Good printer for business cards and generic n00b printing Q.
October 11, 2006 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Need a good printer for some business cards--preferably not one of those quicky jobs that looks like color photocopies on cardstock. A) anywhere online that ships is fine; 2) Bonus pts if it's in Toronto. 3) A generic "printing question" about resolution inside.

In addition to finding a good printer, I have a question about printing:

- I have a background pattern which is 72dpi. I really like the pattern (middle bottom) and am too incompetent to recreate it at a higher resolution in illustrator. What will happen if I use it as is? Will it be blotchy and useless or sharp but just small? Solutions?
posted by dobbs to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you resize the image to 200 ppi without resampling (making the tiles smaller) will it be too small?

You should really print out proofs yourself before sending to the card printer so you will know the answer to the last question.
posted by grouse at 7:30 AM on October 11, 2006

If you use it as-is, it probably will print pixellated unless you make each tile very very small. Generally speaking I think you'd be unhappy with the result if you didn't change the image.

Your best bet is to do a transform on a group of the tiles in photoshop (+300-400%). Photoshop will be better at "faking" the missing pixels in between the pattern than any program that just resizes via doubled pixels.

Making the pattern somewhat transparent will also cut down on any unsharpness you'd percieve.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:46 AM on October 11, 2006

I like, especially their full color satin finish cards.
posted by voidcontext at 7:47 AM on October 11, 2006

Is that pattern going to be on the back of the card? If it's on the front, ghost it back as cowbellmoo suggests; type will be nigh-illegible if printed over the pattern as is.
posted by Mister_A at 7:59 AM on October 11, 2006 can only deliver within the US
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:07 AM on October 11, 2006

I use and have been very happy with their quality, especially at the prices they sell their cards. I don't know 4x6 at all, but their prices ($160/M for 4/1) don't seem very much in line with today's market. (Of course, I only took a cursory look at their site and there might be some value added that I missed.)

That background pattern is incredibly fussy. I don't know if it would print all that well. You could turn off the bicubic interpolation in your preferences in Photoshop and enlarge it that way, allowing the enlarged jagged pixels to be part of the style of your design.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:15 AM on October 11, 2006

Save the gif, open it in Photoshop. Select All, Edit > Define Pattern. Create your business card document at 300DPI, Select All, Edit > Fill with Pattern. Assuming you don't want to resize the image, that is. You'll definitely want to blow it up though, I just gave it a look and it's a little... dense. Plus, this will show you the small amount of work you will really need to duplicate the forms... you'd be surprised how few elements compose that tile.

As for printing, here's a few.
posted by prostyle at 8:16 AM on October 11, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers thus far--though I don't understand a lot of the tech stuff.

Here's the card so you can see how I used the pattern.
posted by dobbs at 8:41 AM on October 11, 2006

Response by poster: prostyle, that's how I filled the background, yes.
posted by dobbs at 8:44 AM on October 11, 2006

Response by poster: I originally had this as the background but was told by someone who does a lot of printing that it was too subtle and would not render properly on the printer, which seemed like nonsense to me.
posted by dobbs at 8:51 AM on October 11, 2006

Hi dobbs.

First, the original GIF is kinda pixel-art as is, so it's easy to resize. In Photoshop, you want to resize it about 5x larger using image --> image size --> blah (using Nearest Neighbor, which doesn't do any ugly blurry shit).

I already did that for you.

Second, it's not hard to trace because it's all pixels (meaning all traces can be squares).

So I did that for you, too.

Using either the GIF or the EPS, with a minimum of fiddling you should be able to get the thing at a size and resolution that fits. The gif should that I posted should print pretty closely to the original graphic at 300 DPI.

Sent you an email a while back, did you get it?
posted by fake at 11:29 AM on October 11, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, fake! No, I didn't get your previous email. I just emailed you myself, though, so hopefully it came thru.
posted by dobbs at 3:29 PM on October 11, 2006

GFX is in (or outside) Toronto. I've used them several times for my clients. Excellent quality (but not if you use 72dpi images.) ;-) $60 for 500
posted by wordwhiz at 6:14 PM on October 11, 2006

I'll second I've used them three times so far and have been very satisfied every time. They use good card stock and the printing is quick.
posted by LGCNo6 at 11:01 PM on October 11, 2006

I'll third I use them for all show post-cards. The only caveat -- they don't ship on Saturdays, so if you need it Monday, I wouldn't use them.
posted by Bear at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2006

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