…And How to Know Who to Use For Your Print Job


A topic which often comes up both inside and outside of the print industry is the pros and cons of online printers vs traditional printers, and which one is “better”.

Having been in business for over 30 years, experienced first hand the changing print world and developed our business to keep at the forefront of the industry in Torbay, we are firmly of the belief that there is room for BOTH.  In fact, there will be times when using an online printer is better suited to your needs, and times when a traditional printer would be a better solution for you.  Gone are the days of one size fits all.  The trick is just knowing which to use, when, and why.

When to Use a Traditional Printer

  • When you need artwork creating or amending, your printer will usually have their own in-house designer who can undertake this work for a small fee.  As they work directly for the printer, they can prioritise your job based on your deadline
  • When you want to order multiple items at the same time to help reduce costs
  • When quality is an important factor / you would like to see samples
  • When you need to see a printed proof before production
  • When you need to be able to speak to someone throughout the production process
  • When your job is very small or large, important, of bespoke shape or size, or needs specialist finishing such as stitching
  •  When you want to collect your order in person


Things to Know When Ordering From a Traditional Printer

  • If it’s your first order or you have bespoke requirements, talk to your printer, they may come up with things you hadn’t even thought of and will be able to advise important considerations such as time for complicated finishing processes
  • If you intend to supply print ready artwork, collect your delivery, or order lots of items at the same time, you can save yourself some money.  Let your printer know when you request your quote
  • Turnaround times are often a little slower with a traditional printer than with online as they have a wider range of items which they can produce so their machines need to be stopped after each job and re-set for the next one.  With this in mind be sure to allow a little extra time, and check with your printer when their deadline for receiving your artwork is, in order to deliver to you on time
  • Equally, if you are in a bind and need something turning around last minute, speak to your printer and see how they can help you. Because of the way traditional printers are set up, they may be able to squeeze your job in
  • Loyal custom will be appreciated and usually rewarded
  • Your local economy will benefit when you work with local companies


When to Consider Using an Online Printer

  • You already have the artwork ready for print
  • The item you are printing is a standard item, of standard shape and size ie an A5 flyer
  • You are able to pay by credit/debit card up front
  • You are able to place your order, and sign off a PDF proof online
  • You need the items quickly, but have no specific delivery deadline (ie flyers for an event this Saturday), as although online print is usually quicker, as you have to rely on post/courier and can’t collect the goods yourself there is a risk (which is outside of the printer’s control) of the items being delayed


Things to Know When Ordering Online

  • You are usually limited in size and shape options as the sophisticated software used to send your job to automatically print will have specific parameters
  • You may be charged extra for delivery (usually you are informed of this toward the end of the order process), with increasing charges depending on how quickly you require your item (ie next day delivery).   In some cases, particularly for rush jobs, this can make your items more expensive than traditional printers due to the increased carriage charges the printer faces in delivering to you, not because of any ‘hidden’ extras
  • The online experience is online.  So if it’s your first time ordering and you need help, or you hit a problem with your order, it is often difficult to speak to someone to help you
  • Material and print is often of a lesser quality than traditional printers, and you won’t get to see samples before placing your order.  For some items this is absolutely fine, in fact a lower quality paper to help keep costs down on items such as promotional flyers is perfectly acceptable, but for items such as business cards which are often the first impression customers get of you and your business, you need to check you are buying good quality
  • The carbon footprint of your order can be higher as your delivery has to travel from much further away





Written by:

Joanne Holloway


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