No announcement yet.

Printing on Vinyl vs. Paper - help!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Printing on Vinyl vs. Paper - help!

    Hey all, I have a question that is really, really bugging me.

    I work for a rather large company, and I created a graphic for print that is 42.75"W x 35"H. For the image, I bought a high-res stock photo and resd it up and it still looks amazing when printed at full size. The stock image was already color corrected.

    I had printed several copies of the final product on 2 different office printers - a color laserjet and a color inkjet, and both produced similar, and great-looking results.

    I then sent the job to the sign company to print the final version, and it looked horrible (this was printed on vinyl and mounted on PVC board). The color was off by quite a good amount - so much so that the person in the stock photo looked like he was 'dead' (pale skin with dark magenta areas, hair was white-ish, there were 'halos' around areas of high contrast, and eyes had no color whatsoever, just kinda dead and white-grey).

    Now the manager at the sign company tried to tell me that the issue was with the fact that the stock image had been 'color corrected for paper, not for vinyl' and that his printer was of 'such good quality that it must have picked up details not visible on my prints'. Can anyone attest to this fact - that it might be THAT different on a white vinyl vs. a white paper?

    I was so shocked at the results that I asked him to reprint a variation of it that their designer came up with and I approved, which they are doing free of charge to me. But for this final version, they are taking my full size (300dpi) EPS and flattening to a jpg, then printing it.

    I'm really nervous that it will come back looking horrible, but I really just don't know. Either way, it's costing my company $150 to print, I'm just so afraid it will come back looking just as bad, or even worse.

    Any suggestions, or words of advice? I guess my main question is really whether the print should look so much different at the printer on vinyl, than it did on my office printers (2 of them) with an already color-corrected image. I mean, I taped together 24 pieces of paper in a grid to create a mockup of the final image in real size, and it looked even better than the final version from the sign printer (detail AND color).

    Sorry for the long post, but thanks for your time.

  • #2
    Always allow the printer to colour correct for their gear. If you have a GOOD proof then ask them to hit that. The fact that printing on vinyl will use a different printing method than your proof allready says colour shift. That must have been one hell of an image for a 42x35. See if you can get a proof of a portion of the image printed on the final vinyl. There is the possibility of yellowing on older vinyl, but that could be a stretch....mention that only if you wanna upset your printer.


    You res'd it up? hmmmm never a good can't add resolution.
    Draw on a flat ballon with a marker....... now blow it up. Same effect.
    Last edited by PersonasBinar; 10-05-2005, 11:10 AM.
    It's not about the world of design.
    It's about the design of the world.
    Massive Change


    • #3
      He's shooting smoke up your a$$.... sorry to be so blunt, but I am working in a large sign shop, covering for the who runs a wide format printer (who just quit... lottsa fun doing two jobs...)
      What happened was that he just ran the job as is with out testing out the job I bet. I have gotten a few jobs that sound just like yours and only a few times do they run exactly from the file without a bit of tweaking. I have always been able to hit the colors I am looking for.
      Though, did you give the printer the color sample that you wanted to match? Or ask for a proof before job completion?
      Im never gonna get used to the 31st century. Caffeinated bacon? Baconated grapefruit? ADMIRAL Crunch?
      Fry, Futurama


      • #4
        Originally posted by PersonasBinar
        Always allow the printer to colour correct for their gear. If you have a GOOD proof then ask them to hit that. The fact that printing on vinyl will use a different printing method than your proof allready says colour shift. That must have been one hell of an image for a 42x35. See if you can get a proof of a portion of the image printed on the final vinyl. There is the possibility of yellowing on older vinyl, but that could be a stretch....mention that only if you wanna upset your printer.
        Ditto. Yep give them the print that you liked the best and say "Match it!"


        • #5
          Hey guys thanks so much for the replies.

          The image I resd up looked great, the original was 12" x 18" at 300dpi, and the problem really wasn't with the resolution because that came out looking great (I upsized 10% at a time until it was full size, I could see every individual hair on the guy's head even! ) The color is what was really wrong with it. The only thing that I think COULD have been caused by resing up the image was the halo effect I saw, but that doesn't show on my screen or either of the prints I ran here in the office (at full size).

          The only proof they provided was a small jpg that was ripped from the original EPS, and it looked perfect - even printed exactly consistent with what I was seeing with my prints here at the office. They didn't do a hard-copy proof - they said they don't do hard-copy proofs, which I've learned my lesson, I'll never run a job that large without one - ever.

          It just seemed like their color was so off that it would be tough to even match to what I was expecting (which I can understand even that much) but to see the difference I did, I just can't understand. =\ I brought by a printout and asked if they could match it, and they came somewhat close, but it just wasn't the same.

          I can't even really say how different the color was, it was just ... off - by a lot ... I guess?

          Here's kinda what I remember seeing (not having it right here to look at, and this is without any exaggeration - note particularly the hair and eyes, he just seems like a zombie):

          It really, really made me mad that he was trying to convince me that 'it looks crappy because our printer is of much higher quality so you're seeing more detail than from your printer'. Give me a break.

          I mean, you guys probably know a lot more about sign printing and such than I do, it's fairly new to me, but if I can see something on my pretty-well-color-corrected monitor, and print something on 2 different printers that look almost identical and match my screen, how can the final print be off by enough that I can't even accept it??

          Hah, sorry for the rant, I just need to know if it's my fault, or if I'm just so new to this that I have a lot to learn.


