“Can I get 500, printed 4-color on 80 lb. stock, bound and delivered?”

The above statement may sound foreign to those who may just be getting started in the world of print production, or maybe some just need a refresher on providing a printer with good print specs. No matter the case, here’s a helpful list of the top 10 specs your printer will be looking for when you submit a job. Providing all of the information below will save both you and your printer time, allowing them to complete the job faster.

  1. Provide a project name and description This should already be part of your file naming convention, but share this with the printer as well. Example: “Acme Moving Brochure.”
  2. Completion/delivery date You must have a completion date in mind so the printer can determine if they are able to help you. The more lead time and flexibility the printer has, the better. And remember – there are typically many jobs that are already happening before yours hits the floor, so try to be realistic about timing.
  3. Job quantity This may sounds like a no-brainer, but this detail can be missed. Keep in mind that printers will usually print a few extras for good measure.
  4. Flat/finished size You’ll need to provide the size of the piece, like 11 x 17. Remember to always give dimensions are given by width and then by height (think 8 1/2 x 11).
  5. Job page count How many pages are in the final product? This applies to magazines, newsletters, books, booklets, and some brochures.
  6. Paper stock This is a crucial element of the specs that will be the main factor when it comes to cost. If you have a specific stock in mind, be specific when you give the printer the details. If not, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can also check out our blog on all things paper here.
  7. Ink Preferences Is it a 1-color, 2-color, or 4-color job, for example? If it’s a 4-color job, are you requesting CMYK or specific PMS colors? If your finished job will be run through laser printers, make sure you note this on the spec form. The inks must be compatible. Learn more about color in our blog on CMYK vs. RGB here.
  8. Job binding Binding describes any finishing steps to complete a job once it’s printed, including folding, binding, wiring, perforating, scoring, embossing, etc.
  9. Job format/files Be sure to include all needed files for the printer to complete the work. Did you use In Design to create your piece? Include that file, not just the PDF version. Ask your printer if uncertain.
  10. Delivery Where will the completed job be sent? Or will it be picked up? Be certain to include all details, including any special shipping or packing instructions.

Feel free to keep this list handy as you work on different jobs. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to ask your printer for ideas on your project as well. This may be the final touch that makes your piece really shine! And when all else fails, turn to the pros at Kingston for any help needed.