What print company should I use to make editions of my work to sell?

  • I am looking to print my artwork so I can start selling editions of my work. What print companies are people using to print their work? I want to get quality prints on archival paper with inks that won't fade 8x10 for the lowest price I can with the highest quality I can. Let me know what printers you suggest.

  • Pro

    @David-starfas It depends. You can always look up your closest local printers and start getting quotes. Or you can go print-on-demand if you don't want to have deal with any of the packaging and mailing. I sold some prints a couple years ago and I used Printful. You can order one print at a time whenever you sell one, input the customer's address and they package and ship it there for you. You can even integrate Printful with Etsy or Wordpress so that when you get an order, they receive the info automatically and process it for you without you having to do anything! I hated to deal with the post officeand did not want to take any time away from my client work, so this was well worth it for me.

    I ordered a few test prints from a few companies and liked Printful the best - the print was thick and luscious, the texture almost velvety on the matte print. However of course you're paying more per print for this service than at a local printer where you get bulk. But with a local printer, you have to consider the price of packaging materials, shipping, and your time in the equation. With print-on-demand you don't have to fork over a large sum in advance to print an inventory, and there's no risk of being stuck with inventory you can't sell if it doesn't work as you intended. But if you plan to sell in person like at conventions, print-on-demand is very ill-suited. You can also always do a hybrid model: sell prints online with a print-on-demand service, then if you have a fair coming up you can use your data from your site to gauge which prints are most popular, print a large batch of your top sellers through a local publisher and head on out!

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  • I've used El-co color labs in the past, they have a poster special on larger sizes and a quantity discount that would make 8x10's $1 a piece. All archival, really good quality photo prints.

  • @StudioLooong Thank you I will check it out

  • @NessIllustration Thank you. Yeah I am hoping to print editions of 50 or 100 and mail them myself. I have looked into a few of the on-demand companies. I have also looked at local printers but being in the Bay Area drives up the price. So, I was hoping to find some other options. I normally print from psprint for postcards but they cannot gauruntee that their work is archival and the inks won't fade. I did a short run through them and sprayed each piece with archival spray but I am trying to take that step out of the process.

  • Hi @David-starfas. I use two online companies for my prints (I sell in brick-and-mortar and on Etsy).

    1. Giclee Today. These guys are top quality. I use them to print my really nice stuff that I want to sell at a higher price. The Giclee ink is beautiful and is archival, as well as high quality paper. They are a little higher priced than others but the print is worth it. You can also order as many or as few as you want, and they will give you a quantity break even if you order different prints. For example, they have a price break from 1-9, 10-25, etc. I've ordered 12 prints, all different designs, and I got the 10-25 price break.

    2. For the cheaper prints (though, still amazing quality), I use CatPrint. Their customer service is amazing and I consistently get 5 stars on Etsy for the quality of my prints. People love them. They have price breaks for bulk too, but you have to do it per design. They also do postcards, calendars, and more.

    I've tried a few others, but these two are my favorites. They will both drop ship too, but I do what you do and order in bulk and ship myself.

    Hope this helps!

  • @JoshuaDages and @NessIllustration , I have a question of drop shipping. How do you sign your prints using a third party print and drop service? When I was selling prints(with my own printer), there was one time I forgot to sign , and the customer literally contacted me and complaint about it ...

    Thank you!

  • Pro

    @idid It really depends what kind of business you have. If you market them as reproductions of the artist's work, in your name, then people might expect signed prints. I sold nursery art designs under a cutesy company name, and no one ever expected me to sign those. But you do not have to sign prints either way, if you don't want to or can't. As long as you don't market them as "signed prints" and indicate somewhere in your product description that they're not signed, you're good. But yes if you do want to sign your prints, you can't do drop shipping. In drop shipping the whole point is that you never actually touch the prints 🙂

  • @idid Yes, that is an issue. Like @NessIllustration said, signing prints would require you to handle them (and then ship them yourself). However, Giclee Today will hand number prints for you if you'd like. I haven't used this service yet, but if you wanted to cut your time in half for "numbered and signed" they can at least do that!

  • @NessIllustration and @JoshuaDages Thanks for your insights!

  • @JoshuaDages Very helpful. Thank you. What price range do you sell the Giclee and cat prints for? If you do not mind me asking.

  • @David-starfas No problem! My giclee prints are 12"x16" and I sell them for $30 online and $35 in-store (stores are in Manhattan, so that affects the price a little).

    As for the CatPrints, depending on the size, I sell 8"x10" for $12 and my semi-gloss poster 11"x17" for $24. I've got a few other things in the works, but they'll probably stay in that range.

    Here's my storefront if you want to look at details, styles, etc: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JoshuaDagesArt

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