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Cheap/Fast/Good—Pick 2 (Or Maybe Only 1)

A retailer approaches for a print bid. Ends up going with someone else for a lower price. Problem is, now their signs are failing in-store. So they come back and we re-bid. Now the retailer has paid more than they would've originally, had they chosen Good over Cheap.

You've probably heard this old chestnut: "Fast, good, or cheap. Pick two." This is also known as the project management triangle, and designers have been giving these options to clients for decades. The theory goes that you can get something fast and cheap, but the quality will suffer, or good and fast, but pay more than you've budgeted, or good and cheap, but it will take extra time to get the product in your hands. 

Most clients have made their peace with these restrictions, and make their decisions based on their budget and timeline constraints. However, in the print world, sometimes "Pick two" becomes "Pick one." What do you do? Which do you pick?

Some choose to go with "Fast," but it might not be to their advantage; while your printing partner can certainly turn the project around quickly, you get the best results when you allow them the time to properly plan and execute your project, particularly when that project is very complex. Picking "Cheap" may look good for your short-term budget, but may carry hidden costs or unintended consequences if you don't get quality materials and solutions.

That leaves one option left—"Good." If you're forced to pick just one of the trio of options, we always recommend that you aim for quality. 

Why should you focus on quality above speed and price? Well, you want your print project to reflect well on your brand. If you don't allow your print partner the time and budget to create a truly great piece, you're facing the possibility that it might not turn out as you've envisioned. Ultimately, it's in your best interest to concentrate on quality when you're forced to choose just one side of the project management triangle. 

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Jan 20, 2017 |

Topics: design, print, Retail, tips

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