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Choosing the Best Printing Services Based on Your Needs

November 3, 2021

So far, in this three-part series, From Idea to Art: Kickstarting Your Project’s Print Journey, we’ve explored the printing techniques that most artists choose to reproduce their work. We’ve also examined how printing processes and methods combine in finished prints. This final post will offer suggestions about choosing a printing company that understands the artist’s needs. These tips will help any artist, anywhere, but we can safely say that Bestype is here to offer printing services NYC-style for our creative and arts community.

While there are many pathways available for printing art, not every printing company can meet the expectations of artists. This article will suggest questions you can ask the local art printers you visit — the answers will make a difference in how satisfied you will be with your final printed products. These tips apply to printing art, photography, commercial graphics, and promotional signage. A local printer’s experience in printing work similar to yours matters as much as your printing budget. Your creative network of artists, galleries, dealers, and brokers should also include a local print shop owner who enthusiastically partners with you to reproduce your artwork.

Where Do I Find a Local Art Printer?

New York’s artists love to network, and you probably know where your friends print — word-of-mouth can generate great leads for NYC print shops that understand how to work with artists. You may also have seen lots of ads for both online and offline printing resources. Looking at printing price lists, you may feel the temptation to upload a file to a big-box retailer and take a chance on a printing solution that’s just good enough. We would like you to think twice before you go with any national chain or lower-cost printing solution. You’re sharing your soul with the world — and your art prints should always reflect your talent and creativity.

What Do I Need to Know Before I Commit to Print?

Your local printer’s experience will help you achieve professional-quality art reproductions and deliver better value for your investment. Most importantly, you will build a relationship with your local art printer, who will be your friend for life. Ask any potential NYC print shop the following questions.

Can I Have a Face-to-Face Meeting with You?

A visit with your local printer will allow you to ask questions and meet their technicians. You’ll understand the quality of their printing customer service and support and examine the caliber of their products. You’ll form an impression of how they operate, the volume that runs through their presses every workday, and how they incorporate your project into their workload. It will also give you a good idea of their commitment to professionalism. One of the services that set Bestype apart from our competition is the ability to schedule a consultation to discuss your project in person as well as review proofs prior to approval.

Would You Show Me Your Portfolio?

Great NYC print shops obtain permission from their customers to keep samples of challenging projects. This practice provides real-life examples of how original art translates into print — a good printer will not only tell, they will show.

Examine samples that are similar to what you want to print so that you can make a like-for-like comparison. Check for quality to determine the inherent value of your project’s price quote. Double-check the shop’s print sample for blurriness, resolution, and color consistency.

You may find an excellent local printer offering low costs, but you should be suspicious of bargain specials that fall below the market rate. If you’re happy with the value and quality of the printer’s samples, then you’ve found a potential printing partner. But before you commit, there are more important questions to ask.

What If I Need to Make Changes to My Order?

You may need to make a quick change or a more complicated one at any stage of your printing project. Even after your print run is approved, you may notice a last-minute problem that needs fixing. Having easy access to your account manager when you need them is essential to the success of your art printing project. Ask your representative about everything important to you, and ask how you can reach out — through the printer’s website or social media? Will a phone call or text message reach your local print shop rep faster than email? You should always be able to contact your customer service representative to:

  • Receive updates on printing progress
  • Make changes to your file
  • Generate quotes for additional printing

What Do Your Customers Say About You?

Your proposed printer should provide references that you can check. While review sites like Google Reviews, Facebook Page comments, and Yelp are helpful, ask around your artist network. Chances are, you will find someone in your circle of connections who will honestly talk about their experience working with any NYC print shop, particularly revealing their printing customer service culture.

Can You Support My Printing Project’s Volume and Turnaround Time?

Some printers specialize to the extent that they may not be able to accommodate your order. You will need to shop around to find a printer offering the services you specifically want and who can fit your deadlines into their production schedule. It’s not uncommon to discover that some local print shops can only print low-volume printing projects between 200 to 500 copies. Other select printers normally start their orders at 10,000 copies and won’t work with smaller print volume requests. The print shop’s capacity also depends on your desired printing technique, whether you are in the market for digital large format printing or medium to small format printing. Also, note that some print shops may limit their production to outdoor sign printing on vinyl and not offer paper printing. As an artist, think about choosing a printing partner that offers a large variety of NYC-style printing services. Doing this will reduce your need to seek out other print shops for different printing requirements.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

Maybe this isn’t exactly a fair question to newer small business print shop owners; however, longevity normally brings with it good products, good printing customer service culture, and excellent quality. A company’s length of service is often a testimony to its quality, reliability, and reputation. Most shops will share their history on their website’s “About Us” page or their client list page. To find out this information, you can also ask your customer service representative to tell you.

Have You Worked on Projects Like Mine Before?

Along with asking to see samples of the print shop’s work, ask your printing customer service representative if they’ve recently worked on projects like yours. If they have samples, they should be able to show you. The projects don’t have to be identical to yours, but they should be able to give you a sense of the technical expertise and attention to detail your printer can provide.

Can You Give Me Sample Price Quotes for Different Projects?

One of the most important considerations in choosing your printer is price. A print shop’s offer builds on its reputation, customer service quality, materials, expertise, response and turnaround time, and how well it pays its technicians. Ask for the printer’s list of services and sample price quotes for basic projects. Beware of cut-rate pricing specials that seem out of line with the prevailing price in your area — double check the printer’s quality and reputation before you commit.

Choosing Your Printing Partner

These are the most common factors to consider when you make the important decision about whom to trust with reproducing your original art. What you need from a printer ultimately depends on how you want to share your art with the world. You and your printer have the opportunity to build a great relationship.

Investigating print shops will help you save money and time and bring you peace of mind. And if you would like to begin your journey from idea to art with us, Bestype’s customer service representatives would love to consult with you about your project. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation. We will set up a time when you can stop by our convenient downtown print shop. We’ll happily show off our sample collection showcasing some of the amazing art printing we’ve accomplished for our customers during the last 40 years. We’re a part of New York City’s art community, and we’re looking forward to building a relationship with you.

Image Credits: Freepik @Creative Commons