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Cheap Printing vs. Quality Printing

Everyday printing is the norm for most of us, and those who don’t print high-volume work or need high-quality printing done tend to overlook how complex printing actually is. In fact, high-quality printing can cost quite a bit, depending on the printer and the needs of the business.

Here, we will help you decide what it means to weigh “quality” versus “quantity” for your printing and make an informed decision about what kind of printing you need.

What Do We Mean When We Say, “Cheap vs. Quality” Printing?

“Cheap” and “quality” are relative terms for the most part… for example, what constitutes “quality” could depend on the type of ad or document being printed, the audience, and the use.

To make the distinction a little clearer, here are some things to consider:

  1. Different Print Types: In a world of digital printing, it is easy to forget that not all printing is done through a digital printer. In fact, printing is still broken down into several categories. For example, offset printing uses etched metal plates to press ink onto whatever materials you are printing on. Offset printing is typically separated from digital due to quality (where offset us usually considered higher quality).

  2. Different Paper Types. Regular printer paper is great for plain text or simple flyers, but high-quality print jobs might require glossy paper or heavy card stock. And that isn’t even considering if you have specialty printing needs (business cards, envelopes, folders).

  3. Inks and Colors. Not all ink is created equal. If you want richer and deeper colors, and more regular color coverage, then your printer may require unique ink.

So when actually trying to think about the quality you want or need, you need to consider the paper, ink, and the kind of printing you want to do.

The Argument for Saving Money

So, we aren’t going to say that all printing jobs need to be of the highest quality. We’re also not going to consider home printing—if you are printing a report, or flyers for a social event, then regular paper and a digital printer work fine.

To save money, you want to find a printer that works with affordable ink. Buy a heavier (but not expensive) weight of paper depending on the need… flyers and reports can be lighter, whereas a resume or professional document might use special resume paper that costs more.

The Argument for Higher Quality

However, if you are printing something for business purposes, then cutting corners is probably not the best idea. Publishing a newsletter or a high-quality advertisement isn’t a place you want to cut corners if you want people to pay attention to.

Rule of thumb is that if you are presenting something to someone with the hopes of getting business, then use high-quality papers, inks, and processes. The distinction between offset and digital printing isn’t as big a difference today than it was 5 or 10 years ago, but if you are printing a high-quality flyer or business cards, then it might be worth it to pay extra and look into someone who offers offset printing. Likewise, if you are providing important information in a brochure, white paper, or proposal to prospective clients or partners, then invest in good paper and have your documents printed with professional equipment.

If you are looking to provide information to coworkers in your office, you might be able to scale back on those costs.

Which One is Right for You?

Most importantly, the cost of your printing is going to depend on your needs. But never, ever sacrifice quality for cost when you depend on the results of that printing. Go the extra mile, and if you don’t have good printing materials or equipment, then consider professional printing from a reputable provider.

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