Which marketing/ branded materials can you print on your own?

  • Flyers: Since flyers are usually for a limited-time promotion, then their temporary nature means that you can take the liberty of printing them yourself. Of course, if you're handing out thousands of flyers, it might make more sense for you to have them printed. Or at least Xeroxed!
  • Handouts: Since handouts are usually for a single event or talk, printing them yourself makes sense.
  • PowerPoint slide deck summaries: Again, since these are customized or for one event only, it wouldn't make sense to print them professionally — unless you're presenting to thousands of fans!
  • Letterhead: If you only print a few physical letters in a year, then printing up an entire batch of letterhead doesn't make much sense; especially when most printers have a minimum of 500 pieces. As a side note, letterhead and envelopes are also the only materials I don't recommend printing with digital printers because the paper stock doesn't look very high-quality.
  • Invoices from Quickbooks: Again, they're one-off; printing them on your printer is the only viable option.
  • Proposals: Actually, anything that's individually tailored to the prospect should be printed in your office.
  • Mailing labels (Avery labels work great for this): Printing envelopes cost a lot.
  • Binder covers and spines: Again, unless you're producing many copies of your binder, than buying blank binders at an office supply store and slipping your artwork into the plastic sleeve makes more financial sense than custom-printing on the binder itself.
  • Which materials can you absolutely not print on your own?

    • Business cards. Between printing a bunch of cards, trimming them, the thin papers available for home use, and the low cost of printing cards digitally, there's no excuse to print these at home.
  • Postcards. If you're printing a postcard, you'll run into some of the same problems with business cards. Print quantities, trimming them straight, and thin paper will all make your postcards look less-than-great.
  • Letterhead: If you use more than a few copies of letterhead in a year (or, if you could think of other ways to use more copies of your letterhead), then I recommend going to the expense of printing the letterhead. It will pay off in the long run by making your business look much better put-together.
  • Brochures. Have you ever seen a trifold brochure that's printed on a home printer? It's pretty obvious, and looks pretty poor. First of all, the paper is usually just regular printer paper — not thick or glossy like a nice brochure could be. And, home printers almost always leave some sort of margin around the edge of the page. Then, there's also the
  • Envelopes. Unless your printer's pretty advanced, then printing envelopes might make you a bit crazy. I know that on every printer I've ever owned, the "envelope feed" function doesn't really work well. The printing may wind up crooked, or the envelopes might get jammed and make you fix your printer over and over again. Better to get them professionally printed and avoid having to pull your hair out in frustration.
  • Did I miss something in these categories that you absolutely need to know about? Let me know in the comments!