You’ve been working on a project, and you’re finally near its completion; it’s just a matter of printing and sending, and you’ll be on your way. While it’s normally better to estimate how much a print job is going to cost before you begin the project, so you can incorporate those costs into your budget, it’s sometimes impossible to know how many copies you’ll need, what colours will be used, how high quality you’ll need the print out to be; there’s a lot of factors that can play into your request for quote (RFQ).


The first thing you’ll need to provide shouldn’t affect the price, but is still essential; your personal information! You want to provide your name, your contact information, the name of your business, and the name of the project; more details on the project can be provided later. Having this information on your RFQ serves the obvious purpose of letting the print company get in contact with you, but it also has a subtler effect that might change subsequent RFQs. By including your personal information, you’ve taken the first step in establishing a relationship with the people printing your documents; they’ll recognize your name when you come in to get the job done, and the more you go back, the more recognized you’ll be. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!


Next, you’ll want to delve into the quantitative elements of your project. What kind of document are you printing; is it a poster, or business cards, or something else entirely? How many copies of the finished product will you need? Do you want it printed on one or two sides of each page? How many pages constitute one complete document? What paper stock are you using, and are you using CMYK or PMS colours? Will you need a proof printed before the full run? What kind of finishing do you need, including bindings, perforations or other elements? When finishing your digital file, be sure to include bleeds and convert to a print standard file type like PDF or JPEG.


This might come across as a lot of information, especially if graphic design isn’t your primary wheelhouse; you might not even know what stock you want to use, let alone what the difference between colour systems is. Fear not; this is why you want to start a good relationship with your print shop. Professional printing services want your repeat business, and their staff have a passion for graphic design, so if you’re unsure, ask! Before even sending in an RFQ, get in touch with your printer, describe the project in more qualitative terms, and they’ll be able to recommend the best, most cost-efficient way of producing a stunning final product.