I love working on the computer to create amazing designs. But I especially love holding a design in my hands. It’s incredibly fulfilling to send a digital file off to a printer and receive back a tangible item that can go out into the world and promote a business, entertain or educate.
But where do you get these items printed? I get that question a lot from clients who have invested in a new logo or beautiful brochure. They want the printing to be both affordable and high quality.
Your No. 1 choice is a local print shop.
Hands down. You can build a relationship with the printer to ensure you get exactly what you want. It’s hard to beat face-to-face customer service.
Yet, for a number of reasons, working with a local printer isn’t always the best fit. For starters, it can be more expensive. You also have the added complication of dealing with a salesperson (which can be a pro or a con – I have experienced both). And truth be told, depending on the complexity of your job, the local printer might be turning around and sending your project off to a cheaper third-party print shop anyway.
My Online Printer Picks
When it comes to online printing, there are a lot of options. It’s important to remember not all online printers are created equal. To save you some time – and headaches – here’s my list of go-to print resources.
- Smartpress.com has a lot of premium options from business cards to booklets and door signs to desk calendars. Their work is terrific, but you pay for it.
- 4over.com does great work at a great price. They are a good option for both printed items like business cards as well as promotional materials like T-shirts and coffee mugs. Here’s the catch: they are a trade printer so you have to be a reseller to become a member and take advantage of the best prices.
- Moo.com is a favorite for stationery like business cards, notebooks, and even stickers or labels. Moo does high-quality work, but it won’t be your cheapest option.
- Stickermule.com is a well-respected shop for buttons, stickers, magnets, and packaging. They have great branding and quality, but are not the cheapest option out there.
Results may vary:
Primoprint.com is a hit-or-miss choice. I’ve received top-notch work from Primoprint and they used to be my go-to printer. The price was on the higher end but their website is great, and I was happy with the product. One day, I had a bad experience and stopped using them. To be fair, you can have a bad experience one time with any printer, so I’m willing to give them another chance in the future.
Avoid like the plague:
Vistaprint.com is my least favorite online printer. I know they advertise like crazy and often have the cheapest prices, but their quality is terrible. Full disclosure, I haven’t even tried them in years so perhaps they turned the ship around. I’m not willing to bet my (or client) money on it.
And … just to give you some additional opinions, I polled a couple of design friends about their fav printers. They suggested Gotprint.com for consistently good quality. Another mentioned Jukeboxprint.com, which offers custom letterpress if you want to add some pizzazz to your business cards. They also offer custom stickers and coasters.
Remember, if you can work with a local print shop, that’s your best option. Plus, it’s great to support local businesses.
If you opt for an online printer, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample of their capabilities. Many online printers will send free samples before you buy. This can be especially helpful as you navigate through the myriad options of inks, papers, embellishments, etc.
That’s it for now. I’m always on the lookout for more great online (and local) printer resources. Do you have a go-to online printer? Tell me about them.
Have a great week,