online printing: vistaprint

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by gonnabuyamac, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. gonnabuyamac macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2006
    The company I work for typically uses VistaPrint for their printing needs. I recently designed a letterhead in Illustrator, printed it out off my Canon Pixma (which seems to have good color), and checked it with what I was looking at on my computer screen. Everything looked pretty good - I used a blue color that we have as part of our corporate ID (so, it's the same cmyk %'s every time).

    We got the letterhead back from VistaPrint, and they were tremendously darker and the blue had more of a purplish tint to it than what I printed off or what's on my screen, which is pretty well calibrated. Any idea of what I could have done wrong, or does vistaprint just suck?
  2. barrysfarm macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2005
    yeah. pretty much.

    I think of them like a high quantity kinkos. If I need a 1500 flyer cards & it doesn't matter if not a great print, I'll go through them. We have two versions of our business cards: a high quality print & a low quality print.

    The high quality ones we give to people we meet who seem interested. They were printed on specific paper, with specific pantone colors, and are a special size. We probably go through 150 a month.

    The low quality ones we use at craft shows and fashion shows. We usually give out about 1000 a day. They are standard size, cmyk, on the heaviest stock available. Most people probably throw these away.

    The high quality ones were printed at a local print shop, the low quality ones were printed with vistaprint. They have their uses. They're (relatively) fast & their cheap, but not much else.
  3. ac6789 macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    I agree that vistaprint is a high-quality kinkos as the previous poster says, but it should be noted that a CMYK blue is one of the hardest colours to reproduce with any accuracy/consistency unless you're using a PMS colour. Especially when the blue contains magenta, an improperly calibrated press will almost certainly produce a purple-blue. Even a properly calibrated press will have issues with this!

    Which is why for branding-critical pieces such as letterhead, I would recommend going to a local printer and attend a press check to ensure the colours are correct, and make the blue a PMS colour, if possible. Paying a bit more for a local printer is worth it, IMHO.
  4. Z.Beeblebrox macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2007
    NJ / NYC
    Rule of thumb: when designing ANY corporate stationery element, always specifiy a PMS color to maintain consistency throughout the brand. As others have stated, for corporate identity projects, use a real press and to ensure correct color matching, request a color proof before signing off on the print job. This makes things much easier and less costly if you have to re-print.
  5. gonnabuyamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2006

    this has all been very helpful. i'm new to graphic design (always been an artist, new to the digital side of it all - but loving it... most of the time). i'm wondering if there are printed charts i can get of pms color swatches. i know my monitor is pretty accurate, but i'd still like to see the colors in real life, if you will.
  6. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2003
    The exurbs, MN
    Pantone swatch books are available from Pantone. You can buy a 3-book set of the Color Bridge books which include PMS colors as well as their approximate CMYK equivalent for $300.
  7. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Don't rely on your Canon to give you accurate colour reproduction. It's just not possible with inkjets. You need a calibrated colour laser or similar to give you accurate colours.

    Either way, you need to invest in some Pantone colour books. Unfortunately they are quite expensive :(
  8. gonnabuyamac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2006
    Any suggestions on a good printer?
  9. Z.Beeblebrox macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2007
    NJ / NYC
    Every graphic artist needs a Pantone guide. If you're short on cash, try eBay. I recommend getting the color guide with both coated and uncoated swatches. It's a good beginners book.
  10. brisbaneguy29 macrumors 6502


    Nov 27, 2007
    Basically you have made some general assumptions, and that is where you have gone wrong.
    1. You have assumed what you see on screen is what your going to get. Your screen is RGB, and can produce a HUGE amount of colours not available to CMYK. Has your monitor been colour calibrated to the Vistprint ICC profiles? Unless it is, you cannot rely on your monitor.

    2. You have assumed what your Canon Pixma can produce, is what Vistaprint can produce. Inkjet colours are generally more vivid then CMYK. Has your printed be colour calibrated to the Vistaprint ICC profiles? Unless it is you cannot rely on your inkjet.

    Now I am not saying Vistaprint doesn't suck, they may well do, I have never used them, but they will be gang printing your job with many others at the same time. They will be running to set CMYK ink levels, and basically won't care about the individual colour of each job. They have no way of tuning the colour for your job, as they have no idea of what your seeing on your monitor, or printed out of your printer.

    This is the only way to ensure your going to get back what you want.

    Using a colour bridge essential to anyone doing design, and printing in CMYK. The Pantone spot books are good for spot PMS reproduction, if your actually printing the job as a spot colour job, but if your printing it CMYK, you MUST use a Colour Bridge. It doesn't matter what it looks like on your screen, or on your printer, if you use the known CMYK colour values, that is the best way of at least getting close to what you want. Even then it will probably be off by 5%.

