A Win-Win for Printer and Finisher? It’s In the Details
Bob Windler, President, Diecrafters, Inc.
Printing Views, March 2003 issue
old saying “the devil is in the details” has particular relevance for
the graphic arts industry. The entire printing process – from design to
post press – involves dozens of minute details that need to be
effectively communicated if the job is to be produced properly and
efficiently. This holds especially true for jobs that require finishing
work. It’s quite common for printers to simply send along a previously
printed sample with the instructions to “match this piece.” It’s
also common for finishers to take these instructions literally and produce
the piece to the customer’s specifications. After all, printers are
experts at what they do, and finishers have no reason to doubt their
doesn’t do the printer or finisher any good, however, to match that
previously printed piece and be done with it. A printer can win a lot of
coveted jobs by allowing their finishing partner to suggest innovative
solutions, and not just quote the job “as is.” This means that the
first thing a finisher should do when receiving a quote is gather as many
details about the piece as possible – even if it is a repeat of a
project completed just last month. Very often, there’s a solution to be
found that saves both time and money for the printer, and greatly improves
their chances of winning the job. Here are a couple examples of how our
company did just that for some of our clients.
printer customer of ours wanted us to finish a “take-one” display
holder project they were about to print. Their intended design was very
specific: the grommeted holder would be mounted to an easel made of thick
corrugated board. The pocket on the holder would need to hold material an
inch thick, which led our customer to specify such heavy-duty
asked a few questions, however, and the information we gleaned in response
allowed us to come up with a better solution. We proposed a design that
involved only automatic production processes such as cutting, folding and
gluing, and in doing so eliminated the grommeting and handwork that was
previously required. This significantly lowered the finishing costs and
production time of the piece, improving the customer’s chances to secure
original design also called for the piece to be shipped fully-prepared to
retail store destinations. After consulting with our customer, we settled
on a design that could be flat-packed and assembled at those destinations
in a matter of seconds. This enabled us to reduce the number of skids from
more than 20 to just two, slashing the shipping costs.
client came to us with a capacity folder project that would include a
saddlestitched book. This is a piece that we produce on occasion, and it
can be a challenge. The typical design for this piece calls for the
capacity folder to be formed around the saddlestitched book, which
requires a fair amount of handwork. Our customer asked us if we could
provide a more cost effective solution that wouldn’t compromise the look
or functionality of the piece.
came up with a solution that fully automated the production of the piece.
By oversizing the piece slightly, it receives a head and face trim and the
stitching in a single pass. In addition, the piece can be automatically
now, avoid problems later
examples are indicative of how a finisher can lower costs and production
times for their customers by simply asking a few questions. By
communicating the little details at the beginning of the production cycle,
you can avoid big problems down the road. Here are some additional
communication tips to keep in mind regarding specific production
sheets going to subsequent processes? Test it first – Many direct
mail piece designs call for microperfing to create a business reply
card on one end of the sheet. If the piece will then move to a laser
printer for personalization, paper selection is critical. Microperfing
can weaken the sheet, and certain stocks (such as card and cover
stocks) may separate at the perf when placed under stress. Avoid this
scenario by sending your finisher sample sheets on a variety of stocks
you’re considering to make sure you select one that will make it
through each process.
properly-prepared die line files – A quality finisher will accept
electronic files that represent the die lines necessary to complete
any diecutting, foil stamping or embossing the job requires. These
files need to be properly prepared, however, in order for your
finisher to use them. Be sure to strip the file of all print-related
information, such as screens, masks, filters, and color information.
The file should be created in a format compatible with your
finisher’s CAD software, which reads the file to produce the die. At
Diecrafters, we accept several die files in several formats. Consult
your finisher before you send a file to be sure it’s compatible with
their specific equipment.
simplest jobs have unique needs – Products that have common,
straightforward designs, such as pocket folders, can still benefit
from an improved design. Though the product itself may seem simple,
every application is unique. Communicate the details of every piece to
your finisher to see if there is a cost effective, alternative design.
can work together with designers and printers to win jobs that may not
otherwise come their way. Providing customers with solutions that save
time and money makes a finisher a valuable production partner. Likewise,
printers and designers that pass these solutions on to their customers
will end up winning additional – and more lucrative – work.
is president of Diecrafters, Inc., a leading Midwestern finishing company.
Diecrafters offers complete post press planning and finishing services
including: Die cutting, foil stamping, embossing, folding, gluing,
binding, mounting, fulfillment and warehousing. Bob can be reached
at 708-656-3336 x112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.