Taking a job to the printer...some issues

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Kimberly Anderson, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm working on this 2006 Ireland calendar project, and have taken it to one of the better printers in the area. The reason I chose this particular printer is that they came recommended from a client that I have that uses them. Additionally, they have a Kodak NexPress 2100 digital printing press that is perfect for short runs, like my calendar.

    They've had my files for nearly 2 weeks now, and I've been to 2 seperate press checks to see how it's turning out.

    Problem is...it's not so good.

    I'm finding out that I am actually doing a lot of education, both to my sales rep. and to the press operator.

    I'm teaching advanced and complex color theory and color management techniques that they should *already* know in order to make the print job go well.

    I was at this press check for nearly an hour, and we mostly went over Photoshop settings, ICC profiles, soft proofing and other geeky printing-tech stuff that would leave your head spinning.

    I could see that I was losing him and that he was really in over his head on this job, and I'm starting to wonder how I proceed.

    Here's the problem. The press that they have is absolutely fabulous. It will make this project look beautiful. But, the operator needs some training and is missing some profiles to make it perfect.

    I've called Kodak and had their tech rep talk to the printer, and he's going to speak again tomorrow.

    It just seems like I'm doing a lot of hand-holding and education, and it's me that's spending my time helping them.

    I know that the project will turn out great, I've invested a lot of time with these guys, and frankly I don't have much time to find another printer before the end of the year.

    I *should* have been doing this about a month ago, but you know how deadlines are...they sometimes get pushed back.

    So...do I just eat my time and get through this project? Do I send them an invoice for my time and training? Do I pitch myself to the owner of the company after this is done and tell them that I can do some training with their staff?

    I really feel like they need to reciprocate in some way here. I've been VERY patient with them and they will end up benefitting a lot from me raising the bar for them.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If they do a good job and everyone is happy with the final result, I'd say eat the time, and you'll have a good relationship with them in the future, and they'll know what you want, so it should be easier in the future.
     
  3. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    Riverside, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I've been preparing my design jobs for commercial printing for nearly fifteen years. I always press check as color can be bumped in small increments. Press ops don't necessarily see what we see. But a good operator will know how to adjust the color in increments to get what you want.

    If you gave them a cmyk file, that's all there should be to it.
    Did you give them prints to match from? That's a must.

    I think you should ask them the questions you pose here, as they are the ones to deal with. I would leave them to figure it out and not waste your time. When they get a good match, go see it.

    Choose a printer you've worked with next time, and one whose quality you are aware of. I've used the same printer for nearly the whole fifteen years for 90% of my jobs because of their QC.

    But yeah, ask for a discount.
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry to see you have problems with these folks. We have a Nexpress where I work too, it took a while to get things printing right, and I still like what comes off the offset presses better than the Nexpress. Nexpress reminds me of Crayola, it's a powder toner heat fused and the ink is not bonded to the paper well enough to prevent the ink from cracking when the paper is folded. It needs creasing with a letterpress before it will fold clean. If you ever get out east you could have a look at what these produce. Sometimes it looks pretty good. Peek at the link if you're curious about the place.



    http://www.executiveprinting.com/digital.html
     
  5. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One of the reasons I went with this print shop is that they came highly recommended. Their other jobs they showed me when I went in for my initial meeting looked good. This is my first print job here in Salt Lake, so I was hesitant, but the recommendation was good.

    I provided them with a complete set of soft-proofs, printed from my Epson 4000. They are using them as the go-bys.

    The first press check was a disaster, and this one tonight was a lot better.

    They're just missing the ICC profile to do the CMYK conversion. They couldn't provide it to me when I requested it, so I delivered RGB files in ProPhoto color space.

    If you can e-mail me the ICC profile for that NexPress (glbeas), I think that's the missing link.

    The printer is contacting his sales-rep to see if they have it or if it is included in the documentation and software for the machine.

    Any help you can provide would be GREAT.

    I knew APUG was a great resource, it's depth is amazing.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gary,

    I phoned Executive Printing today and ended up finding Michael McGaughey.

    We spoke for quite a while, and he e-mailed me the profile for the NexPress you have in your printshop.

    I'm converting one of my documents as we speak, will FTP it to my printer for them to run a proof on.

    Cross your fingers!

    Thanks for the lead...I appreciate it a lot. :D
     
  7. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm glad I could help. Next you need to look at how the finishing department is going to put it all together. Be sure any folds either have no ink or is scored before being folded to look good, unless you are wire binding which needs no folding. I work in the finishing end of Executive, so I've had my fun dealing with Nexpress output.

    Do we get to see what it looks like when you are done?
     
  8. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This will be spiral bound on the short end of the 12x18, so no folding (I HATE folds). :smile:

    They're going to die-cut out the little half-moon shape for the wire spiral binding, and the samples they showed me were nice.

