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Elements Of Print

Elements of Print

Ink on paper. Turn on the press and a printed piece comes out the other end. If only it were that simple, there would be no need for highly-skilled craftsmen to produce a printed piece. In reality, printing can be complicated, with many variables. A good commercial printer will make the process simple for you and turn out a product that will get results.

There are many ways to get your message across: web pages, podcasts, email marketing, DVDs, and other digital media. Printed communication is part of the mix. There is no substitute for a solid, enduring piece that you can hold in your hand, interact with in real-time, and revisit. Printing is an art that has been perfected, and reproduction can be at a level not possible in the digital realm. Ink on paper isn’t always as fast, but its impact can be lasting.

The following are just a few of the elements of printing.

Heidelberg CX102-6L lithographic printing press

The Primer

The first thing is to find a printer that you trust. There are lots of great printing companies, and they can all put the image on the page for you. Because most print jobs are custom-made, it is important that your printer understand your organization and its objectives, its preferences and its quirks. A printer who is, after all, in business to make money, will be most effective in the long run by operating with your best interests in mind. There’s no substitute for this.

The Process

You probably have to wear a lot of hats in your organization and, unless your only job is to be a print buyer, you may not have time to be an expert in all aspects of print production. There’s a lot of detail. A good commercial printer will anticipate your needs, think ahead for you, eliminate questions and problems on the front end and surprises on the back end. A printer should truly be a partner in your business, always asking what it will take for your print project to be successful and how your print needs fit in with your other forms of communication. Look for a printer that is not just an order-taker. Rely on your printer, and involve him or her early in the process, even before the design stage. Any printer can do a job correctly, on time and for the price quoted; expect more.


Price is important, and in the competitive print market, there is no reason to over-pay. Even when asking for a quote on a simple printing job with well-defined specs, there are intangibles to consider: 

  1. Have you used this printer before?

  2. Has he or she performed as promised?

  3. Was the process easy, or hard?

  4. Were any extra services provided that were not in the actual specs, like consulting, advice, or improvements to the project?

  5. Were there any surprises?

If you haven’t used this printer before…

  • Is this a vendor that comes highly recommended?

  • Can this printer provide a full range of project-related services all under one roof?

  • Did the printer ask enough questions in the quoting process to understand the job?

  • Do you feel comfortable with what the printer is telling you?

The Project

Once you enter into a project, there are some key elements that will go a long way to producing a good result.

  • Sales Consulting – A good rep is critical; he or she understands the big picture and guides your project, start to finish.

  • Customer Service – There is a back-up person (or persons) who knows the status of your project and can facilitate any part of it.

  • Pre-Press – Expert technicians handle your project with expertise and troubleshoot for you.

  • Production – A team of craftspeople makes the job happen, with skill in all the techniques of printing and finishing.

  • Delivery – Whether the project is a one-time thing or part of an ongoing fulfillment system, the product arrives when it is expected.


Printing is about so much more than putting ink on paper. It’s about a goal, and getting there together. At Phillips Printing, we truly believe that if we do a project for you that doesn’t achieve your objectives, we haven’t fully done our jobs. Like most commercial printers, we understand the technical part…we’ve been doing that since 1959. Technical expertise alone is not enough; we need to be adaptable to the marketplace, and to your needs. That’s what we hope to do, every day.