09.19.12

ADVICE / 33

here’s the question this week: “how do you go about finding a good printer to work with?”

KATIE + BRI’S ANSWERS:
it’s a game of trial and error. you can try one place and not like the quality. you could try another place and not like the account managers. i’ve had some recommendations from friends that steered me in the right direction. i live in new york, but my main printer is in california. i found stationery hq through a client i worked with a couple years ago. i use them for all my branding elements and stationery designs. they have an easy system on their site to upload your work and choose your options. i think the prices are right. you can do so many things with them from stationery to stickers to wrapping paper! the only thing i don’t like is that i can’t physically see a sample of my order before i pay for 100 cards. i bet if i asked they might do it. i’m usually releasing files right at my deadline anyway so i guess it doesn’t matter.

for letterpress work i use thomas-printers in pennsylvania. kseniya thomas, one of the co-founders, is so sweet to work with. she studied in germany and knows her stuff. the mandate press also pumps out nice business cards with the sexy edging on the side. (bri’s cards are from there!)

we have also heard great things about igloo letterpress! rubber stamps? here. stickers? here.

and if you know of great printers, we would love if you’d share. thank you!

(illustration by katie evans. read more freelance advice posts are over here!)

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31 Comments

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  • 1. Al  |  September 19th, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Man I love a good advice post. Plus this one has the recommended links. I feel like I’m getting inside information that’ll cut down some work on my end. sweet.

  • 2. Anni  |  September 19th, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Thanks so much for including the links, so helpful. I love me some good letterpress!

  • 3. Julia Stowell  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Oh my gosh, I wish I had this info two weeks ago! I had some cards printed and was so disappointed with how they turned out. …next time I will try one of these suggestions, THANKS!

  • 4. Carolyn  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Dock2 Letterpress in Rochester, NY does really great work! Check them out! http://dock2letterpress.com/

  • 5. Sarah  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    How do you manage things like proofing and press checks from such a great distance? I’ve stayed local for that reason, but would be interested to hear how you work around the “babysitting” side of print job.

  • 6. Prêt à Voyager / Anne  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Jessica Hische put together an incredible resource of printers that you can’t miss! http://www.inkerlinker.com/

  • 7. Lindsay  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Fabulous designer Jessica Hische created this site for just this purpose. Good recs! Check it out: http://www.inkerlinker.com/

    Also, Studio on Fire does beautiful lettterpress. I’ve heard the owner, Ben Levitz, talk about his work and how he found, maintains, learns about all his machines. He’s truly passionate. Can’t say enough good things about him and his team! http://www.studioonfire.com/

  • 8. Whitney-Anne  |  September 19th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I’m still trying to get the CMYK thing right. Have ordered stuff that looked fine on my monitor and crap once it came back from the printers – Boo hoo! Any advice on that one?

  • 9. Cori Magee  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Great resource post girls and I LOVE the illustration!!

  • 10. Katie  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for answering my question! So helpful! :)

  • 11. Liz White  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:08 am

    This is great, finding a good printer is always a challenge!

    Whitney-Anne: I’d recommend getting the Pantone Color Bridge swatch books. I use mine ALL the time. What’s cool about the Color Bridge swatch books is that it shows you how the pantone colors print on one side of the swatch, and then how they print in CMYK (and their cmyk values) on the other side. You can use the Pantone color books in your adobe creative suite, they are available in your color library. Then when you go to print, tell your printer what pantone colors you are aiming for and you will have better results with color matching!

  • 12. Piper  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Thank you so much for this! Been trying to find a printer for business cards and you just saved me oodles of time! XO

  • 13. Chelsey Nichol  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I love this post! I worked at my family commercial print shop for 10 years and now run my own letterpress shop. I love working with clients and designers who know what they want, but I also enjoy helping people work through printing lingo to make sure what ends up being printed is exactly what they were looking for.
    One piece of advise…don’t design to the colors you see on your monitor. Every monitor is different and can show the same color looking different ways. Keep the different Pantone Matching books around, both for coated and uncoated papers. Know how your end product is going to be printed, and make sure you are aware of how the color you picked will actually produce on different papers. Believe me, it will save you a lot of frustration in the end! And always make sure to explain your expectations to the printer, they can’t read your mind, and don’t ever assume they can. That is what can be difficult about working with an online printer, but it can also be equally challenging to find a printer in your area so you can see a sample or do press checks before the project is complete.
    Building a trusting relationship with your printer can be key to designer happiness!!

  • 14. Rashi  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Ah! It’s like the stars are aligned today. I just spend the better half of this morning looking for printers to work with and that I can develop partnerships with. Thank you SO much for this very timely advice post. You gals really are doing something amazing here.

  • 15. Monique  |  September 19th, 2012 at 9:38 am

    This is so awesome! I love your cards Bri, the edges are so pretty. I’d also throw Quality Letterpress (http://qualityletterpress.com/) in San Diego to the mix. You can even visit their shop while they’re printing and watch them work their magic!

