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Looking for a printer (place, not a machine)

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  • Looking for a printer (place, not a machine)

    Hello. I'm an aspiring designer (19) still in college that has had a pretty good past as far as freelance work except for printing (and pricing, but that's another issue). I'm quite confused when it comes to printing and what place I should go to to have say business cards or large quantities of pamphlets or brochures printed. I've been under the impression that graphic designers establish good friendships with their printers so I've been trying to see if I can find one myself that I can ask questions and take advice from. As you can probably tell, I'm new to the industry and how it works but I'm very interested in learning how things get done with graphic designers.

    Any help is appreciated. Also, I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania if that can help you pin point some sort of printer for me. Thanks.

  • #2
    This, I think, is one of the MOST important information a freelance graphic designer should know. How to deal with them, technically and personally. I found that the best way to learn all of this is to actually 'work' for a print shop. All you need is about 1 year to learn all the ins and outs of the business. Then, you'll learn where to go to get your printed materials, and the best prices.

    For example: I worked in a print shop for 2 years. Learned a LOT of stuff that school didn't even attempt to teach me. One month after quitting, I started my own company, now, with no overhead (working out of my home) I am undercutting ALL the printers prices. AND I know how to price any job that comes my way. It's amazing what you can learn.


    • #3
      one tip, do as much as you can inhouse. get a wide format printer (at least 13x19)! check on ebay and you find some good prices, but en mas stuff i don't know about.


      • #4
        I suggest you register as a business... then you can deal with the Trade companies.
        Get the prices dirt cheap! That's what I do!
        My only problem, is I can't beat the prices of smaller quantities. But in the long run, my prices for 1000 beat the print shops prices for 500. If you catch my drift!


        • #5
          About printing, I totally agree with Kink. I worked at a printer for a year, and at a sign shop for about six months. Before that I was mostly web and freelance. The thing is that most places expect a designer to do both well, and they're very different animals, web and print...certainly more than the difference of RGB and CMYK. With that said, once you're doing prepress for a while, an awesome, yet totally thankless job, it's time to think about striking out on your own, or moving to corporate marketing support or an ad agency or something; perhaps cultivating some new skills in graphic arts. For my part, I've found that working in service made me a hundred times more knowledable than I was, and working with printers, I get great results. At the same time, I'm glad that I ate, and slept printing for almost two years, because now I do a ton of web, and the days of WYSIWYG web design are gone. Coding ascii text with html, CSS, actionscript, PHP, etc... is in. Some days I'm glad that I look up from text editor to prep a print job...



          • #6
            As much as I'd love to work at one of these places, it's definitely not plausible right now. Can anyone offer any advice other than working at one of these mysterious places to learn how it all works? I don't mean to sound like an ignorant bastard or anything but I'm not the kind of guy who says "I'm gonna go work at X place,". That was the entire point of me getting into freelance so I didn't have to work a ball and chain job, no matter how cool or not it may be.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kink
              I suggest you register as a business...
              What are the pros and cons of doing this and where would I go about doing it?






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