April 11, 2013

If there is one thing print designers can unite in force over, it is the benefit of using a good professional printer. I promise we graphic designers don’t purposefully find the most expensive printer available just to screw with you, it’s actually that you do get what you pay for when it comes to printers.

So while I won’t go into the different types of printing here today (check back in next week for that post) I will explain some of the major differences you get from your designer recommended printers vs. the majority of the online services and stationery store options.

The online stores and “instant” print shops (where a youthful employee uploads your file & prints while you wait) often have glorified photocopiers, this means the inks will come out murky as the heads can't be manually set nor is it amazing quality inks. You are limited to digital printing - no offset, foiling etc. A very small selection of papers is on offer which can alter the entire look of your design and you are left to do the trimming yourself if it is not a standard size. They also can have a lot of trouble lining up double sided prints perfectly which isn’t great for if you want a professional looking job BUT they are great for quick cheap promo material or your kids birthday invites.

The reputable / professional print houses have more ranges of paper stocks than you can shake a stick at - if it exists they can get it for you, the machines are programmed to perfection for clear & concise colours so you will never have mismatched brand colours. They can arrange for foiling, embossing, laminate, diecuts, white on black printing etc - so there is a HUGE range of printing options. No size is too weird for them to trim and you get to work with someone who is trained to get your work looking perfect.

So the things to check before you decide on which printer to go ahead with:

  • Do I really need this work to look super clean and polished?
  • Will I be wanting a speciality paper choice?
  • Will this just be a cheap flyer, where quality doesn't matter?
  • Is this a double sided print and does alignment matter?
  • Am I relying on the colours matching my brand perfectly?

So now you are armed with a list of question to ask yourself next time you need printing done.

Any designy questions? Let me know in the comments and I'll do a big ol' Q & A session.


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