Does anyone know good printing companies in the UK who could make prints of my artwork in bulk cheaply?
November 2, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know good printing companies in the UK who could make prints of my artwork in bulk cheaply?

I have some papercut artwork that I'd like to make prints of (some to give as gifts and some to sell). I'd like to be able to order a bulk number of some of them and various sizes (some pretty big like 50cm x 70cm). I've tried searching online for companies but I'm having real trouble finding any that charge reasonable prices or do art quality. Part of the problem is that having never ordered prints for this purpose before, I don't really know what I should be looking for. However, I figure that if I can order 50-100 quantity of some prints, I ought to be able to get a decent price.

If anyone can recommend a company for this kind of purpose or has any advice I'd really appreciate it.
posted by Pilly to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
If you're thinking of 50x70cm fine art prints at a couple bucks a piece, your expectations are out of line.

Fine art quality printing is expensive because the machines used aren't traditional presses but rather large inkjet printers. It takes minutes, not seconds, to run a single moderately sized print. That costs money as does the materials and expertise.

I do this work for hire in Canada, and a matte print the size you mention costs $50 each printed at 2400 dpi using archival media and 200 year rated pigments. I only discount duplicate prints by $2 because the majority of the cost is machine time and media which don't get any cheaper in bulk (I already buy in bulk).

If you were printing thousands you could look into lithography which would get the unit cost down but setup charges are huge.

So, what prices are you seeing / expecting?
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:45 AM on November 2, 2012

Response by poster: I wasn't expecting 50cmx70cm for a couple of bucks - I'm not that clueless! For that size I've found prices around £30 in the UK, but that's for 1 and I would have thought there must be companies here that can go less for bulk.

There are for example individuals selling prints online that are similar to my art work for around £20 ($32) framed that are 15" by 19", so I figure there must be relatively cheap sources of printing out there.
posted by Pilly at 9:01 AM on November 2, 2012

It gets cheaper when the quality goes down. Fine art printers use up to 12 different pigments at 2400 dpi. Sign printing equipment maxes out at 6 or 4 pigments at 1200dpi, or even 600dpi. Sign printers run much faster and cheaper but the result is often grainy and unpleasant. If you're okay with that check into sign printing companies (who will run off huge banners for $30-70) instead of fine art repro people.

It's possible you're looking at prints produced by artists who own their own equipment. Have you bought one of their prints to see how it's been made? Hell, you could just ask one of them who does their printing.

Ready-to-hang, framed art for $30 strikes me as probably not very high on the quality spectrum for either print or frame, but I haven't seen it so can't comment.

It could be that their work is screen printed which can be quite inexpensive for modest runs, especially if the artist does the printing themselves. But only certain kinds of art lend themselves to that.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:10 AM on November 2, 2012

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