I love to answer questions, seriously guys I do. I love to answer questions like what books I am recommend, how I got started, what nibs I use for calligraphy to what printers I use. Recently, I have received several emails asking me "what printer do I use" or "do you have any recommendations on where to go for printing".
Well let me first start by saying outsourcing my printing - I mean when I chose to stop printing my designs myself at home and decided to hire other printing presses to print my designs - was one of the best decisions I ever made for my business. In the beginning, I would create these beautiful designs for my clients then print them at home with my amazing ink-jet printer. At first, it sufficed. But as I got busier and created more delicate and intricate designs and desired thicker paper to print it on, my home printer was not cutting it. Not to mention the fact I had to hand-feed any paper over 80lbs -- that's right, I would literally hand-feed 100-200 sheets of card stock through my printer in order to have beautiful, thick card stock prints. This would take hours and my undivided attention. Once they were finally printed, I then had to cut them. This was sometimes a challenge, especially for 100-200 sheets of thick card stock. Overall, I would end-up spending 6-10 hours just to get the design printed. I don't know about you, but I did not start my business to spend hours printing -- I started it because I wanted to create, paint and design beautiful things.
So, I searched high and low for a printer. My first attempt at outsourcing my prints work was a disaster. I won't mention names, but this printing press uses digital printing, which is ok with me. But they're quality of printing was so terrible, I could literally see the laser lines within the artwork. Of course I was on an extremely strict deadline, so when I received these and realized they were garbage I had to scramble. I found myself spending hours of time - that I didn't have - in front of printer, printing out this design that I had relied on another printing press to complete. It was awful and stressful but I learned my lesson. No more printing or relying on anyone to print my work unless I had proofing first and a printing press I truly loved and trusted.
Through a rabbit hole of links that originally started when I was researching and reading about philanthropy and small businesses, I discovered the printer of my dreams. They had a website that was easy to understand and radically designed. These days, I judge a lot about where a business is by how current and up-to-date their website is. I believe that a website is just like a business card - if it looks terrible, then more than likely, their business is terrible. Alas, Girlie Press, Inc.! One cool tid-bit about Girlie is that they offer pro-bono services to non-profits, community organizations and to people doing great things. I loved this about them and had to learn more. So, I called them up and asked a lot of questions. After about a 30-45" conversation with a lovely and educated employee, I realized I had found the one and they had everything I was looking for and more, including:
- friendly, reliable, professional and [when I needed it] fast service and expertise in the printing field
- competitive rates
- printing methods I desired - like digital, offset (white ink, gold/metallic ink) and letterpress
- high quality card stock and paper that I needed - or at least they could get ahold of if I needed it for special orders
I ordered my first set of prints from them back in March 2013 and haven't looked back since. I remember my first inquiry to them was so great that, that when a few days passed without contacting them because I was busy fulfilling orders, they followed up with me to ask if I had any further questions and how they may help me. Now that is excellent customer service and I was totally impressed. You pretty much have me at hello if you have excellent customer service like that.
If you find yourself in need of a printer, here are some things that the printer will want to know (and be sure to ask for a proof first!):
- the quantity of prints
- the style, texture and weight or paper/card
- the dimensions of the desired paper (they cut too!)
- the method of printing you desire (digital, offset or letterpress)
- If you want it in full color or black & white
- what your deadline is
- the file of what you want printed
Another really amazing thing that Girlie Press offers, is shipping directly to my clients. Sometimes, the deadlines are so tight that this makes a world of difference -- and bonus: they mailed me a separate packet of samples of what they printed - without asking. This is a lovely perk and allows me to see the finished results while the order is in transit to my client.
I think that answers the question of "what printer do I use" or "do you have any recommendations on where to go for printing". Have any other questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on instagram for more up-to-date happenings.