How do you find a good printer (particularly in Brooklyn, NY)?
November 5, 2004 12:14 PM   Subscribe

How do you find a good printer (particularly in Brooklyn, NY)?

I need to get some stuff printed and everything I read about graphic design and print production says, "first of all, make sure you're working with a good printer." Not knowing anyone I can ask for a recommendation locally, I don't know how to winnow down the field of the thousands of printers in phone book to the good ones. Specifically, I need someone who can do spot color on perforated stock (for jewelboxing components), do a booklet (probably four-color), do some spot color stickers, and maybe make some folders, business cards and stuff with spot colors and die cuts. Besides asking for capabilities and quotes, are there any good questions that will help me eliminate candidates on the phone instead of going to them and examining their output?
posted by jeb to Shopping (4 answers total)
Calling up a couple of advertising agencies and asking who they use isn't a bad idea. Ad agencies are ANAL about printed products in various forms. You could also find some local graphics shops and see what they've got or who they use. If you start hearing a name over and over again, they're probably pretty good. ;)
(If you were here in Portland, i'd know who to reccomend without fear ... but each market is different.)

Printers all have sales staff that will have samples of work. You could call the sales office and talk to them. There are industry awards, and I can't remember what they're called but you can ask about what kind of awards they've received.

There are also brokers that maintain networks of printers. Calling some print brokers and finding out who they think has the highest quality isn't a bad idea, although beware that they'll try to get you to go through them to do it because that's how they make their money. ;) This isn't a bad idea though, because there are a lot of great print shops that don't do labels or die cutting and there are a lot of label shops that don't do printing.

You could also talk to a larger, national printer. I just recently left a sales job with Moore Wallace to pursue building my own company in a different industry, but I will say that the products they turn out have consistently high quality ... although they aren't the best for turnaround times most of the time. They do have broader capabilities than most local shops because of the size of the company, though... I know for a fact that I could've done everything you wanted, although my prices wouldn't have been as good as most local shops because I was set up for longer runs.
posted by SpecialK at 12:53 PM on November 5, 2004

So, this is a self-link, but after 10 years as a production manager, print-buyer, hopefully it'll help you out.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:32 PM on November 5, 2004

Oh, and I say avoid brokers like the plague, if you're picky about colour and working with a broker, you could find yourself shut out from any communication with the printer, including on a presscheck. If you're running spot on different items and want it to match while printed on different substrates, you need a lot of colour control.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2004

Good point, salmonberry. My customers didn't usually care *that* much about color; I just spent half a year working on the forms & labels side of the business.
posted by SpecialK at 1:54 PM on November 5, 2004

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