I once worked for a small print shop that had many non-profit organizations as customers. We frequently saw stationery designs that had been donated at no cost by generous graphic designers. 

The designs were often handsome, but sometimes had a serious downside for the organization: they were expensive to print!

One design featured a different three-color ink combo for the envelope, the letterhead and the business card. The number of inks and wash-ups between items added significantly to the printing cost.

Luckily this particular organization was able to come up with the extra money to print the designs, but by doing so, they signed on for a future of expensive reprints that would continue to stretch their thin budget thinner.

Disaster Avoidance Tip

Before designing, discuss print needs, quantities, and printing budget with the organization. Get and discuss preliminary, pre-design printing estimates with the client to ensure that your designs will be on target to their budget.

Here’s a handy rule of thumb: The smaller the print run, the more modest the print needs should be to keep the printing prices affordable.