Print Producer, Print Production Manager, Print Buyer, or Print Broker, all of these are terms that mean essentially the same thing, someone to manage your print project and make sure it delivers on time, in budget and with the best possible quality. Here’s why you need one.
We speak the language
Do you know the difference between perfect and smyth-sewn binding? Do you know what a spot UV is and when you can use it instead of foil? Or how the terms ghosting, picking, and hickies relate to your print job and why you don’t want them?
These all sound like little things, but it’s knowledge of the little things and how they all fit together that can make or break your project. A Print Producer knows what papers, printing techniques, finishes, and binding to recommend and how to speak to a printer about them to make sure your print project delivers the way you want, saving you both time and money.
We know the right people
You wouldn’t ask a gardener to fix your computer, or your electrician to fix a clogged sink. Okay, maybe you would and maybe they could, but doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for the job.
A Print Producer stays up to speed on local printers so they can match the right job to the right printer, based on equipment, quality, and turn-around times. We know who can make a billboard glow in the dark, who can letterpress your business cards and who will make sure your direct mail piece meets all USPS requirements before it mails. We’ve got the resources and the connections to get your job done right.
We know designers need to focus on design
Some of my closest friends and most respected colleagues are designers and art directors. A lot of them have an extensive knowledge of print production and lots of experience working with printers. However, those same designers have told me multiple times that they wouldn’t ever want to do what I do on a day to day basis.
I’ve known designers to spend hours choosing exactly the right typeface for a headline or obsess for days over the exact right shade of gray for an identity package. Those things are important and designers should be given the time to do them. They shouldn’t have to review stacks of printer estimates to make sure nothing was missed, or worry over whether a stock they want is mill order and whether that will effect a project timeline. Designers and Art Directors need to focus on delivering your message through inspired design. Let them do it, and let a Production Manager keep your printer in line.
We’ve been through the trenches and we LOVE it.
I once babysat a job on press for 20 straight hours to make sure color on every form was exactly right. Another time, I had paper for a business card job get locked onto a dock the day before a job went to press because the printer went out of business with no warning. Later in my career, I worked with a printer to custom mix ink, while a job was on press to make sure all of the pieces in an identity package matched exactly because the paper came from the mill a slightly different shade of white.
Print Producers love to tell stories and the good ones have a ton of them. Only a Production Manager truly gets the craziness that is this business and thrives on it. You want this sort of passion and dedication working for you and your projects.