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If you watch any of the home building or renovation shows that seem to be everywhere, you will have come across the term ‘bespoke’. It was an old english term meaning ‘(of goods, especially clothing) made to order’ or ‘made for a particular customer or user’ It had largely fallen out of usage as the era of industrialisation arrived and by the 1950’s consumer mass production consumption it was relegated to talking about one off hand crafted items. However with the rise of computer driven automation, bespoke has become a term used to describe the act of using mass production techniques and technologies to produce unique custom items. What’s this got to do with printing I hear you ask.
As said in the introduction, today bespoke is used to describe the act of using mass production techniques and technologies to produce unique custom items. As everything is largely digitally/computer controlled, it means that it’s often very simple to produce of either very small runs or massive ones for the same costs in time and money, or produce a item where each copy is unique in some way even though the total run could be in tens of thousands. Printing is such a digital process, so for many situations it is no more expensive to print 1000 flyers with unique information as it is to 1000 flyers that are identical. In fact you might already be doing that as part of your job. If you have every had to print a mail-merged letter where each has a unique address and persons name but the same general contents, that is an example of bespoke printing.
Doing bespoke printing on a commercial scale is no different to printing on a personal scale. With commercial digital printers the contents can change dynamically sheet to sheet just like the printers for home or office. It also means that if we are doing batches of one style of product, for example business cards, we will often give you our client a combined run discount or price it by the total volume printed and add a per design charge to cover the time setting up each sub run. Sighting a real world example. One of our clients has to print hundreds personalized letters several times a week. These letters have to be in postcode and address order to be able to get the cheapest postal rates. With our system we can print them in the correct order, trim to size and fold for easy insertion in to envelopes in a matter of minutes while they pay a highly discounted rate per page because we don’t have to handle each letter separately through our automated systems.
Now you might be asking what use is that type of printing if you don’t send out letters. It’s a lot of use. For instance the same technology that puts different addresses, can mix different graphics and even whole different sections of documents together based on the data fed in to it. If you were sending out a price catalogue, you can have each one put together based on which sections printed based on what the customer orders from you, or you can generate flyers which list the different dates that you service each suburb or area of a region. While some of this is beyond the needs of anyone but the largest corporates, there’s still some ways you can use in even as sole trader. With our web to print system, we can create easy to use templates that are exclusively yours to use, so you can just drop in new contents for each promotion and print them out while still maintaining that same high quality professional look you need to attract customers.
Another area of bespoke printing is custom sizes and material being printed on. If you watch our order site you might have noticed that we are doing sizes other than the standard ‘A’ sizes. Double panel DL greeting cards are CD sized square flyers, are just two examples. For a smaller more responsive print company like us here at Copy Express, it’s not that much more difficult to set up a custom sized print job over the standard one. The only real limit is how the item fits on a printing sheet that decides what you pay for it. In some situation we carry especially over long paper to get us the better range of options for printing and allow us to give you the best value for your money. Again it’s just a case of contacting us with your idea and we working with you come up with the solution that works the best.
In the end the best rule of thumb when thinking about bespoke printing is talking to us at Copy Express. If we can’t do it inhouse, normally one of our partners can, from there it just depends on how much you need and how much time and money are willing to spend to get it done. We can even do a lot of the work for you making it quick and simple. So give us a call or email and we will be happy to answer any questions or make suggestions to make it work for you.