That's why if you decide to print brochures online, you should take the following into consideration while going through the printing process to ensure your brochures look professional and are of the highest quality. You should be able to find most of this information by browsing the printer's Web site. If not, a quick call to the customer service department should give you some answers.
Check the paper sizes offered by the online printer. The paper size you choose will affect your design in content as well as size. If you start out your design at one size and decide you'd like to downsize it, you'll need to redesign the brochure in your design software. Asking a printer to shrink your brochure to size will result in a crushed-looking brochure, no matter which printer you choose.
Be sure your artwork matches the printer's specifications. The order form page of the printer's Web site should specify or give you a drop-down menu of choices of what kind of file you are submitting (Quark, InDesign, etc.). Some printers only accept GIF files while others will support TIF files for photos. Make sure your photos are at least 300 dpi (dots per inch), the minimum quality for a clear printed photo.
Check template availability. Even if you don't need a template for design elements, printers that provide templates on their Web sites encourage users to download them (for free) so that page bleeds will print correctly. This is highly recommended to be sure you don't have any extra white space or that a photo doesn't get cut off on the edge of the page.
Order, or purchase locally, a Pantone color chart. You can't rely on the colors of your computer screen to accurately represent the colors that will be printed. Computers are calibrated to an RGB (red, green, blue) palette of which to create colors. Printers are calibrated to use four colors, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) to create more true colors. Having a Pantone color chart will ensure that the colors you are choosing on your computer screen will match your printed brochure.
You can choose from many different paper types for your brochure as well as UV coatings. The higher the number of pounds (100# versus 80#) the thicker the paper. Choose whichever the best paper you can afford. UV coatings also reduce finger smudge as well as the ink fading that comes with time.
Lastly, you'll get a proof before you approve the printer to print your brochure. You can either get a PDF proof or a paper proof. If you're short on time, you can go with the PDF proof, but if you have a few days built into your schedule, you should get a paper proof so that you can see the true Pantone colors.
Once you approve the proof, your brochure gets printed and if chosen, mailed for you. You can submit your mailing list to some printers who will address and mail the brochures for you. If you don't need this option, you'll be sent the brochures within the shipping time you selected.