How to Make the Most of In-House Printing

In-house printing can be a great solution if you're trying to save money or don't have time to wait on things from an outside printer. Chances are your church or organization already has a copy machine in your office (whether it be black & white or even color). The challenging part is making things that were printed on a copy machine look like they were not printed on a copy machine. Here are a few ways that you can still make impactful print pieces using the resources you may already have in-house:

1. Be aware of your limits

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Typically, a printer will allow you to print 1/8" from the edge of your paper. However, that doesn't mean you should. Alignment tends to be a fickle thing when you're working off a copy machine. Consider using at least 1/2" border of white space around everything. Plan it into your design so that it looks like an intentional choice rather than an obvious limitation. You might even experiment with asymmetrical borders (i.e. 3/4" on the side outer edges and 1/2" everywhere else) on large bodies of text.

Different machines have different limits. It's always best to test yours out and learn your machine. Another common issue I deal with is colors not matching from screen to paper. Sometimes I need to adjust to get the result I want. You may have a machine that just prints in black. In that case, you need to tailor everything you do to look good in grayscale from the very beginning.

2. Use awesome paper

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There's a whole world of paper out there beyond Office Depot & Staples. And when you discover it, it's like the scene in Tangled when Rapunzel experiences being outside of her tower for the first time. I'm talking colors that are not pastel and textures that will change your life. The only things you need to check is if the specific paper you want to use is made for laser printers and if your printer can handle its thickness. Three of my favorite paper companies are: 

A benefit to using a special paper is that you may only have to print in black, which is a huge money saver. 

3. Experiment

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Experiment with different sizes and folds. Instead of just folding a letter size piece of paper in half why not try a legal size that gives you closer to a square when it's folded in half. Or you might explore how printing in certain colors react with the colored paper you're using. Just like learning your limitations, you can make the most of your in-house printing by trying things you wouldn't normally think of. Most of the awesome things I've accomplished using in-house printing have come by way happy accidents.