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Quality postcard print-on-demand services?

EDIT: ADDED PROOF/PRINT SCAN FROM MOO

This was the first place I could think of for advice on where to get good prints! Basically I am looking to get some postcards or greeting cards made of my photos to sell at cons. I tried a small run with Overnight Prints and while the price is great, the quality is not quite what I was hoping for. It's not terrible I'm just picky. I've tried to show the quality by posting part of the file I submitted and then a scan of the card next to it. Keep in mind this is 300dpi blown up to 72 dpi for the web, and that my scanner may be upping the contrast a little. It's not bad, but I've seen smoother prints!


proof vs print:

Here is what overnightprints looked like (proof on left). Note the sales reps assured me that the greeting cards get the "quality" print, not the "value" print


Here is what Moo looks like:


Thoughts so far:
I'm not sure if the resolution is really better with Moo, but I would say the print is definitely smoother. My biggest problem with the OvernightPrints order was you could see faint vertical lines where I guess one of the print heads was doing something a little different from the others. Moo cards do not have that!
However, Moo cards are a lot more expensive. I paid $1 each for a run of 10 from overnight prints ($1.36 each including S&H) vs $1.20 each for a run of 25 from moo ($1.54 including S&H). Doesn't sound so bad except that if I bumped up my size to 250 from overnight prints it'd be $0.22 each from overnight prints before S&H, vs $1.23 for 250 Moo cards. Maybe I can reduce that to $0.86 with a coupon... but the S&H is huge! Moo's site says the S&H for the 250 cards will be $47.75, vs OvernightPrints economy shipping is just $7.75 (economy takes 3 weeks however - the shipping option on overnight prints that takes two days [about what my Moo order took] is still $33.59)

The upshot of Moo is that you can put many different designs in your order, vs each run with overnight prints is a single image.

Conclusion: Moo's quality is a bit nicer but the cost is prohibitive for the prices I wanted to sell for, even with a large run. I'm going to try a few other places.




So, my question is, where does one get nice postcard prints? I get the feeling this level of quality is fairly standard for most print on demand places hence I'm hesitant to just keep ordering small runs willy-nilly!

Recommendations much appreciated :)

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Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
hamburger
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
Howdy, I approved this, but could you possibly put the images behind a cut? They're a bit large.

NO FURTHER REQUESTS FOR AN LJ-CUT AFTER THIS POST, PLEASE.
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
That went through fast!
Cut is done - my monitor res is way high so they didn't look too big to me XD
(no subject) - hamburger - Jan. 31st, 2011 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
nekomata
Jan. 31st, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
I use Moo and have never had an issue with quality. The cards came out just like my photos. They'll also let you know if your resolution won't turn out great.
http://us.moo.com/
keaalu
Jan. 31st, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
Agreed! And Moo also let you have a different image for every single card in the set, which is great if you're tight on space and don't want hundreds of identical cards to somehow find room to store.
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 31st, 2011 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jan. 31st, 2011 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - captpackrat - Feb. 1st, 2011 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zhivagod - Feb. 4th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Feb. 4th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - meradragon - Feb. 5th, 2011 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Feb. 7th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
kyetsu
Jan. 31st, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
I'm a member of Zazzle, and while I haven't gotten their postcards personally, I've heard nothing but good things about their photo quality on cards. Hope that helps! =3
kiriska
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
I second Zazzle. Though it's been a few years, I did get postcards by them before and they turned out lovely. The cardstock is thick and the finish is smooth and glossy.
(Deleted comment)
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
I used Vistaprint for business cards many years ago and was happy, although I hear they have some sketchy business practices (sign up for monthlong trial offers in the hopes that you forget to unsusbcribe before they start charging you, etc)
Looking at the business card though if the quality is the same it would not be quite what I'm looking for, but they're cheap so maybe I should give 'em a whirl anyway...

... maybe turn this into a "card quality review" post :P
eski
Jan. 31st, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
overnightprints.com, all the way! Fast, cheap, and good quality? Yes indeed!
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
That's who I ordered from but the quality was grainier than I was hoping for XD
(no subject) - eski - Jan. 31st, 2011 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 31st, 2011 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
runcoyoterun
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
Ive used zazzle for business cards and they are great. I wish they rubbed a bit less while sitting in my wallet but thats a personal problem, not a problem with the product.

