Thursday, 20 September 2012

Finding a Product Design Firm for Great Art Prints

Trying to get fine art prints made and don’t know where to go?  No worries, this has happened to many more people than just you.  Making a good decision about where and how to go about getting art prints done can be a difficult and time consuming process.  Between all of the different types of printing methods, materials and prices out there, no wonder why finding a great firm can be frustrating.  But how do you know just how to evaluate the various companies, organizations and printing methods out there?

First, see if you can find someone local.  While this is not necessarily important, you may have a little bit more comfort being able to have the freedom to just pop into the studio and see how your project is coming along.You are also able to get some first-hand reviews about the kind of work they do, as well as check their equipment and processes.  If you’re unable to find someone local, take your search to the internet.  Just with anything else, there’s a vast amount of resources for you to utilize online.  No matter who you use, get a proof of your work first and make sure they can produce the quality you are looking for.

Second, you have to make sure that they are using your preferred printing process.  If you don’t want something that compromises on the quality of the artwork (and shows off a whole bunch of visible ink dots), then you don’t want to go with a more traditional offset printing (even when combined with a lithographic process).  One may decide that screen-printing is the way to go.  However, many of you out there may find screen-printing’s limitations too much to swallow (design needs to be simple, definitive shapes etc.).  

For others, Giclee printing may be the method of choice, but it can get expensive.  The high quality inkjet printing method has become extremely popular in the art community over the past two decades.  Not only that, but it is highly accessible in communities and from online design firms.  The prints last an incredibly long time and they look great, you can control parts of the creation process (ex: color correction).  

Even more exciting, modern printing technology allows you to become a Do-It-Yourself printer!  If your work is smaller than 8 ½-11” and you’re printing on paper, you may benefit by going out and purchasing a $100-$200 dye printer (HP makes some great ones).  If you have a little more money to spend, pigment printers can run $500-$1000 and may allow you up to 13x19”. 

No matter what direction, make sure you do your research.  Know the positives and negatives of the different printing processes.  Check out a product design firm’s past work and be sure to stay within your budget.  Get a proof before any contract is set in stone, there’s nothing worse than sending off your project and getting dozens of useless, terrible looking prints back.  If you’re a DIY-er, don’t be afraid to give it a shot.  Many artists have been able to turn their work into a profitable enterprise just by deciding to invest in making great art prints right from the comfort of their home or studio.  

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