What Color Copiers Will Do and Won’t Do

Many people are upgrading to color copiers or MFPs now that they’re affordable. One way businesses cost justify the upgrade is to eliminate low volume printers with expensive supplies such as inkjet and switch the color volume to the color copier which has less expensive supplies for both black and color.


Another way to justify the upgrade is the expectation of eliminating the outside printer who is currently doing the color work. This is where the caution flag needs to go up. Most affordable color copiers are ‘business color’ as opposed to “graphic color”. Most outside printers use expensive copiers and printing presses which produce “graphic color”. Getting your own color copier will not always replace all that color work.


An example of this are brochures which are edge to edge or ‘full page bleed’ with no borders. Copiers and printers always have white borders along at least one side. That is necessary to prevent paper jams. A printer uses larger paper and then trims it down to 8½ x 11 to create the full bleed look. Also, printers have sophisticated finishing equipment such as folders. So keep that in mind too.


Many purchasers of color copiers want to begin a more aggressive marketing program using color collateral. This is a smart strategy. A good example of this are real estate yard signs where you pick up information on the house. Color brochures are vastly superior to black and white. Again, keep in mind what was stated in the previous paragraph. The $50,000 color copier that your printer uses will look better than your $5,000 office color copier.


The best way to prevent problems is to show a few examples of what you’re sending out to the copier sales rep so you can be assured that it’s something you could do with your new copier. If the sales rep is unsure they can send it to the manufacturers lab and ask
that some sample copies or prints be returned for you to look at.


Another overlooked area is making sure the new A3 or A4 copiers will work with your Macintosh Operating System. Most copiers require that Postscript be installed to do this. Without Postscript installed you won’t get all the Mac features available. You also need to make sure the copier connectivity person is familiar with Macintosh and can install the drivers properly. It’s a little more complicated than installing PC drivers and most copier techs are PC trained.


So in summary, the best way to get a color copier is to make sure you know what color work can be brought in house and what color work will still need to get sent out. The advantage of doing the work in house is you don’t have to do long runs. A printer will try to talk you into longer runs with price incentives. Then when a product or service changes you have a bunch of obsolete brochures to throw away. You also need to estimate how many printer cartridges you will save by moving most of your current print volume to the color copier which has less expensive supplies. I am referring to the various printers scattered around the office.