I've noticed that a lot of businesses are using large online printers to do the bulk of their printing - mostly due to cost. I've also noticed that there is a contradictory push to support local - I think that businesses in Edmonton should view our printers the way that Edmonton shoppers are starting to view local boutiques, and try to support them.
I read a quote once that always stuck with me, it was in regards to a man who always shopped at his local convenience store, even though the prices were higher than the big box stores half the city away. He did this because he knew the local store would be there - open at midnight - when he needed fever medication for his kids. I think we need to think of our local printers in a similar way, and see the value in supporting them.
The large online printers work for very simple jobs - they crank them out at rock-bottom prices. But - I've found that if you send them something unique or complicated or something that needs to be too precise - problems tend to happen very quickly. It's hard to resolve the issues because your point of contact is half the world away. I worry that if we don't value our local printers - the next time a business will want to create something unique - there might not be any local printers left to do it.
With local printers, you have a relationship with your rep and you can resolve issues face to face. Designers can go on-site to make press-checks, and printers are open to tackle complex jobs that stand out from the generic mass-produced products of the online printers.
The other issue I see with on-line printers is knowing what inks and paper they use. Local printers are pretty transparent about these things - and if you are concerned about the environment, you can be confident that your printed piece was produced in an environmentally conscious way. Where did the paper for the on-line printer come from? Who knows?
The other day I tested out the cost between a printers house sheet (which is usually a very economical stock) vs a very environmentally friendly stock (Rolland Enviro 100 Print FSC White) the cost difference was only $2 on a quantity of 500.
That's amazing to me.
So there's no reason not to take control of your printing, support local business, use eco-friendly printing processes and be proud of your promotional material.
* As a side note - I think Edmonton printers should band together and create a "Printed In Edmonton" logo that people could place on their printed material - it's something I would suggest to all my clients if it existed.