A few of our clients complain about online printers, particularly with the colour being wrong.

The problem with online printers is that you’re responsible for the entire job. You select the template, you type the details and you approve the proof.

No human being has any part in the job. So what looks great on your computer monitor, may not look as good when printed.

A lady with obvious online printer blues showed me her card with a really dark blue phone number inside a black block. I’m glad she told me, because all I could see was a black block, which makes the card kind of useless. If we did this job, there’s no way we’d recommend putting a dark blue phone number inside a black block. And if anything was difficult to read when it went to the press, we certainly wouldn’t print it. I think this frustrated lady paid around $50 for 500 business cards including delivery, which is a good price, but not if the card is no good. Any amount you pay for a sub standard job is wasted.

Another client ordered some post cards online and when they arrived, the image was low resolution. It wasn’t really the printer’s fault, because the image supplied to them was low resolution. But I think blaming the customer for that is a cop out. The printer had the chance to contact the client after printing the first copy, but they went ahead and printed it anyway. The reason it was printed was because everything is completely automated from the time of order to despatch, and you tick a little box that your supplied images are high resolution. GOTCHA! It may look fine on your computer screen, but do you know what size it is? When enlarged, the quality usually goes downhill. I’m all for progress and technology, but sometimes things like human care can’t be replaced by a machine.

One thing I’ve learned over my extensive years in the printing industry is you get what you pay for, ALWAYS. I suppose the lesson here is if you deal with the lowest bidder, you have to allow a bit of money for the risk you take, and if you do that, you might as well pay for something better. There’s more on this topic in our FAQ article “There are a lot of cheap online printers. Is the quality as good as other printers?

Image: @porstocker via Twenty20

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