    There are SO many variables in the chain of production. I think of clear back to even buying my airline tickets to go on the trip these images were made on...even that had many variables. It just gets more complex from there.

    I must warn you though, and for the APUG disclaimer, all of the images were captured digitally. I am a control freak, and maintaining the integrity of the files, the color management, the soft-proofing, the design of the calender, etc...was all done by myself. So, handing my baby off to the printer, especially one who needs a bit more training, is proving to be very frustrating.

    Michael there at your shop has been VERY helpful. I'm sending him a copy of the final product, so yes, at least you will be able to see how this turns out.

    I have a limited number of months hidden away on my website and can load them all if folks really want to see how this is going to turn out.

    EDIT: Here are a few small .jpgs of some months I uploaded.

    http://tawayama.com/ireland/2006calendar/

    Thanks again...I just missed you when I called earlier. They said you had just left. I'm thinking you headed out for some Christmas shopping. :smile:
     
  9. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

    Messages:
    2,578
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    san jose, ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Do you always start your week on a Monday? It would cornfuse me.


    tim in Sunday starting San Jose
     
  10. 127

    127 Member

    Messages:
    581
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    Your experiences sound very similar to mine (though on a much more professional scale - fortunatly I just dabble in these things).

    A recent visit to a local pro-lab showed that while they had a practical colour management system in place, they had little understanding of it, and their workflow was far from optimal. Most questions or sugguestions were met with "thats what the machine does, and we work with what comes out".

    My dealings with a MAJOR international publisher weren't much better - upon asking about gamma and/or colour space I was met with blank looks from the production staff. Their solution was for me to keep sending them adjusted images, and they sent proofs back until it looked right.

    As it's your reputation on the line, and YOU want it to look right, all I can sugguest is you keep working with them (and be greatfull they're happy to keep working at it) until it looks right.

    good luck

    Ian
     
  11. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Most calendars in the US have the week starting on Sunday and ending with Saturday. Calendars in S. America and in many parts of Europe have it beginnng with Monday and ending with Sunday.

    Basically there are no rules, except what is 'tradition'. I like the idea of having a 'week-end', so I put Sunday as the last day.

    There is some interesting calendar history as to which day goes where, and after reading it all I still decided to put Sunday as the last day of the week.

    Hopefully it doesn't mess too many people up.
     
  12. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I actually leave work at 2:30, I start at 6am. The folks up front work bankers hours.:rolleyes: Those are some great images you have there!
     
  13. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gary,

    Here's what my press operator said after I re-worked the images with Michael's CMYK settings and sent him a .pdf file to proof.

    "holy crap.

    it works like a charm!

    I just did the pdf file, didin't touch the tiffs

    bring 'em all baby!!

    Wow this is truly an eye opener, and proof that you've never been in a business long enough to not have stuff to learn about! "

    So, I'm re-working all of the other 12 files, uploading them to my site for him to download in the morning. I'll have a proof to sign off on by noon. The print job will run on Thursday I'm guessing...hopefully they'll be bound by Friday/Sat.

    We'll see...
     
  14. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The best printing press in the world is only as good as it's operator! Short runs of accurate color are always difficult, and can run as high as a 15 percent waste of stock and ink getting ballenced. I have never taken anyones word for how competent a print shop may be, I want to see actual printing they have done for previous customers that parallel the job you are submitting. I don't mean print samples of the job, I mean the actual printed job. Just my opinion, Charlie..................


    A great printer can make a poor photographer's work look great/wonderful.
    A poor printer can make a great photographer work look horrible!
     
  15. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was hesitant to post this topic originally, not thinking that it would have much relevance to a photography site.

    I'm glad I did, because the information shared in this thread proved pivotal to the sucess of this job.

    Staying the course with my original printer, being patient, doing my own research and finding out the proper settings for the CMYK conversion for their press has paid tremendous dividends.

    I got the final proofs today and they look stupendous.

    The printer is doing dances in the back room they are so happy.

    They'll do my print-run tomorrow, head to the binder on Friday and hopefully they'll be done in time for me to give them out for Christmas.

    The moral of the story? Hmmm...I'm still digesting for the moral. There might be more than one.

    Ironically I was photographing some Gucci day-planners for a client, and in Italy, or for Gucci at least, Saturday and Sunday are the last two days of the week. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  16. 127

    127 Member

    Messages:
    581
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    Sunday is the "7th day"...

    I'd say the moral is that it's important to find a printer who WANTS to get it right and work with them, rather than a printer who COULD get it right but passes you of with good enough.

    Ian
     
  17. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake Ci
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ian,

    That's a good moral, and ultimately is what happened.

    I got them back from the bindery today and they are wonderful. Started giving them away less than an hour after getting them and I was proud to have my name on it.