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Topic: What should I look for in a printer?  (Read 539 times)
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cinnamon teal
« on: November 07, 2006 03:53:38 PM »

I want to start making cards and I have a few designs, but I'm really not sure where I should get them printed and what I should be aware of when choosing a printer.  (I'm most interested in full color, glossy prints but I would love to hear advice you have about single color and other processes, too.)  I live near Sacramento, so if any of you have experience with a great printer in the area, I'd love a recommendation.  I do want to start pretty small, so do you think I should just print them off of my home printer of use something like Kinkos?

Thanks so much!
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itscribe
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006 11:46:46 AM »

If you can, perhaps talk to a few of the Realtors in your area. They will often use printers for business cards and brochures. Go to the hotels and in the lobby there should be a brochure rack. Any local places might even say who prints their brochures right on the brochure. The Chamber of Commerce would be another good place to look for brochures/referrals.

See if you can find out who the Chamber uses - it's usually a member - so it might be a favor. If you can get a member of the staff in a quiet corner, they might give you honest feedback - they will know who's a good value and who's not, the trick is getting them to be honest.

Maybe make a couple of calls to advertising agencies, graphics designers, or others who stake their business on the printers they use.

Hope that helps, and hopefully someone here lives nearby and can offer a solution.

Also, don't discount online places. The one I got my business cards from has a great product and price but are not entirely on time with delivery (only one order so it may have just been one of those things).
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CraftyChef
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006 09:57:22 AM »

You'll have to scout around for the cheapest print and the best quality for the money. I imagine you'll have small runs of things, which is a lot more expensive than if you printed 500+, in which case you'll have less variety to sell (since you'll only be able to afford x-number of print runs). On the other hand, if you do small runs you'll have to sell cards at a higher price than people are used to paying for a printed card, to recoup your expense.

My own plans for next year include pro printing of 6-8 pics on an oversized postcard (8.5x5.5; 4 pics on one side, 2 on the other or whatever, so I get up to 8 varieties of cards). I can then cut out the pics and place as a panel on high-quality paper. Still that handmade feel, but with higher quality printing, and the cutting is relatively simple. So for the cost of 1 postcard I get 8 possible pictures to play with, which also cuts down on inventory as I still only have to make the cards as they're ordered. I'll be using overnightprints.com, by the way. I looove their matte finish - very attractive! Minimum order is 100, I believe. You also have to see if your printer has a minimum order.

You never know what people are going to go for, so to spend money to print, say, just 4 different cards because that's all I can afford/have room to store would just kill my business. There is a lot of competition out there for greeting cards and you should know your market very well and have potential outlets for sale ready and waiting before spending your hard-earned dough.
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cinnamon teal
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2006 11:51:02 PM »

Thank you, both, so much for the information.  CraftyChef, I love hearing your insight as a card maker.  Thanks for sharing your idea of having multiple images printed together to save on costs.  You're a genius! 

If anyone else has any insights on choosing a printer I appreciate as much wisdom as you can give me. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2006 12:48:43 AM »

Hi cinnamon teal

I'm not sure if you are talking about business cards or greeting cards or where you live, but I say just break out the phone book and call some printers. Ask them what they specialize in. In some places there are printers who specialize in cards and wedding invitations, they may be more reasonable then a general comemercial printer. Smae with business cards.

A good printer is willing to let you come in and see the presses. They'll show you samples of other print jobs they've run and offer you advice and options if you're unsure about something, like paper stock. They'll give you a proof to approve before they print. Anther important questions; what software and materials do they accept?

One last peice of advice is consior digital printing over off-set. Less expensive and smaller minimum runs.
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