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Choosing a quality at home printer for print media

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  • Choosing a quality at home printer for print media

    It has been on my mind for days and I've been wanting some advice as to what I should buy for a printer for my print media work. I didn't think I would be doing as much print media as I am now, so after a visit to Staples I thought I wanted the Samsung CLP-325W laser printer that uses toner cartridges. I thought to myself with it's $250 CAN price tag and the print quality I've seen some Samsung output it would be a great choice. However I'm really starting to think about it now and after some you tube reviews I'm not so sure.

    I know recently with a job I did, I had sent it to the print shop and the sample came back to me and the dark red I had chose was REALLY dark red and the orange I had chosen was a darker orange then intended. I do have some experience in print and press work, with the colour books, spot colours vs PMS colours ect, so I understand that the quality that the print shop can print, (and of course the paper they would be putting it on) will also effect the final outcome. However I was hoping to find the lcosest match I can find for less then a $700 preferably. Just an all around better quality printer for a small up and starting graphic design business.

    Might I find out what some of you use and would swear by? Currently I'm using a 2 year old Canon MP560 and of course it's just not doing good enough for me anymore. I need to upgrade!

  • #2
    If the printer followed your sample to the letter on a litho press then you get what you get. Unless you specified Pantone colours picked from a Pantone book - NOT from your screen.

    The screen is completely different to print, as you know.

    If they are printing on a digital press - then it's likely they can't reproduce the gamut that Pantone can produce - or at least it would need to be carefully adjusted to match the Pantone colours you choose.

    If you choose just Pantone colours from the screen - then you were really not guaranteed any reflection to what what you saw on screen or from your own printer.

    In future, find out if they are printing it digitally or with litho. And if it's digital ask them to supply a colour card with different formulas for the colours your trying to match. You can then use the colour card and the formula to match what you have on your computer to what outputs from their digital media.

    If it's being printed on Litho - then specify a Pantone colour picked from a Pantone book.

    It's likely that you won't be able to match accuartely Pantone colours on a digital printer.

    I recommend that you visit some Print Trade Shows around your area if any are coming up. That way you can see the printer in action - for speed, quality, paper, colour accuracy, etc.

    And if you're looking to get colour accuracy from your own screen to your new printer then you need to Colour Calibrate your monitor - you can do so with hardware/software packages such as Spyder Pro.

    I don't have any recommendation for a printer that you can buy - sorry. But I do recommend that you make sure it can accomodate Oversized A3 - so that you can print 100% to scale with Bleeds. I know some printers that are industrial for Digital printing - like the OKI Printers - which can also print from a Rolls of Paper to make banners etc too.

    Also that you get an A3 guillotine so that you can accurately cut down any flyers or other material in batches.

    "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott


    • #3
      I've yet to see a non-industrial laser printer that can match Pantone colors. Certainly not one for $700. I'm not sure office-type laser printers even publish their gamuts (a chart showing the visible light gamut with the RGB/CMYK areas indicated, then the printer's gamut overlapped on top.)
      We have an $8000 top-of-the-line office laser and the color really sux.

      As for color matching, as you know from working in pre-press, be as specific as possible and get a proof. It's the only way to be sure.

      I'm always curious what kind of clients would be pleased with what comes off a desktop laser or inkjet. Mine would throw that kind of thing right back at me and laugh their way out the door.


      • #4
        Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
        I'm always curious what kind of clients would be pleased with what comes off a desktop laser or inkjet. Mine would throw that kind of thing right back at me and laugh their way out the door.
        Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.


        • #5
          That was a lot of great info hank. It's appreciated! I'll be heading to the print shop in order to pick up a sample today for sure for a brochure I'm helping a friend out with so I'll be able to ask them some questions. I definitely don't match the colours to the screen, I use a portion of a colour pantone book I have. Would it be in my best intention to get a full pantone colour book? Colour calibrating my monitor would be a good first step.

          A trade show would be a great idea, however the closest one that might happened would be 4 hours away so I'll have to plan that one out a lot as I would hate to go down there for just the night, however it would be for a great reason. So I'll start looking around.

          I'll definitely keep your advice in mind when looking for a printer and working with the print aspect of the design.

          And PrintDrive, that's quite an expensive printer! I had a chance to work in a large format printing shop (but never panned out unfortunately) and their printers took up the majority of their space. But the quality should at least be good, eh?

          I've not necessarily handed a proof to a client from my printer. I normally test it here first & then head off to the printer and get a proof. Sometimes hoewever I can't take a look at the proof first and they see it as the printer will be closer to them, and they show it to me afterwards. I hate this way because then they've seen the mistake in colour or the fact that the red I chose was TOO dark. So trying to find at least a better quality printer so I can do some testing is what I'm looking for.


          • #6
            Some digital printers can produce it's own color chart, with Pantone equivalents. Our Konica-Minolta 5501 does that. Read $$$.
            "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams


            • #7
              Yeah, but I was talking about an office quality Panasonic laser printer/color copier.
              Not a large format thing.


              • #8
                It's not large format, unless 13x19 is large format. It's just large, lol. My badly made point, was check to see if whatever printer you look at, can produce it's own color chart of Pantone equivalents.
                "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams


                • #9
                  Sounds like a good idea Gromit. Thanks!


                  • #10
                    Hank is right. There probably isn't a laser printer that will come close to matching Pantone colors (not only on screen, but AT ALL). Trade shows are a great idea, but as far as a home printer goes, it is kind of difficult to find a non-industrial litho printer that will give you the results you are looking for.

                    Mentioned earlier, there might be a printer that is just shy of large format that may be able to match Pantone colors, but I don't have personal experience with the Minolta 5501. I work in a smaller shop so we simply design the mock ups and send them to a large format printing company who simply have to deal with matching the colors.

                    I can't even imagine a home setup where I had to deal with the hassle of making sure the colors on the design matched the printed colors. But yes, as mentioned earlier you may have to search for specialty print shops either at trade shows or online to see if even such thing exists. I am a little surprised that home printing technology hasn't even come close to matching large format quality.

                    You would think your free HP printer with purchase of a Macbook Air should have the technology to match Pantone colors by now. Jeez.






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