Friend Needs Basic Business Cards -- Shops That Advertise in MacWorld Trustworthy?
September 28, 2004 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Business cards--I'm doing some pro-bono design work for a friend who's looking for some basic business cards. I've seen at least a half dozen ads in the back of Macworld advertising 4/1 and 4/4 cards for really low prices. Anyone here ever dealt with these places? What if I wanted to do a 2 or 3 color spot PMS cards? These shops seem to gang the job up with other 4 color work, so obviously spot colors don't fit the bill.
posted by sharksandwich to Shopping (8 answers total)
convert the pms to cmyk and you'll be fine.
posted by amberglow at 4:04 PM on September 28, 2004

Response by poster: But spot colors have a "pop" you just can't get with CMYK.
posted by sharksandwich at 4:08 PM on September 28, 2004

I have, a couple times. The repro quality from pretty much any given supplier is excellent. Yes, spot color is not an option, generally. However, getting short-run spot may actually cost MORE than these direct-to-plate 4-to-6 jobs, so unless it's a for-real design req, don't worry about spot v. process.

Illustrator, for example, offers CMYK PMS, and while the renderings on press will vary from machine to machine, by speccing the color as PMS you have a legitimate beef if the blue comes back purple.

Also, the jobs are in-credibly cheap. So there may not be a money-back guarantee, but it may not hart so much to run it again if there's a problem.

I looked into non-process repro earlier this year for short-run and decided it was not a viable option for low-budget work these days, nearly the opposite of what I recall it once being.
posted by mwhybark at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2004

I've always found to do a nice job on printing cards for my clients at reasonable rates. We've migrated most of our business card business to four color as a result of dealing with them.

If you want to do 2 or 3 color jobs, you're probably better off picking up a phone book and getting quotes from local printers.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:11 PM on September 28, 2004

you can use a coated cardstock if you want more "pop"
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on September 28, 2004

It really depends. You could convert to CMYK and hope, but I've press checked these gang runs (don't ask) and the fact is they aren't going to bother checking to see how close you are. Some pantones do not convert to CMYK without a pretty major shift.

Try to get your hands on a PMS to CMYK pantone book before you choose. Avoid colours that shift easily, like oranges and pinks. If you're going to convert, the deeper the hue the better your chances.

You need to design to budget. If there's no money, you're going to have to go CMYK for the cheap factor. Another option is to go with a one colour job. You take a single PMS shade and create the appearance of multiple colours using knockouts and screens of the colour. Use the colour for all text - no black. As it's a one colour job, it's a cheap set-up for the printer.

Print with one colour using one side of the sheet and you should be ok. Use the floor stock to save more money. They'll have a coated and uncoated floor stock, these will be a neutral white, so you're not going to get the snap factor of a cold white stock. amberglow is right, coated stock works much better for bright colours and for a sense of "pop".

How many are you printing? 50 cards? If so, and you're not looking for top notch repro quality, take your file into kinko's (or another similar service bureau) with a PMS chip and calibrate the colour in the file to match their printer output, so you get close. You can do the trim yourself for such a low number, no problem.
posted by Salmonberry at 6:10 PM on September 28, 2004

Check to see if the printer that you use for larger jobs has a digital press. Many companies have purchased one in order to fill in for just this sort of thing. A good machine should be able to print on stock up to 100# cover (which should be just fine for business cards) and with a little luck and a skilled operator you may be able to get a fairly decent match of the PMS color you desire. I'll second the motion on getting your hands on a PMS to Process book... some colors just don't translate from mixed ink to a mixture of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

The nice thing about using a larger print shop that offers digital printing is that the operators are likely to be more skilled than the folks at a Kinko's or other copy shop and they typically hold themselves to a higher standard.
posted by bucko at 11:29 PM on September 28, 2004 did an awesome (and inexpensive) job for us, were super-nice to deal with and their CreativeProse(?) newsletter is very useful - weekly Photoshop tutorials, etc.

If you can avoid it, don't skimp by doing the cuts yourself etc. - cheap cards looks it, and since it's often the one thing people have representing your business, you look chump by reflection. (Unless you're going for that home-made look and integrating that into your design strategy, natch.)
posted by mimi at 4:23 AM on September 29, 2004

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