to make all the changes at once.  The last thing you want is to spend $100 on printing a new flyer and have $300 in design charges for creating it.

Of course, everything I just said is assuming that you didn't think the proof was perfect when you saw it.  If it's good the first time, you're golden.  But make sure it really is good before you approve it.  I've seen many clients give their approval, the job goes to production and a day or two later they contact us to say that they changed their mind about something or found an error and want to know if they can change it.  If the job has already been plated you will incur another plate charge and possibly a cancellation charge for pulling it from production, along with the new design charges for the additional changes.  (That's assuming that it hasn't already been printed by the time you call.)

Bottom Line:  Organize your thoughts and double-check before you reply to the proof.  Your boss will thank you for it.