          • #6
            Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the manager there told me he could let me sit down with his designer to match the image manually - at a rate of $250/hr. I mean, I can understand that rate because otherwise she's making a ton of money running off signs and making probably $1500/hr. doing that, but to fix something that I truly feel wasn't my fault - forget it. I'm just kind of blah about the whole thing now. =\


            • #7
              You REALLY need to find a new printer. While matching a color laser is not the favorite method of doing color correction, but it can be approximated in just a few minutes, well, sometimes a little more than a few.

              1 - the size of the thing you printed is NOT considered large in Wide format. Heck, most of my proofs are that size.
              2 - I'm guessing the guy does not have a profile for his vinyl or forgot to apply it. Flesh tones are very hard to hit on some inkjet printers and the tech needs to know how to correct for it on his machine on any given material
              3 - 'seeing more detail' is horsehockey.
              4 - your resolution was fine (if you didn't crop the image) even if you hadn't 10%-ed it up. 120dpi for inkjet should be fine. 200dpi is normal at your poster size. 300dpi approaches overkill.
              5- converting to jpg to print? Hmm.... not how we do things. TIF or EPS normally.
              6 - $250 an hour for color correction on a file is highway robbery (or we are hideously undercharging, LOL).
              Last edited by PrintDriver; 10-07-2005, 07:16 PM.


              • #8
                250$ Damn in even in heady days of prepress chance.
                It's not about the world of design.
                It's about the design of the world.
                Massive Change


                • #9
                  Gettin' better

                  Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

                  I took the file to another printer. Essentially, the file was almost identical, I made a couple of small changes, mostly just because of paranoia, but the changes were pretty minor. The new sign company NAILED it (based on proofs that I saw), they printed it exactly to what I was expecting. I did end up running the job at 300dpi EPS, but I know for next time to run it a bit lower res, but I'm glad I was able to get them to run it at a high DPI too, it looks like a 42"x35" photograph.

                  This new printer:
                  - ran me cropped area proofs from the file on the machine/vinyl they used for the final, with NO charge
                  - had the proofs for me within about an hour and a half
                  - printed the job for $111 (vs. the $155 from the other company)
                  - ran the job with no down payment (even though I offered to pay with my personal credit card, as my boss was out of town that day).

                  I'm actually going to be picking up the final sign on Monday.

                  So in the end, I learned my lesson, definitely. The last company made me look like a FOOL, and that I am very, very upset about. I'm going to pursue them to get my money back, as it was wasted. The product they delivered is unusable, even on the reprint it's just as bad. It was tough bringing the sign back to my Director of Marketing and having him say "Well ... to be honest - it looks like crap". I was sorely disappointed, but I'd like to thank you all for your advice and your time - I finally got it to look the way it SHOULD HAVE in the first place.

                  Oh, and PrintDriver, thanks for the great advice. I perused around the forums here the other day and read many of your posts - you're certainly a wealth of information, and any time I have problems with a sign, I'll be on here looking for your advice!


                  • #10
                    Good for you!
                    Yes, some of the newer, higher resolution inkjet printheads can do an amazing job now. I've seen some inkjet prints recently that come damn close to continuous tone.

                    You could take a digital of your final, good, finished product and send it to your first printer when asking for a refund. Good luck with that. You may have to chalk the first up to experience. Just be happy it wasn't a 15' x 40' banner!


                    • #11
                      Amen to that, I couldn't imagine having spent that kind of money only to be left with a lemon.

                      I've already taken a ton of photos of the first printer's version (in RAW format on my digital SLR) and we still have the original sitting in our office. I'll take some of the new sign as well, and with them side-by-side too.

                      Another thing that really made me mad (tired of hearing this yet?) was they did such a sloppy job on the second run - the cut was a mess after they mounted the vinyl on the PVC - it was crooked and the vinyl didn't even completely overlap the PVC at the bottom left corner, so essentially there is a big ugly white area of PVC that is uncovered - made even worse by the fact that the ink in that area was black, and the background is dark blue.

                      Anyway - I'm now done venting about this. Thanks for hearing me guys!

                      I'll try to post some pics later on if I can just to show you the horror I've gone though in this project.






                      Incredible Stock

                      Latest Topics


                      • B
                        Reply to Briefs
                        I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to your question. It depends on the company, its culture, the marketing person, the designer and the project at hand.

                        I oversee both the...
                        Today, 09:50 AM
                      • pers0n
                        Reply to Portfolio usage of work
                        Well the work would be work I did. For example lets say I designed someone's logo, poster or website and they want me to take it down.
                        Today, 09:25 AM
                      • MinaZee
                        Comment on Logo Feedback
                        Thanks Glitchin , and i will.
                        Today, 06:32 AM
                      • Woodenpablo
                        What's the general consensus on how to interpret briefs written by a marketing manager or director etc? I was in a meeting at work where I interpreted the brief incorrectly and got a critised for it....
                        Today, 04:43 AM
                      • PrintDriver
                        Reply to Portfolio usage of work
                        Why would you have someone else's work on your portfolio site?
                        Why would you not honor a takedown notice?
                        Doesn't matter if you don't claim copyright, or even if you credit the work appropriately....
                        Yesterday, 07:50 PM
                      GDF A division of Mediabistro Holdings Adweek | Mediabistro | Clio | Film Expo Group Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy Copyright 2016 Mediabistro Holdings