    Other things that can effect the final colour are:
    1. The whiteness of the paper stock
    2. The type of paper stock. (Coated / Uncoated / Matte / Satin)
    3. Any additional coating you put over the top like varnishes or celloglaze.
    4. The light source you view the colours in. Sit in a room with yellow, warm lights, then walk out into the sun, the colour changes. This is because CMYK relies on reflected light, not transmitted light.

    Printing is not an exact science, and it is amazing that anything ever gets printed right, and at best, it is a good compromise from start to finish.
  11. foreignconcepts macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2008
    This is REALLY good information as I just had the same issue with my corporate business cards vs. Vistaprint. Thanks guys for sharing your insights!
  12. Alphakline macrumors regular


    Nov 30, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I highly recommend Next Day Flyers. They're based in SoCal and do an amazing job for me. Turn around time is always within 1-2 days for my prints.
  13. johnckurien macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2010

    One reliable online printer that I have dealt with recently is Their quality is excellent, their turnaround time is quick, and their customer service is on the ball. Check them out if you want...
  14. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    i've done stuff with them before, along with a few others, and the print quality was what you'd expect from a cheap printing company - not that great. they specialize in cheap high volume printing rather than high quality printing. i'm sure if they took their time to calibrate their equipment and use proper media, then their stuff would be better, but you get what you pay for.
  15. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    We use and I've had fair success with them - though nothing color critical. We did run into the blue issue with them and business cards.
  16. priceshirley, Feb 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011

    priceshirley macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2011
    We had a similar problem. The blue and green are our standard colors and the same shade must be identical in all our printing. I suggest you go to another printing center. We tried 48HourPrint and we found them to be the best. They are skillful and offer very reasonable prices. They offer various kinds of printing services like menu card printing, letterheads, envelops, door hangers, etc. We found that they understood our colors the best.
  17. Brightcaller macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2011
    Hey folks,
    Vistaprint is hardly good. Had very bad experiences concerning colour and quality as well. So far, I'm caught between Printsafari for online printing and my local copy shop. Must say qualitywise my local guy's really state of the art, however, those online companies really know how to cut prices. So in conclusion I can contribute the following: You will always have to make cuts in quality and service when you print online. This "disadvantage" is, however, mostly outweighted by price. When you're just into printing some marketing stuff, you can go online, for sure. But when it comes to pristine and true quality for visual perfection, you might better go local.
  18. Spiral21x macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2009
    Sure..because online companies are happy to put their negative testimonials up.. The only way to check out a print company is with samples or really high res photo examples, or trusted user reviews, not the ones they cherry pick for their own website.
  19. SamuraiArtGuy macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2010
    Eastern Panhandle, WV, USA
    about Inkjet Printers

    Along those lines, you might find this PDF doc of interest.

    "Your Inkjet Printer LIES"

    The gist is this: The Majority of Home/SOHO Inkjet Printers sold are intended to print vivid, saturated colors that make sales presentations and your vacations snapshots look spiffy. But for proofing a print job, they are terrible. They are just not color accurate. Inkjet printers use CMYK ink, but translate Compisite RGB screen data to print.

    The critical thing to understand, is that color on screen is displayed in RGB, for Red, Blue and Green LIGHT, the way TV’s make color. Printers render color in CMYK, or variations of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black INK. These are different technologies, even using different physics. The reason they don’t look the same is that they can’t.

    But the point is that print colors are specified as CMYK colors or PMS Colors, the language of ink, vs the RGB color of your display.

    I have this out with Clients ALL THE FRAKKIN' TIME.
  20. winston1236 macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010
    watch one of their ads, of course they are no good. find a local printer they are everywhere then you can see in person
  21. Mutinygraphiks macrumors regular


    Jan 5, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    my printer does amazing work and for a good price in Las Vegas. Ships anywhere.

    here is his website check it out. MDV Design
  22. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    is there some kind of a online guide or book i can look up for all the info on dealing with print proofing, using pms instead of cmyk colors to get best print results, etc.?
  23. creodesigner macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2011
    Colorado, USA
    LOVE Next Day Flyers. They do a great job, they have the best prices and the turn around time is awesome. I highly recommend them as well. I can't stand vista print.
  24. oxygencube macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Lol at this vista print banner ad at the bottom of the page. :D
  25. ProjectRinzler macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2011
    Indeed! They just rock. Vista print? UMAD?

Share This Page