  • 16. Jesse  |  September 19th, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Was just just researching letterpress printers. Thanks for the timely info!

  • 17. Desiree  |  September 19th, 2012 at 10:22 am

    If you’re in the LA area- the best printer for basically anything from letterpress work to any marketing material is Lonestar Press ( http://lspla.com/). Seriously top notch service, assistance with getting your work ready for press, and always turn out work on top and with great quality. Cannot recommend enough!

  • 18. Julie  |  September 19th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    If you’re in Southern California and want to work with someone local for letterpress I’m based out of Long Beach – http://www.cartoulespress.com. I’m fun to work with and nice. Promise :)

  • 19. Casey Lynn  |  September 19th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Gosh this is the perfect post for me today! I am just getting into making lots of wedding invitations, cards and other paper goods! I have always used online printers because I have never had time to search out an actual local printer, but I hate that I can’t get a sample. I think I should start looking into some of these companies in the LA area. Starting from scratch is kinda daunting however so all of these recommendations today are wonderful!! Julie I think I will be contacting you soon! Thanks for a great advice post Katie and Bri!

  • 20. Rachel Tobias  |  September 19th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Swayspace does absolutely amazing work (http://www.swayspace.com/). HUGE recommendation. They sent me this incredible sample booklet that blew me out of the water after we used them on a project. Can’t wait to work with them again! :)

  • 21. Brittany  |  September 19th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    So glad you shared this! Thanks!

  • 22. Chick Tyler  |  September 19th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I’m glad you addressed this issue! I feel like I’m always doing a weird tango with printers!

  • 23. Danielle  |  September 19th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    For letterpress printing in the Philly area, I can recommend http://www.cleanwashletterpress.com (Colleen runs the show) and for short runs in digital printing definitely go to Digital Color. Michele Patent is the nicest person EVER so feel free to discuss your design questions and Jim is the owner (super nice too). They also work directly with a mail house in case you are thinking about sending out promos. They handle EVERYTHING! You can count on them for sure and you can request a color proof or a PDF proof.

    I am now in Detroit and I’ve seen/heard great things about Salt & Cedar Letterpress as well as Stukenborg Letterpress (Bryan Christopher Baker). I plan on learning more this week during the Detroit Design Festival!

  • 24. Court  |  September 19th, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Finding good printers has been something I’ve been struggling with so much, I just moved and the print shop I had depended on in my last city was on a walk-in basis only. I haven’t found a printer in my new town that I’ve been particularly impressed with, so I’m so super glad you are sharing your secrets with us. Also, as a recent design graduate these posts are so incredibly helpful, thank you!!!

  • 25. richele  |  September 20th, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Hola, I’m in So Cal and a letterpress printer. http://www.richiedesigns.com/ I’m a former advertising professional so I understand needs of designers and small businesses well. I often work with other designers on printing their projects and often recommend solutions that will help projects along the way.

    I encourage art directors and designers to come by and see the process – to learn about it so that their designs can be maximized through the print medium. knowledge is power!

  • 26. Shayna - SteelPetalPress  |  September 22nd, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I use stationeryHQ for digital printing too. They will let you order samples of ten first, but then you have to wait for the turn around time.

    In terms of letterpress I agree, Ksenya and Thomas Printers is great!

    I’m also a letterpress printer based out of Chicago:
    STEEL PETAL PRESS – http://steelpetalpress.com/

    I often print other designer’s work, however I’m a much smaller operation, which has its plusses (ie. personal attention, and attention do detail) and minuses (ie. lower volume capacity) so I get booked up quickly.

    I also recommend RHONER in Chicago: http://rohnerletterpress.com/
    or HENRY AND CO. in Atlanta: http://henryandco.com/

    Everyone does AMAZING work.

  • 27. Winslett  |  September 23rd, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Hi Bri, I love your inspiring images, creative designs & fun spirit!

    We have a studio called Back Yard Baby in Savannah, Ga where we print tees & more. (www.backyardbaby.com) We cater mostly to children (newborn to Youth 12) but also do special projects for all ages. Looking for some all original & funky personalized tees (+ other fun stuff!)…let us help! We design & print everything in house.

    We are about to launch our BYB Paper line as well (stationary, invites, calling cards, etc).

    Textiles + Paper…be sure to check us out!

  • 28. charles b  |  December 25th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    randomly came across this post, researching letter pesss printers. great work.

    for outdoor quality custom silkscreen stickers, i love sticker robot – definitey the best sticker printers. period. http://stickerobot.com for silkscreen poster printing i love d&l press in washington http://www.dandlpress.com

  • 29. Juliette  |  February 10th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I really like stationaryHG they do great work, fast turn and you can order as few as 10! really good for a hard proof.

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