It can be extremely frustrating to send out a quote and receive four totally different prices.  Why does this happen and how can you ensure you receive what you asked for and not be surprised by added expenses later?

 First, you need the name or type of job – is it a folder, brochure, newsletter, booklet, flyer etc?

  1. Quantity – do you need 1,000, 5,000, 20,000?  If you don’t have a clear idea of quantity, research your market size, marketing objectives and distribution for the year.  It is sometimes more cost effective to do a higher volume than a lower one – a competent, professional printer will assist in these choices.
  1. Job size – if it’s a folder or insert, a printer needs to know the flat size.  Booklets, newsletters and magazines need to be sized in terms of the finished, stitched product and the number of pages.  Don’t forget to let the printer know if it has a separate cover, or self cover (plus cover means that a different stock than the inside pages will be required; self cover means the same stock will be used inside and out).
  1. Colours – how many colors will the job involve?  Is it a single colour, two, three, or four?  And how many colours on each side?  Is the job full colour one side and single colour on the other?  Does it bleed (colour to the edge of the page)?  Things can get a little confusing at this point.  Be aware that each colour requires its own plate and “make ready”, all of which adds to the cost of your print job.
  1. Stock – There is no shortage of stock alternatives in the printing industry.  And no, you are not expected to be a walking encyclopedia on paper stock.  But you can familiarize yourself with the common categories of stock.


For example, there is coated cover (one and two sided), offset book, bond, text, and cover.  There are various weights and an abundance of colours and finishes.  All these affect your pricing, and many times this is where the pricing differs from printer to printer, some using a more expensive stock, others using a less expensive stock.  Often a printer will have a “house stock” which they stock all the time.  It is crucial you get quotes with  the same specifications from each printer.

  1. Finishing – If it’s a folder or brochure, how many folds are needed?  Because folding can be complex and since some folds require special equipment, the best way to avoid problems is to enclose a folded blank piece of paper showing the folding requirements.  If it’s a booklet, you should know there are several finishing options.  Saddle stitching, perfect binding, spiral or wire binding are the most common.  There are many other finishing considerations, such as shrink wrapping, drilling, bundling.  All these add extra charges which are often missed on the initial quote request.

All this may seem overwhelming.  However a good printer will not ask you to become a printing expert!  A great printer will assist you and ask the questions you may not think of at the time.  They will offer suggestions of better sizes that work with their equipment size, better paper suggestions, and even design suggestions.


Contributed by Robb Burnham of Source Graphics & Print Co. Ltd.

Suite 1-1050 Leathead Rd  Kelowna, BC V1X 2K1
email: rburnham@ sourcegraphics,net       Ph: (250) 765-6445

Extreme color printed right here in the Okanagan.

Design  .  Print  .   Finish