I would also try Nations Photo Lab they are based in MD and have INCREDIBLE print quality.
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
This nations photo lab intrigues me...
nambroth
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
I love Moo with all my stupid little heart. :D
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
I'm putting together an order with them now, though Nations Photo Lab intrigues me too...
caskinc
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
Here's another rave for Moo! I ordered some postcards from them a while back and they turned out AMAZING. I love how customizable the back is as well.
oceandezignz
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
When you did the run at Overnight, was it the 'Value' or the 'Premium'? The scan of the print looks just about how my test run of Value cards looked. Nice, but a little meh on quality (grainy from a few inches away). I compared my cards to a friend's Premiums and the difference was night and day really. But then again it might also depend on the print. Ours were graphics rather than photos.

Personally curious, but also consider this a +1 for Moo too. I've had friends use them for the mini cards and they're really sweet.
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:19 am (UTC)
These were "greeting cards" and as far as I know there is only one quality you can select for them.
I did notice the postcards had the "value" and the "premium" options, and I tried to ask customer service whether the premium option would be with the offset press and thus a better print quality than the greeting cards I received. This seemed reasonable to me since I thought when I looked on the quality section of the webpage it seemed to say that greeting cards could be done with either. However the rep said that all greeting cards were done with offset press.
... I asked to be extra sure if the quality of the greeting cards would be the same as the premium post cards, not the value post cards, and haven't heard back from the rep yet. But basically unless they tell me otherwise I'm figuring the greeting cards were with the "premium" press.
(no subject) - oceandezignz - Jan. 31st, 2011 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 31st, 2011 05:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Feb. 4th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
tyreenya
Jan. 31st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Don't do Vistaprint. They're print quality varies, they have awful customer service, and they try to sign you up for things and slip in monthly charges.
(no subject) - tyreenya - Jan. 31st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Feb. 4th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand
hollso
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:28 am (UTC)
I second (or probably 5th) Moo. I've bought both business cards and postcards. Quality and price were great, and for me (in the uk) they arrived in less than 5 days of me ordering. They also send me money off codes, so I have to keep coming back!
spiffystuff
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
I'm trying them though I admit the cost, even with a 30% off discount, is more than I'm shooting for - I'd like to sell greeting cards for $2 to $2.50 and postcards for $1, so they need to be at or less than $1.25/$0.50 each for that to be reasonable, but we'll see how the quality is! I do love that I can have a run of as many images as I like. (and a bigger run of cards might be under $1.25, though shipping might mess with that)
raeraesama
Jan. 31st, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
I use Got Print for my bookmarks and business cards and am rather impressed with the quality. They'll send you a packet of samples at your request, too.
kivvakyuui
Jan. 31st, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Wow!

My mate works for FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos) and he would have been appalled by that proof vs. print!

I'm biased for FedEx, but they have very good quality postcard/greeting card prints.
spiffystuff
Feb. 2nd, 2011 04:09 am (UTC)
Fedex... fedex/kinkos?
Ehhh, I made my own personal family cards there since I was in a rush to do them and I'm not really fond of their format. Either I have to pay a $5 "digital processing" fee to get someone who knows the printers to print for me, or I pay per minute to try to print my files and goof them and pay for the paper because their photo processing software is lame and the staff are uninformative.
... sorry, that was a bit of a rant XP I think the quality was about the same as the other cards I got, also.
I just really hate their interface. I can figure digital stuff out pretty easily but charging per minute makes me anxious even if it's not all that much.
kriscynical
Feb. 8th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
This is old but I've been out of town for nearly three weeks... I scanned the comments and I don't think this was mentioned...

I do support Moo.com. I use them for their mini cards with my DA address for conventions because they're great to hand out along with my professional business cards.

As for postcards, they can be pretty pricey but Modern Postcard delivers beautiful prints. They even slightly adjusted the color balance of my image (with my approval) to make it even more warm and inviting. They also have mailing lists for sale to client bases for illustrators and such, and they will mail all of your postcards out to that list for you when you order them.
spiffystuff
Feb. 8th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
Thanks! I haven't settled on a service yet :) In fact I'm half tempted to survey all the places mentioned here since I've already gotten 3 thus far :P
Currently I have an order pending from Nations Photo Lab - will see how that goes!
Modern Postcard looks like it might be good: though pricier than overnight prints it still looks to be about half that of Moo... I'm going to ask if they'd be willing to give me a sample of my test print... I'm willing to pay a little but I don't want to buy 250 just to see how they'd do it XD
( 39 comments — Leave a comment )

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