How to Choose Your Offset Printer?

The printer’s job is fascinating but extremely complicated. Many processes need to be implemented, each of which has consequences on the previous ones. In short, make one mistake and you’ll need to start all over again!

We realized, however, that people often lack understanding of what a printer does and therefore, the choice of the most suitable printer is sometimes influenced by parameters that are not always ideal, like the position or price.

Let’s make a simple comparison, by way of example.

Everyone knows what a car is. It is a 4-wheeled vehicle, with an engine, brakes, a steering wheel and seats. Excellent. These are the traits that all cars have in common.

Likewise, each printer will have at least one printing press, a CTP for plates, a small or large warehouse for paper and shipping.

Going back to cars, however, saying that there are different types of cars is self-evident. Not only in terms of aesthetic or brand, but also engines, materials, fuel consumption, size, seats inside, etc.

No one would ever dare to compare a Toyota Prius with a Maserati Quattroporte. True, they’re both cars and they can both take you from point A to point B… but how and how fast?

Now, if you’re living in the city and want to consume little fuel, the Prius would be your safest bet. But if you often travel long distances, if you’re looking for a high level of comfort and enjoy a luxury product with well-finished materials, the Maserati will probably be the car for you. Obviously we are oversimplifying things, but the concept is important.

Unfortunately, in the printing world, people often compare the Prius with the Maserati; and it’s easy to – unwittingly – choose the wrong printer for the project you want to carry out.

We have to admit that this confusion is partly the responsibility of the printers themselves who, instead of focusing on one field and communicating their identity clearly, enter into a ‘price war’ always with the same slogan – “service, courtesy, quality”.

It is however evident that there are differences, and not insignificant ones.

How can you assess a printer’s capabilities?

First of all, it is important to know how to evaluate the products that come out of a printer’s factory. If you don’t have the technical knowledge needed to understand the difference between a 150lpi frame and a high resolution one, or what makes the quality of a proper binding, it is clear that you will have trouble making this assessment. We are always willing to help you understand the technical differences between a mediocre and an excellent product.

Next, you need to consider the references of the printer in question. Obviously, if you’re talking to someone who works mainly in the production of business brochures, they won’t be the best man for the job when it comes to producing books.

Likewise, if the main clients of a given printer are publishers of school books or widely-distributed color books, they will lack the sensibility needed for the reproduction of photographs and art in the most appropriate manner.

You need to understand that, in order to stay afloat in today’s ultra-competitive market, every printer needs to have the most vertical organizational, production and logistic processes possible. It is not possible to change the procedures, the attention to detail or the sensitivity of the staff according to the work that is printed.

For decades, Musumeci has chosen to focus on art, luxury and photography publications and therefore, its continuous evolution – both from a technical point of view and the choice of suppliers and staff training – goes in that direction. Improvisation is not an option.

Communication and advisory capacity are two other important aspects. If you’re looking for a true partner – and not just a mere supplier – to whom you can send the files and from whom to receive the product, it is important that you choose a printer who’s used to sharing what he is doing with you and most of all, one with experienced staff who can help you throughout the project that needs to be carried out together.

Last but not least, you need to assess the price. If you’re looking to print at the lowest possible cost, you need to remember that this will have an impact on quality. There’s no magic solution: you always get what you pay for. When it comes to printing art, photography and luxury books, clearly there can be a maximum budget and Musumeci is always willing to find the best possible solutions, but if price is your only parameter, you might end up not getting what you’re looking for.

We are perfectly aware of the quality controls, including manual ones, that a production with high standards requires, and we’re not willing to make any compromise in that sense.

Contact us today for a first consultation (free of charge) and discuss your next print project.

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