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How We Make Print

At its essence, printing is a manufacturing process. It requires a plan, raw materials, and processing to deliver a finished product to the intended recipient. That plan starts with the purpose of the print job. Defining the purpose will inform decisions about the final size, the design, and the type of paper or other substrates. The purpose of the finished product also determines the print technologies to consider.

With the basic framework for the print job in hand, it continues along a path that includes designing and creating print files, delivering them to the printer, preparing the files for print and print execution, finishing, customer acceptance, and then moving the finished work into use. Build these steps into your conversations with clients to create the best experience for them and you.

The Plan

A plan is more than a simple checklist of things to do to get ready to send a print job. It begins with a conversation with the client covering the print work they want to buy, how they will use it, when they need it, and their thoughts on the creative design. Some clients will bring their design files to you, but they must be reviewed to ensure they can be executed as the customer intends. Others will want help getting their vision defined, designed, and prepared.

For those that need some help, spend some time understanding their vision. Is the customer buying wedding announcements, or do they need business wayfinding signs? Are they looking for signage or brochures? What is their color scheme? Are they bringing images and graphics to the table or asking for your design help to select them? It pays to have a set of starter templates for the work you sell to guide the conversation because many who come to you will not understand things like how text and color work together or how different types of paper or sign stock can change the project’s appearance. Your expertise is the value you bring to the conversation!

For those that bring a completed design, the conversation needs to be a frank assessment of how the design will work on the selected substrates and formats. A common mistake in design files is the lack of a bleed when images extend to the edge of the page or sign. Extending the graphics beyond the edge of the page, typically 3mm or 1/8”, prevents unwanted white areas that detract from the design.

Create a checklist that helps you walk through the plan so that you know:

  • What the customer wants: brochure, poster, invitation, sign, or other print product.
  • The specifications: How big, how wide, how many, and what substrate.
  • When they need it: today, tomorrow, next week, for a specific event date.
  • Who is creating the design files, and who is empowered to approve them?
  • If they bring design files to the table, what tool was used to create them and what type of digital file is being delivered?

That is the starting point. The next step is to verify the creative files as suitable for their intended purpose.

The Production

Once a plan is agreed upon with a client, there is more work to do. The files used for printing are usually PDF or PostScript files. Those files need to be reviewed and preflighted. That means ensuring that the files have the appropriate fonts embedded, that graphics are the correct resolution, and that the formatting is appropriate for the intended finishing. The file should be a high-resolution file – screen scraping images from the internet won’t result in the print quality most customers expect.

Reviewing the files against the intended finishing may result in design changes. Make sure clients are prepared if they ask for specific cuts, folds, or binding. No one wants their business logo or a picture stuck in a fold or text stuck in the binding because the pages weren’t prepared properly.

Once the file is printed and finished, the next step is to accomplish delivery. Verify the delivery information each time you talk to the client.

There are so many variations in print products that it helps to understand the technologies and terminology. Coming soon: 4over will be offering their Print101 online learning to help you empower your customers, so they have a great experience based on their printing needs.


4over is always here to help you grow your business and deliver for your clients. And as a trade-only printer and promo provider, 4over will never compete with you—the best measure of our success is yours!

4over LLC is one of the largest wholesale trade printers in the US, with multiple production facilities across North America. A trusted source of print fulfillment since 2001, the company helps large franchise printers, single print shops, print brokers, graphic designers, photographers, and every type of print reseller in between grow profitable businesses by offering a vast selection of quality products at guaranteed trade-only prices. With capabilities such as gang-run offset, digital, grand format, and promotional printing, plus state-of-the-art equipment, 4over offers every customer savings, selection, and scale. Not yet a 4over reseller? Register Today!


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As one of North America’s largest trade-only printers and a trusted source for print fulfillment since 2001, 4over helps print, design, and other creative services resellers grow profitable businesses. We do this by offering a vast selection of quality print products at guaranteed trade-only prices. Our expansive e-commerce catalog includes everything from standard marketing collateral like business cards and brochures, to harder-to-find specialty, large format, and promotional products.

Our capabilities span gang run offset, digital, grand format, and promotional printing across six production facilities, staffed by experienced, committed operations teams. With locations across North America, state-of-the-art equipment such as powerful Incas and Scodix UV machines, and fast turnarounds, 4over offers our customers savings, selection, and scale. We serve large franchise printers, single print shops, print brokers, graphic designers, photographers, and every type of print reseller in between. Learn more at Trade.4over.com

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