I know this might be a walking-on-eggshells kind of topic especially since I think this network has exclusive printing sponsorship with one printer, but I think this needs to be discussed. Besides, it's for their good, right? If they don't know what they're missing or what services they should be including or improving on for us, it's not doing any of us any good.
Anyway, I'm starting this topic because I encountered a thread in one of the other forums I frequent that Moo.com isn't all that. *insert collective gasping here* Wait, let me check my other browser tab here...tl;dr they don't print offset, the "line screen seemed really coarse" (sorry, I only work with designers, you'll have to explain technical details like these for me here), text on the samples look deformed, stuff like that. Which surprises me, being an amateur, you know? All I see is how customizable and easy they make it and how friendly their emails are.
So I started wondering how many of you here, if any, nitpick to this level of detail when choosing your printer, or if you are even down with online printing nowadays or just put up with them because you have to.
To spoonfeed this discussion -
What's your printer of choice?
Why is it your printer of choice?
What matters the most to you about a printer?
What do you wish your favorite printer, or printers in general, understood more about graphic designers' needs?
One thing I have learned in many years of working in advertising and marketing, "don't believe the hype". Meaning, I look for real world reviews, testimonials and recommendations before trusting advertising campaigns.
So, with that being said, I have noticed a bit of a surge in printing companies on the internet and I believe some have just simply better at marketing and promotion than the printing services they offer much like hosting which is why I won't mess with GoDaddy hosting.
Moo I believe is one of these. Excellent marketing but it seems what you are paying for with them is options and not quality. I tried their mini business cards as an offer from Flickr and while I did think it was great they gave me the option to have several different images on one order of my cards, the overall quality seemed just as good as printing them at home on a good inkjet printer on card stock. I haven't gotten anything else from them but I suspect their other products are likely to follow this characteristic.
I can't comment on Uprinting much myself. I have only gotten one item from them, a photo printed to canvas and it was ok. Hindsight, I wish I had brightened midtones in my image because it came out darker than my photo but I suspect that was more of a result of the canvas not being bright white than printing but would have been nice to have someone on printing side that would adjust for that as in many photo printing services.
Personally, I found a printing place that had many options regarding formats, papers, finishes, and decent prices a long time ago called GotPrint.com that I always rely on. They are not as well known as some like Mpix but, I have had them produce brochures and business cards for me a few times and every time I got exactly what I expected... quality work. Printing was clean, cuts and folds were spot on and my clients were happy. I can get some of this done where I work for a bit cheaper but honestly trust GotPrint more for quality assurance.
That is the key, not just finding the best printer, but finding one that will give you consistent production that meets your personal expectations and your clients. Sometimes, that requires a bit or trial and error or relying on references like this but, you have to do that with caution as well as I have seen some recommend services that I personally thought were sub-par but each person has a different level of expectations depending on their experience.
Thank you for sharing! Yeah, I have to agree that the tricky part is the expectations. Some of these printers have awful reviews on places like Yelp but once you actually try them they don't seem so bad. I guess I have to get more printing done to have a stronger personal preference in the matter!