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3 Questions to Ask to Find the Right Printer for Your Project

There are many commercial printing companies vying for your business. Deciding which printer to go with can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be armed with a bit of knowledge to help you weigh your options.


One of the first things to consider when contacting commercial printers is if they listen to you. The right business is one that gets your ideas and listens to understand your vision. If a printer seems too busy to give you their full attention when they are trying to win your business, will they change once the order has been placed? Choose the professional team that works start to finish to make your vision a reality.


Understanding just a little about commercial printing will help you determine is a printer is capable of delivering what you need. There are two main types of commercial printing you are likely to run into.

  • Web Offset Press

Web offset press uses paper fed on continuous rolls and then the pages are cut and trimmed in the finishing process. Most often this web press is heat-set which means that the ink is dried quickly using heat during the printing process. Because the ink dries so quickly it is possible to print much faster and use high gloss papers with crisp clear images.

The advantages of Heat-set Web Press is the speed and high quality images, but the set up costs for a print run are higher. If running a large print job, this set up cost averages to very little per unit but for smaller print runs it can add quite a bit to the bottom line.

  • Sheet-fed Press

Sheet-fed printing is a good alternative to heat-set for smaller print jobs. With this option paper is fed one precut sheet at a time. This method is slower and the ink requires time to dry, but it still allows the use of the high-gloss papers. The image quality is comparable to heat-set but the set up costs is typically lower making it a good option for smaller print runs.

If you require more than a couple thousand imprints (or copies) you want to ask your printing team about heat-set printing and make sure they are qualified. If you want only a couple thousand or less, sheet-fed printing might be the option you want to explore.


Finally, ask about the finishing details. Do you need Perfect Binding of the kind that is used for magazines and paperback books or will you need saddle stitching or plastic bindings? If your print shop can’t deliver that final detail with the same professionalism, you need a new printer. Also decide how you want your printed product delivered. If you have a mailing list of qualified leads, it is not necessary to have your printing shipped to you when your commercial printer offers bulk mail service as well. Let professionals package and ship your final print product to your recipients.

Answer these three areas for yourself when you start talking to printers, and narrow the field quickly to only the most professional and capable commercial printers.