The value you derive from your printer depends both on the printer and how you work with the printer. It begins with open communications about: deadlines, budgets, special criteria that need to be met and equally important, your overall experience working with printers. It continues by providing well thought out specifications on the project so that changes do not have to be made on the fly which could conceivably compromise quality and increase costs. Among the specifications which should be firm and clearly communicated to the printer are: colors, including and brand PMS colors; preferred paper stock and treatment (e.g., varnish, aqueous coatings); number of photos in the document and whether any will require Photoshop measures, and print quantities. If you have other companion pieces that will be used with the print project, share them with the printer so that a consistent, complimentary piece can be produced.
Finally, building a sound working relationship with a printer is based on trust. It’s important that you carefully screen the printer you plan to use by asking for references and work samples, and assessing the printer’s overall service quality and performance record. Once you are confident that you are making the right choice, trust the printer to do the right thing. Customers, who place a project out to bid to numerous printers, believing that is the way to get the best price, are not acting in good faith or in their own best interest. What that does is drive the price up and waste a lot of time. Instead, be honest with your printer about your budget and give the printer the opportunity to meet your price or, at the very least, give you their very best quote.
The takeaway: A good relationship with your printer is based on trust and effective, open communications.