Q: Why should I print in China, instead of using a US printer?

A: We encourage our clients to use US printers if they can get the same quality and price as they can get when they print with us inChina. So if your goal is more profit for your company and you have no ideological objection to printing abroad, it makes economic sense to do so.

Q: What are some of the things I can print more cheaply in China?

A: There are some items that are simply much cheaper to print inChina, especially all kinds of books, greeting cards, post cards, boxed notes, art prints and calendars; also some printed packaging. We have found the greatest savings in items that are full color printing. Items that require bindery work, hand work, lamination, intricate die cutting, embossing, foil stamping and glitter are much cheaper there.

Q: What kind of printing equipment do you use?

A:  Our printers use offset printing presses for the best printing results. Offset printing requires more artistry by the press operators, and this is where our printers really shine!

Q: Is there a minimum quantity we need to print?

A: We do longer-run, offset printing which means minimum quantities begin in the low thousands and go up from there. It will depend on the nature of your printing job. A rule of thumb in printing is the higher the quantity, the lower the unit cost.

Q: What don’t you print?

A:  We do not print low-quantity, on-demand printing. The quantities for this kind of printing are normally less than 500 pieces. We will save you money on longer runs, so this is where you need to be.

We also do not do large format printing, such as banners, posters and very large point of purchase displays.

Q: Why not go direct to the manufacturer?

A:  That is always an option, and there are times when print buyers are better served by going direct. For instance: if you have a lot of extra time, have a thorough understanding of print manufacturing, importing, shipping and all the complexities of doing business offshore, it makes sense to go direct.

But if the cost to use our services is less than going direct, and you have the added benefit of using reputable suppliers, doesn’t it make sense for us to start a conversation?

Q: How are we compensated?

A: Selling at a price slightly higher than the printers’ purchase price is our compensation. The printing companies can offer a purchase price below market because they do not pay Tiger Communications a salary, commission or benefits. Therefore, you can buy from us for less than you would pay the manufacturer, and get a lot more for your money.

Q: How do I communicate with Chinese printers?

A: Tiger Communications will handle all communication with printers. In some cases, our respective teams will discuss production issues directly through email, and English is the spoken language.

Q: How can I be sure quality standards will be met?

A: Our printers have met all international standards for quality and management practices. This is very important because ISO Certification provides for Quality Assurance, safety and reliability.

Q: Doesn’t it take a lot of time to print offshore?

A: Our Chinese printers work just as fast, if not faster than US printers. They have refined the art of print manufacturing, and serve clients world-wide so keep tight schedules. Questions are usually answered within one working day, and corrections frequently done through email.

Q: What about the time it takes to get the products from China?

A: Northwest and West Coast clients have an advantage geographically because it’s just 12 days by ocean from Hong Kong toSeattle, plus another few days for delivery. If your location is on the East Coast or somewhere in between, the shipment can take another week. You’ll reap the cost benefits, while your time to market is not greatly extended.

Q: Can I get the same paper in Hong Kong that I can get in the US?

A: The Chinese have been printing for centuries, and they know paper! If you provide a sample of the paper you like, we can get something very close or better. There are fine Chinese papers, and many papers are imported from Japan, Finland and Europe. Importing papers from the US is more expensive, but can be done.

Q: Is printing offshore environmentally friendly?

A: Our printers exercise Green Printing, and are members of the Cleaner Production Partnership that ensures less emissions and waste and other sustainability practices. We’ll provide soy-based, petroleum-free inks, coatings, and binding materials. You can also request FSC certified paper and recycled papers up to 99% recycled content . It is just a matter of degree and cost.

Q: What exactly are soy inks?

A: Wikipedia provides a more thorough description, but here are some basics.

a) To make soy ink, soybean oil is slightly refined and blended with pigments, resins and oils.

b) Soy ink is not 100% biogradable because of the pigments and additives, but degrades more than four times as completely as petroleum-based inks.

c) Soy ink is helpful in recycling because it can be removed more easily than regular inks during the de-inking process.

d) Soy inks spread 15% further, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.

Q: What kind of artwork or files do I need to send?

A: Our printers accept print-ready files on CD, DVD, Zip or Jazz. You can also upload your files to an FTP site. We often suggest sending both FTP and native files. We will, of course, explain this in more detail when it is time to send your files and artwork.

Most software programs are acceptable, including In Design, Photoshop, Page Maker, Quark Express and PDF files.

Q: What are your Terms and Conditions for doing business?

A.  We will provide a written document that outlines our terms and conditions along your quote. These binding rules were designed to protect both client and Tiger Communications from any misunderstandings, and outlines explicitly what you can expect.

Q: If I can’t attend a press check, how do I know the product will match the proofs?

A: Our printers take extra care during the proofing process. In addition to digital proofs, we can provide Press Proofs which are printed on your chosen paper (not on a proofing machine on proofing paper), and are thus a much truer match to your commercial printing.

This saves time and allows you to review proofs in your own environment at your convenience. Press proofs are rarely done by US printing companies.

Q: What if I need some products for a trade show and the shipment won’t arrive in time?

A:  No problem! We will arrange to have samples, called “advance copies” sent by courier to arrive in a day or two, before the bulk shipment leaves the factory.

Q: What happens if the printer makes a mistake? Do they ever print the wrong thing?

A:  Mistakes are rare, but they can happen. If our printers make a mistake, they will immediately reprint the job to your satisfaction, at no cost.

And no, they will not print the wrong thing … that question came up once!