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How to manage a print project

We might be moving towards more and more digital content, but there’s always room for a print project, whether it’s as small as a business card, or as big as a book.

A print project is like any other, and any project management skills will be really helpful for you to plan and successfully run your print project.

1

Planning

Like any project, you want to approach it with a firm idea of your budget, your timeline, and your stakeholders.

You might even want to produce a Gantt chart (or similar) of the project stages if it is particularly long or complicated.

2

Find your suppliers

Maybe you have a trusted partner you work with all the time, or are looking for completely new suppliers. Do your research – ask around for recommendations, or see who has produced something you’ve been impressed by. Get in touch and ask for some quotes.

When you've got your suppliers, confirm the quotes and deadlines are OK with them. If it's a big project, you might want to make sure they book in the time when they will be working on the project, so there's no delays later on!

3

Get a design

Are you starting from scratch, and need something designed? Then take a look at our how-to on writing a design brief.

The better the brief you can give your designers and printers the better! The more time and money you’ll save, and the faster you’ll be able to get started.

You might also be able to get some pro bono design services.

4

Communicate

Keep in touch with your designers, printers and any other stakeholders. You need to make sure everyone is on the same page, as you don’t want a misunderstanding about size or text, for example, to become a bigger problem later on.

If you're working to a tight deadline, designers and printers likely have lots of things on their plate, so a polite reminder of a deadline might be needed!

5

Proofing

One of the most important things, before you press the print button, is to proof-read what you’re producing. Even a short leaflet wants looking at as closely as a lengthy report or book. It’s always good to get someone else’s eyes on it – if you’ve seen it too often, you stop noticing mistakes. This might be something you want to outsource if it’s long, or ask an observant colleague if they will check it over. 

6

Beware delays

Delays happen – and you can’t always help that. Just be prepared in case they do, and build some contingency time into your project plan. If you have people waiting for your print project, whether someone inside your organisation, or externally, then keep them up to speed.

7

Evaluate

Every good project manager will tell you to evaluate your project when it’s finished, and it is often the step missed out. It’s especially important if you are going to be doing similar things again. What went wrong, or would you do differently next time? What went right, and you would keep the same?

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Page last edited May 24, 2017 History

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