This is my process for trying to get copies of my prints. Since I am an author, and not an artist, I had to find out which place makes the best quality with the best price. I hadn’t done this before. First, here is a picture from two copies, one from FedEx Kinkos, the other from Staples. Can you tell which is which?
Now I will go over how I found out a good place to print posters. My posters are made for comic book covers, which means they are usually EXACTLY 11×14 when increased in size. This means I have to order an 11×17 and cut it to make it 11×14.
I print from home is a great place to print. You simply drop your file onto their website. You can select from many sizes. In addition, you can zoom in your print to get it to fit, as well as chose to have a white border around the whole picture, or none. They are the only place that has an 11×14 option. However, it is $6.00 a print, plus $3.00 shipping (increasing the more posters you buy—they send it out on a flatboard). I can upload PDF, TIF, or JPG. There is no way I could make copies of these to sell at conventions without spending more than I earn. I will only use this in the future to order a metallic gleam + glossy print for my own wall for each comic cover I make.
I was told OfficeMax is the best place to get prints done from 2 different artists. However, I have no OfficeMax in my area, which means this option is out.
Office Depot only prints 11×17 against regular paper; they have no other options . They also do not have shipping tubes. There is no point in going here ever again.
FedEx Kinko’s will open my TIF file, but they say they don’t re-size for you, and I had to bring it back with the correct size. They have 3 options for 11×17 posters: Regular Paper ($2.00), 80lb Cardstock ($2.63), or Glossy Cardstock ($3.16). However, the guy I saw the first time wasn’t too helpful, and said the glossy posters and the 80lb cannot roll without cracking.
Staples had 11×17 in Cardstock ($N/A)[regular paper that looked grey], Cover Stock ($1.98)[same as 80lb], and Glossy (also $1.98). However, their glossy was 28lb stock with a thick glossy cover. They had one shipping tube, but it was 3 feet long.
This is where I had to find the 2×15 shipping tube to send the posters. This is the only place they exist. The tubes were $1.79 each. There is no way to print here.
The Winner: Staples!
FedEx Kinko’s had a Glossy Cardstock (it was basically 80lb, Glossy on the front and back). However, the glossy for Staples was 28lb stock with a thick glossy cover on the front only) FedEx Kindos was glossy on both sides. I don’t know how, but the printer for Staples was much, much better. The FedEx Kinkos poster had lots of small dots where the colors were (see Pictures on the left [both photos]) whereas the Staples printer mixed all the colors together to appear smooth, fludid, and cohesive (see Picture on the right [both photos]). Plus, it was $1.50 less per copy, and I could cut it for free. However, the employee cut it for me, but they would not always be exact. In the future, I wish I could print them without white borders, but no one has that option except IPrintFromHome, and they are way too expense to order copies for conventions to sell.
Staples automatically includes a white border around your art (as did FedEx Kinkos) but my pictures had more white space on the left than the right of the poster. They could not change this. What was odd is that the test copy did not do this the first time I was there. I apologize in advance to any backers for any slight centimeter difference in the borders.