Factors may affect commercial printing cost


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Commercial printing will be more complex than office print or home print. Here are some factors to that can affect the price or lead time of the printing. Understanding them can help you to plan your promotion or event at a reasonable cost. (We assume the printing quality & quantity is the same in this article)

1.Lead time

Always leave enough time to deadline. There is different method of printing like digital printing or offset printing. They have different standard lead time & ability to rush. The common rule is “the less lead time, the more expensive”.

2.Printing file

Commercial printing file is different from web image. It has some special requirement. Always ask for the requirement from your printer or choose a designer that is familiar in commercial printing. If printer needs to fix the artwork, then it will take more time and cost more money.


Always proofread the artwork before making an order. Also notice your printer as soon as possible when you find an error. Sometimes the printer may give you a 5 business day lead time, but they may already start the printing in the first day. It is because printing is just the first process; there is a lot of finishing processes which takes more time than printing. The printer may charge you different cost for reprint at different stages. The earlier is the better.

4.Color Difference

As a common sense in commercial printing, there is color difference between different display screens & different printing machine. So if a job is color sensitive, always asking for a color sample before proceeds the whole job. If a job need color matching, it will need more lead time and cost, not recommended for a small job. Both sample & color matching processes will add more cost and lead time on the job.

5.Strict Deadline

If a job has a strict deadline, like wedding or expo, always inform the printing company. Be aware of this, no print company will take responsibility of loss caused by missing the strict deadline. Printer may ask for rush fee or prepayment, but it will put your job in schedule.


Always ask your print company anything you want to know before make an order. Provide the detail about the use of printing product and ask your printer for advice. Otherwise the actual print may be quite different from your image. Faulty print will cost you the most time and money.

Here are some examples that can help you to understand.

Example 1 – only price matter

You want to reprint take away menu without any change.

Take away menu is one-time use print and different people will see different pieces. So the color difference is not sensitive. In general, you should have enough time to print it and you can use it for 0.5 or 1 years. So it does not have strict deadline too. The printing file and proofreading is confirmed already. The printing material is confirmed too.

In this case, you should get the cheapest printing cost.

Example 2 – color sensitive

You are an owner of a new franchise from overseas or overstate. You will be asked to match the brand color for sure. You should have either CMYK Value or Pantone color code.

In this case, the color difference will be very sensitive. The sample & color matching process is necessary. So who can do it will be more important than cost as only a few printing company can do color matching. Otherwise, you may have to reprint them as the color is not right.

Example 3 – material selection

Window graphic is quite common in commercial printing. The printing color and transparency of various materials are quite different. So it is better to tell your printer the purpose of the window graphic and ask them to help you select the right material. Some council and building management may have requirement on graphic transparency and coverage too. A wrong material may cause you a lot of troubles.

Example 4 – sheet label printing file

The most common sample will be die-cut sheet label print. Most product labels have multiple designs for different product.

Assuming one A3 paper can print 10 of your label, and you need 10 kinds, 10 labels of each kind, total 100 labels. You can put 10 artworks on A3 size and order 10 sheets. You can also do 10 separate artworks and 1 sheet of each. The second option is much more expensive in printing. If you go to a local printer, they may charge you for set up as the quantity is small. If you use a online print shop, they usually charge the expensive cost directly.

Commercial printing is still a big part in everyday marketing, sign & EXPO. To balance these factors can help you achieve expected result at a reasonable cost.


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