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how many chances do you give to printers?

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  • how many chances do you give to printers?

    So recently the company I work for has dropped it contract with its printer, they weren't the best, but they rarely had large screw-ups, and when they did they would own up to it and fix it.

    Now it seems like every printer I send work to has been doing a shoddy job. extra pages, half printed pages, poor quality, dirty plates, not bringing stock samples along with physical proofs... and missing deadlines.

    This is not a case of me sending vague directions, these are weird issues, and I understand that everyone has bad days, so normally I'm not too hard on them but how long do you put up with it? Growing pains are fine but not bringing stock samples with a physical proof? half printed pages?

    In the past month, 3 different printers have botched simple projects.

  • #2
    Everyone does business differently, ever think that maybe their existing clientele wasn't interested in stock samples? Not everybody is that gun-ho about quality. I would agree that product quality is of the utmost importance, but not everybody does. My suggestion is to be upfront with your expectations, instead of assuming that they follow the same protocol that you do, it'll help keep bullshit to a minimum.
    Last edited by kemingMatters; 04-30-2014, 06:21 PM.
    Design is not decoration.

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    • #3
      Why did they leave the previous printer? Seems like they were doing a good job. Was it based on pricing? You do get what you pay for, after all...
      http://brokenspokedesign.com

      Comment


      • Paul!
        Paul! commented
        Editing a comment
        politics. one of the higher ups knows a printer...

      • Cosmo
        Cosmo commented
        Editing a comment
        I know that feeling. But, results are all that matters. We had to fire one of our printers recently for constantly not delivering what we wanted. And it was one we had a 10+ year relationship with.

      • Kayekaye
        Kayekaye commented
        Editing a comment
        Nothing worse than having your printer picked by higher ups and politics, hate that. Problems ensue

    • #4
      Picking up on what Keming said, I do a lot of design work for government agencies. Often, the printers are pre-picked and on government contracts, so we have to use them. Some printers have carved out niche markets with lower-priced, lower-quality printing. Others can do quality work, but might not be sticklers about quality on government jobs since the client often doesn't care all that much.

      When working with one of these printers that I'm unsure about, I'll let them know right up front that we expect their best quality, and that we'll reject anything significantly short of that. Sometimes, I'll even suggest a press check just to let them know that we're serious about quality.

      Comment


      • Paul!
        Paul! commented
        Editing a comment
        Your first paragraph is exactly what I've been experiencing at my current job.

        sounds like a good idea, perhaps I have to be a little more strict.

    • #5
      We all make mistakes but it's how quickly and professionally we deal with them that is key.

      If every single job is coming up botched, I would wonder if you're either picking the cheapest most inexperienced printers or the problem lies with you.

      Are you picking the lowest quotes you can find?

      It might be a good time now to ask your local network (friends, family, coworkers, clients) who have been in the business a few years to give referrals of printers who they trust and use.
      It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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      • #6
        Quality doesn't improve if you don't say anything.
        Lately alot of printers seem to be extraordinarily busy and there seems to be a lot of last minute print ordering going on on the part of the designers. Rush jobs put all jobs on panic mode and things get missed.

        As a general plea to all designers out there, consider your due dates carefully and allow time for the print job.

        No sense putting all your time and effort into something and not allowing the printer to do the same on your end product.

        Comment


        • Paul!
          Paul! commented
          Editing a comment
          It's the client requesting things last minute.

        • PrintDriver
          PrintDriver commented
          Editing a comment
          "It's the client requesting things last minute. "
          Yes and making text changes even while the job is on the press.
          I'm still trying to figure out when a printer's proof became yet one more chance to change copy. From end clients through designers to printers, everything has changed to "on demand"
          There are only so many hours in a day and a machine can only print things so fast.

          I guess I'm getting frustrated because not enough time has been allowed to do the entire process correctly. The due date doesn't change, but the deliverables seem to slide up to that date, whether through end clients not honoring designer contracts or designers not honoring their contracts with printers, it doesn't matter. As we like to say, crap rolls downhill. It's the guy at the bottom that has to pick up the pile. It isn't just the design industry. Everyone in just about every industry is running "lean" with "just in time" delivery becoming the norm.
          Shoulda bought stock in FedEx and UPS 10 years ago. Overnight delivery and White Glove style service are becoming more in demand.

        • Paul!
          Paul! commented
          Editing a comment
          yeah I've been there before, fortunately most of our work here is on done on digital printer so I rarely have to ask the printer to make new plates.

      • #7
        I work for a large company with quite a few offices. Money is most certainly not the issue.

        Just today a printer sent back some double-sided cards and the back is upside-down. As a designer do I really need to start requesting every tiny detail like this? because I've been doing this for 10 years and I have never had to ask a printer to not print upside-down.

        This wasn't even a rush job
        Last edited by Paul!; 05-01-2014, 02:08 PM.

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        • kemingMatters
          kemingMatters commented
          Editing a comment
          I might run it by the client in this instance and see if you can cut a deal with the printer instead of getting them to reprint, it's a green approach, you can pass some savings on to your client (they usually love that) and it's not really a big deal on cards (a brochure or something similar would be another story).

          Upside-down is a matter of opinion, for example american coins are intended to be flipped on a horizontal axis so the image on the opposite side is appears "upside-down" if rotated on a vertical axis". Canadian coins are intended to be flipped on a vertical axis so the opposite is true. So I don't think anyone but you and your client would think "this is upside-down" unless there is a graphic that disagrees with the inadvertent orientation.
          Last edited by kemingMatters; 05-01-2014, 02:27 PM.

        • Paul!
          Paul! commented
          Editing a comment
          this specific card is only for american audiences and every one that looks at it flips it horizontally. most people will just turn it but it's weird.

      • #8
        Earlier this week I ordered proofs of two documents from a printer that I've worked with this printer while working at two different places over 10 years, they're normally perfect.

        today he sent two of the same proof, they look great, but he forgot the second one... something's in the air.

        Comment


        • Buda
          Buda commented
          Editing a comment
          Just tell them their error and have them correct it. Maybe something is in the air...

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