Written By: Paula Fargo
I need a poster, how much does it cost?
A Nick the Lounge Singer from Baltimore, Maryland recently contacted us asking “I need a poster, how much does it cost?
Nick, this is a very frequently asked question, one that we get several times every day, as many printing vendors undoubtedly do. And, as a professional printer, I will give you the same answer I give everyone who asks this common question: “It depends.”
Posters and other large format printing jobs can be pretty tricky. They are not as straightforward as, say, flyers, although flyers do have their own set of questions.
Here are the questions I’ll need to have answers to in order to provide you a solid estimate for your project:
1. What does your file look like? Once I see your file, I can immediately begin to understand the nature of your print project and help make recommendations. Your file will also let me see well ahead of time if there are any potential issues with outputting, enlarging, resolution or other possible pitfalls in the production process. The file will let us know if we need to budget any graphic design services time to fix or enhance your artwork, ultimately affecting your estimate.
2. How quickly do you need it? This is important because we have different types of poster printers, some of which have toner that dries immediately, and others which have a longer drying time. These pieces of equipment have different costs associated with them, so your deadline will help determine which machine we run your particular poster on, and that, in turn, plays a part in computing the estimate.
3. Are you using the poster indoors or outdoors? We need this information again to help us determine not only which machine to run your posters on, but to help us decide what medium will be best. If the poster should be on paper, should it be matte, glossy or semi-gloss? If it is going to be adhered to some rigid media, should we apply an over-laminate to help protect it from the elements? If it is going inside a frame of some sort, the dimensions will be most important, as well as how the poster will be seated in that frame. If the poster will be outdoors, how long will it be there? Is if for a brief event, or is it needed for a more permanent position? Those answers will help us figure out what level of UV protection is needed, if any. These facts all play into the estimate we will give you.
4. What is the lighting like where you will be hanging it? Is this a poster presentation for a conference you will be attending? Is readability important? If there are glaring lights or spotlights where your poster will be, then we should use a matte paper, because any glossy paper will reflect the light and make it difficult for your piece to be read and understood. Is the poster a photograph or some other color-heavy art? Then a gloss or semi-gloss will really enhance the vibrancy of the colors.
5. Is there any flexibility with the size of the piece? Poster pricing is largely dependent on the square footage of your project. If you can size your piece a bit smaller, sometimes that’s a great place to help save some cost.
6. Will you be using this here in Baltimore or traveling with it? How we package this for you may also affect the estimate we provide.
Any professional printer worth his weight will be asking these questions in order to get you the best and most accurate estimate for your poster project. Think about it this way…the more questions we ask, the more interested we are in helping you create a perfect poster project!