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Monday, August 13, 2012

A glance at the processes behind letterpress - Quoting for letterpress - Episode 3

QUOTING at Fluid Ink is still done on an individual basis. As each job is completely different, The old pen, paper and calculator is the method I use. Although I am getting a lot faster now that I have a good idea of supplies and costs and can use past quotes as a start its not quite as laborious as it was when I first began!

I have found that many times, clients do not know or have any idea of the costs involved in letterpress. Ball park figures are still difficult to offer especially considering the may variants of a quote. And thats fine! Letterpress is something you fall in love with and I am always happy to work with clients and find solutions so that they can have their letterpress dreams within their budget!

Hopefully the following  bits of information will go some way to explain the process of what needs to be considered when quoting for letterpress.

So, in order to start a quote, I require the following information:
  1. Quantity
  2. Paper size
  3. Paper stock
  4. Number of colours
  5. Envelope requirement
  6. Location for postage
  7. Deadline
  8. Artwork - supplied or commissioned?
On average, around 70% of what we charge to create a letterpress piece is made up of the cost of the polymer plate and the ‘making ready’ setting up the press so that it imprints correctly and in the correct place (registration) the time it takes to hand feed each piece in and the cost of the paper, mixing ink, cutting paper etc, makes up the rest, so as you can imaging, the more prints that are made, the cheaper the cost per print will be.

In a  comparison of 2 jobs A & B where:
Job A= 3 colours, 35 prints
job B = 1 colour, 100 prints.
job B may work out to be cheaper over all even though you are getting more prints. The cost of the 3 individual plates (one per colour) and the time it takes to set up each plate into the chase and have it registered correctly far outweighs the cost of the paper and the time it takes to actually hand feed 100 pieces into the press.

Paper size.
Obviously the larger the paper, the more expensive the product right?... Most often yes but if you can be economical with paper sizes so that perhaps making the final paper size 1cm smaller allows 14 cuts per sheet where 1cm bigger may only allow 12 cuts per parent sheet, then savings may be made here.

Number of colours:
Each colour requires a separate plate and as discussed plates are one of the biggest expenses for a job.

You can choose from standard plain white budget envelopes, Cotton envelopes that match the paper, coloured envelopes that match text and then there is the endless selection of ‘pocket’ card envelopes that can hold all of your stationery together!

Deadlines need to be realistic. the design proof , correct process can take up to 10 working days, and then there is the print making process (another week) paper cutting, ink mixing printing and posting. Ideally, we would require a moth from start to finish for all bespoke invitation requests - that's not to say we can't rush a job and work under pressure!! Our presses work well under pressure! (get it?...;-)

If artwork is supplied, then artwork will need to be sighted before I can quote, just to ensure it is ‘doable’ see previous blog post on ‘Designing for letterpress’ found HERE

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