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Color Printing

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Color Printing

Postby TomWanderer on Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:15 pm

This is the item in which I ask your opinions about where you go for affordable, quality color printing.

I'm looking for single sided 11X17 color printing, 300 pieces. These will be cut down to 11x11 for the insert in our new album. Last time I went through Vistaprint and the result was not excellent, but passable. I think the total was somewhere around $150. I went through them again and just received the job in the mail, it looks like shit; super dark, pixelated, no detail. I'm gonna try and get my money back and have the job printed again elsewhere.

Locally I can use Digicopy, they do good work, but color 11x17 on basic copy paper stock is $0.79 each so I'd be looking at $237 for the printing. Searching for cheap color printing online casts one into a hell hole, so I humbly seek your recommendations. Thanks.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby icing on Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:25 pm

jakprints cleveland
just googled them and seems there's one in oceanside ca, maybe moved, maybe many locations, didn't dig.

friend swears by them, I don't see the finished work but I've sent them (cleveland) maybe a hundred jobs and never had a problem.

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Re: Color Printing

Postby icing on Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:29 pm

also in chicago there's sunrise hitek

don't know anything about the prices, but former coworker who very much knows what he's doing runs the color jobs there.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby blackmarket on Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:38 pm

I work in print (Chicago area). Feel free to PM me with details and I will see what I can do.

Vistprint sucks. You get what you pay for. If the pieces came back pixelated, images are probably low-resolution. Not necessarily their fault, but it might be. Either way, they should have flagged it and told you. Have a professional look at the art. I can do that.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby TomWanderer on Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:57 pm

Thanks for the quick feedback. I've got a couple decades in print under my belt as well. Mostly screen printing, but I've done everything from offset printing, layout, pre-press paste up and photography, etc. I'm not a computer genius, and I still do a lot of graphic design with a ruler and exacto, but I'm Adobe literate and can pull my weight in Illustrator and Photoshop. That's what makes everything about the Vistaprint experience so frustrating! I'm going to get a couple proofs made at Digicopy just to see what a decent print of my file looks like compared to what Vistaprint sent and go from there. Blackmarket, thank you for the offer. I may be contacting you in the near future.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby blackmarket on Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:26 pm

TomWanderer wrote:Thanks for the quick feedback. I've got a couple decades in print under my belt as well. Mostly screen printing, but I've done everything from offset printing, layout, pre-press paste up and photography, etc. I'm not a computer genius, and I still do a lot of graphic design with a ruler and exacto, but I'm Adobe literate and can pull my weight in Illustrator and Photoshop. That's what makes everything about the Vistaprint experience so frustrating! I'm going to get a couple proofs made at Digicopy just to see what a decent print of my file looks like compared to what Vistaprint sent and go from there. Blackmarket, thank you for the offer. I may be contacting you in the near future.


Alright. I am sure you understand how to check the resolution of your images and the colorspace. In my experience, low-end digital printers rarely calibrate their equipment. Vistaprint should refund the printing at the very least, as it probably cost them a matter of cents for the actual printing. Do they have to refund? Probably not. This is one of the many reasons why those who care about quality should work with a local printer, or someone you know and trust. Digital output can vary wildly. Operators have limited control vs offset or screen printing. They are at the mercy of toner cartridge variation and the tiny differences in spec between parts when replaced. Cost has become more important than quality, so here we are.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby TomWanderer on Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:11 pm

You're 100% right about working with a trusted local provider. That's something I truly enjoy about the rest of the record making process; working with professionals that I know and trust and gladly paying for their expertise. Unfortunately when I get to this point in the process I try to skimp on the digital printing because it sounds so needlessly expensive. But of course that ends in a bad result.

I have already heard back from Vistaprint. They have a "100% satisfaction guarantee" but before refunding my money they insist on reprinting the entire job again after I resubmit the files and they have someone check them. Apparently if I am still unsatisfied, then they will refund me. What a waste!
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Re: Color Printing

Postby blackmarket on Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:17 pm

TomWanderer wrote:You're 100% right about working with a trusted local provider. That's something I truly enjoy about the rest of the record making process; working with professionals that I know and trust and gladly paying for their expertise. Unfortunately when I get to this point in the process I try to skimp on the digital printing because it sounds so needlessly expensive. But of course that ends in a bad result.

I have already heard back from Vistaprint. They have a "100% satisfaction guarantee" but before refunding my money they insist on reprinting the entire job again after I resubmit the files and they have someone check them. Apparently if I am still unsatisfied, then they will refund me. What a waste!


That's great that they will refund.

The mark up on digital printing is HUGE. Small runs get gouged. They will rerun the job, ship it to you again, and still make money on the job.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby Anthony Flack on Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:49 pm

I never know what the fuck is going on with any printer until I get the test print back, then I inevitably have to tweak the image based on what the test print looks like. Once I have that first test print I know what I'm dealing with and I can make a decent stab of compensating for whatever their printer does.

I suppose if I was a real pro I'd get them to send me a calibration chart they had printed and I could calibrate a colour space on my monitor to match, or something like that. But I don't work with print very much, and I've always been a cowboy operator anyway. On a steel horse I ride.

I did a layout for an album a while back and the background was supposed to be a pale creamy beige colour, kind of like a paler version of the colour behind this text. Except when it was printed and laminated, it nudged it a shade closer to fishtank green, just enough to detect a little green note in there. And the band and the cover artist went AARGH because the album was supposed to be a warm shade, not hinting at green. But luckily it was just a test print.

So, uh, yeah, do test prints.
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Re: Color Printing

Postby wotown on Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:27 pm

Check out Sooper Dooper in Madison WI. (They can deliver the finished product to Milwaukee if that helps.)

http://www.sooperdooper.net/

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