Let’s say you have a print campaign concept with a lot of different pieces. There’s the design part and the print card and the customized envelope. You know when you want it to drop in the mailbox, so how do you know when to have all your files to your printers? It’s the age-old question clients ask us all the time: how long does it take to print marketing pieces? Good question, and we’re glad you asked!
What is a Printing Turnaround Time?
Printing turnaround time – also referred to as production turnaround – is the amount of time required to print, cut, bind, finish, and mail or distribute a print job and can vary from printer to printer. The turnaround time will begin when your design is press-ready, meaning all files have been received, printing has been proofed, and approval sign off has occurred. It’s important to only include business days when calculating printing turnaround time, so weekend days and holidays should not be included since there is no production or shipping on these days.
Please note that “shipping turnaround” is entirely different. This occurs once the printing is done and depends upon the schedule of each carrier.
How is Printing Turnaround Time Determined?
So many factors go into how long it will take to print a job:
- Design + Content Writing Needs: Building in time on the front end to having your piece created is an important part of the timeline. In our experience, the design time can vary from just a few days to a few weeks to create, revise, and approve a file before it’s sent to print. Once the art print is ready and able to be uploaded or sent to us, we’ll start the print turnaround clock.
- Digital or Offset Printing: This is sometimes tied to quantity because we use different technology for different quantities. Digital printing turnaround is usually between one to five business days. Offset printing varies depending upon each project. It is generally two to five business days.
- Quantity: The greater the quantity can sometimes make a longer the turnaround time. If you have a larger project, we can discuss various option.
- Number of Moving Parts: Things like a direct mail piece including an invitation, informational card, and a return envelope, will also require more time to coordinate, collect, and envelope stuff. If there is a hard due date, your sales rep can help plan so your due date is achieved.
- Is Die Cutting Required? If you’re creating a specially shaped piece, such as a flower, star, or something with a pocket, we’ll create a die that you can use again and again to cut that shape. That requires additional production time after your print piece is completed. We can create the die while your print job is in production to maximize streamlining your project.
- Number of Folds: More complicated brochures with several folds require more runs through the folder.
- Finishing Options: Varnishes and other special embellishments require an extra step in the printing process and therefore add some additional time.
Pro Tips on Printing Turnaround Times
Take it from the pros…
- The earlier you engage a printer in the process of printing your deliverables, the smoother the entire process will go for both of you.
- You can also expect better turnaround time, since they’ll be prepared and can line your project up earlier in their schedules.
- This is also true for costs. You’ll avoid rush costs, and even additional postage costs, if you begin the discussions early.
- Discuss with your sales rep. We can work a timeline backwards to meet your deadline and know what we need at every step.
Let’s Get Started!
At Davant, we pride ourselves on high-quality printing jobs done right every time. We also pride ourselves on fast printing turnaround times. Depending upon your print job and the requirements for it, we can often provide completed jobs within one to five days. Let’s see how we can help you get started.