The Importance of a Print Quality Review Process

Click to view entire checklist.
Synapse’s Print Quality Inspection Checklist: we fill this out for every print project before it leaves our premises.

Businesses struggling with the effectiveness of their marketing materials often view the message, branding or creative as the primary culprit. However, it is equally
important to consider the quality of the medium being used to deliver the message – as this can also determine the success of your marketing initiatives. This is especially true when it comes to printed materials.

Let’s say, for example, you own a furniture store. You send out a catalog showing off your sofas. If the color of the sofas doesn’t look like the actual product in your store, you run the risk of disappointing a customer that comes in to your store to see the sofa. And when that happens, you risk losing a sale – and hurting your brand’s reputation.

Printed materials are a direct reflection of a business. Selling financial products can be adversely affected as much as automobile sales if the product visually lacks quality. Printers make errors on a daily basis. Shifting color or registration, for example, can turn the best design and message into a disaster. The print industry understands this and has made great strides over the past several decades in improving quality, efficiency and costs. That being said, there is always a chance that errors can occur. A growing business shouldn’t let their printed collateral be distributed without a quality control process. Customers or prospects don’t always recall receiving quality printed collateral, but they will be the first to point out the bad ones.

Implementing a print quality review process may seem daunting at first if you don’t have a current process in place. At Synapse, we perform a thorough 40-point quality inspection on every print job we produce.  Sure it takes time and effort, but it’s critical to meeting our goal of our clients never receiving a product that doesn’t meet our strict quality standards.

If you don’t have a print quality review process in place today, you can get started by asking a few questions the next time your printed materials are delivered:

  • Does the overall quality of the piece look as you expected?
  • Does it appear to have scratches or does the text look blurry?
  • Do the images look like the actual product?
  • Do the skin tones appear to be accurate? For example, does someone look sunburned when they shouldn’t?
  • Is the printed product the right size and are the pages in order?
  • Is it printed on the right paper? For example, did it print on a gloss stock as requested or on an uncoated sheet (such as a letterhead)?
  • Did the printer finish it correctly? Meaning, if it’s a perfect bound book, it shouldn’t be stitched (stapled) like a magazine.
  • Did we receive the quantity that we ordered?

By asking simple questions like these, you reduce the chance of putting a subpar printed product into your customers’ or prospects’ hands. Plus, a thorough print quality review process also allows you to provide feedback to your printer as well, to help them improve their product quality and better define your expectations for future projects.

In summary, it’s important to remember that although printers often have quality control processes in place, ultimately YOU have the final say before your print products leave the building. Putting together a checklist like the one above can be an easy way to keep track of whether your printed materials meet your expectations – and will meet your end user’s expectations, too. Doing so proves your company understands the importance of quality and attention to detail, and that is often the first step to building lasting value with your clients and prospects.

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