THE FACTS ABOUT ONLINE PRINTING
1) How do they do it for so cheap? The answer is simple. They run multiple project together on very large press sheets and then trim them apart for distribution. Most online printers run anywhere between eight and sixteen brochures together on one sheet, where color and other adjustment cannot be fine tuned to your project. They just set the equipment at default and let it rip! That's why we see so many brochures these days with horrible color, especially in the flesh tones of faces and skin.
2) Why are there so many errors in layout? Unfortunately, online printers do not trouble shoot each project or even have a print-planning phase. they simply drop the submitted electronic file into place and it's all automated from there. If the layout, margins etc. are out of whack, it just prints, trims, folds and ships! Here's the bad news… these errors are 90% the fault of the person designing the piece and/or submitting the print files. Without the eye of a trained design and/or printing professional, these mistakes ALL just slip through undetected. An automated system simply can't check for these things, so you just have to cross your fingers and hope it comes out right. Here's a good rule of thumb… if you aren't saving at least 50% by ordering printing online, THEN DON'T! Because you'll very likely end up having to pay for it twice.
3) Why do I have to pay for the reprint if my project turns out wrong? Unfortunately, you really have no recourse. These companies are operating at very low margins in order to sell printing so cheap. They very rarely, if ever, will assume any responsibility for errors or reprint expenses. It's a simple formula; if you send a "print-ready" file, you are responsible for it. Again… the system is automated and they simply don't look at the work - just run, trim, fold, ship. They print what you give them... this is their stance.
4) Are there hidden expenses? It depends on the company, some of them are fairly straightforward. But be careful to ask all questions before ordering.
5) Why can't I ever get someone to talk to me on the phone? Once again, this is a big, nasty, faceless, automated system. If you have a problem with Amazon or Google or any other huge business, you have to work out the problem through their automated system… you don't pick up the phone and call customer service at Amazon :)
6) Who really does the printing? It depends, some online printing companies actually have printing facilities and run the work in-house. But I have seen cartons of printing from all over the world, and a lot are from Korea and China. The last business card box I saw from Vistaprint said "Printed in Canada" right on it. If supporting the American economy and local businesses are important to you… use a local printing company!
7) How can the quality be any good at such cheap prices? Believe it or not… we have seen some really nice projects come from online print sources. They are usually the ones that have been handled by a professional graphic designers or print broker, so the know how to trouble-shoot the files before sending them to print. But for the most part… the quality is pretty poor. Partly because of the gang-run factor and partly because honestly… run and ship color business cards for only $10? Ordering from these places is just a great way to give them unlimited access to your email account so they can SPAM you into oblivion for the rest of your life!
Here's the bottom line: There is simply no substitute for creating a solid, personal relationship with a professional graphic design and printing firm. They will take care of you and your brand. It amazes me how concerned most people are with their personal appearance. How they groom, how they dress, what they drive… means everything! But then they don't care at all how their company looks??
Ultimately, it's up to you when choosing a graphics and printing vendor… good luck wherever you choose to go. If you want a printing company that stands behind their work and has the experience to get the job done right the first time… Give Tower Media Group in Mesa Arizona a call - we're here to help! 480-835-0003