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High quality photo greeting card company in UK?


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Can anyone recommend a good high quality photo greeting card printing company in the UK? I'm looking to get some cards of my photos printed. I've now tried some samples from a couple of UK suppliers and neither produced results that look as good as photo prints from my ageing Canon iP4200 printer. Specifically the blacks are poor and the card isn't that bright a white, so the images loose contrast/punch.

 

Key requirements

  •  No  border on front (i.e. borderless)
  •  Gloss or semi-gloss finish
  •  Good weight card - at least 300 gsm - pre-scored or folded
  •  A range of sizes 7x5" and 8x6" and formats 
  •  On-line composition and ordering
  •  Ability to fully customise the text on the back (no need for text inside)
  • Interior that can easily be written in with fountain pen or biro

 

Mark

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Have you tried the Imaging centre - I have a sample card due later this week, but I've seen a couple of cards from other photographer that use the company and I'm hopeful that they will be up to my requirements.

 

Chris

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11 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Can anyone recommend a good high quality photo greeting card printing company in the UK? I'm looking to get some cards of my photos printed. I've now tried some samples from a couple of UK suppliers and neither produced results that look as good as photo prints from my ageing Canon iP4200 printer. Specifically the blacks are poor and the card isn't that bright a white, so the images loose contrast/punch.

 

Key requirements

  •  No  border on front (i.e. borderless)
  •  Gloss or semi-gloss finish
  •  Good weight card - at least 300 gsm - pre-scored or folded
  •  A range of sizes 7x5" and 8x6" and formats 
  •  On-line composition and ordering
  •  Ability to fully customise the text on the back (no need for text inside)
  • Interior that can easily be written in with fountain pen or biro

 

Mark

 

I know what you mean, I have been very disappointed with the reproduction quality of printers in the past - muddly colours, poor quality and service and some the cheapest envelopes you could ever imagine

 

If you find one please let me know! 

 

 

Edited by Matt Limb
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13 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Can anyone recommend a good high quality photo greeting card printing company in the UK? I'm looking to get some cards of my photos printed. I've now tried some samples from a couple of UK suppliers and neither produced results that look as good as photo prints from my ageing Canon iP4200 printer. Specifically the blacks are poor and the card isn't that bright a white, so the images loose contrast/punch.

 

Key requirements

  •  No  border on front (i.e. borderless)
  •  Gloss or semi-gloss finish
  •  Good weight card - at least 300 gsm - pre-scored or folded
  •  A range of sizes 7x5" and 8x6" and formats 
  •  On-line composition and ordering
  •  Ability to fully customise the text on the back (no need for text inside)
  • Interior that can easily be written in with fountain pen or biro

 

Mark

 

I think there is a trade off here between quality and quantity. If you just want a small number of high quality cards, then you would probably be best to print them yourself. Permajet do a range of A5 and A6 greeting cards on a variety of surfaces and the final quality is excellent (depending on the printer and your own skill of course) and completely customisable as you are doing them yourself. Good quality inkjet printing is always going to be (far) superior to the press printed mass produced cards that you will get from bulk printing and you will have a lot more options for customisation.

 

For bulk printing,  if you haven't done so already, check out Loxley as they are generally at the top of the range as far as quality is concerned. They may not have everything you want but that may not be possible anyway.

Edited by MDM
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I think that from your requirements spec, you should maybe be looking at a good quality digital print firm so you can have complete control over the finished product, rather then one of the many web based "send us your picture and choose from the following options" companies. I use this firm and have always found them very good:

 

https://www.imprintservices.co.uk/

 

They're based in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. A few points to ponder when considering what you might want to have printed:

 

  • Size of finished card. If you stick to a standard size for which envelopes and cello bags are widely available, you can buy those quite cheaply from numerous internet based sources, and with envelopes there is a wide choice of colour and quality, with prices to match, available. In practice that probably means a finished (folded size) of A6, A5, DL and so on. Your images may not exactly match those proportions and might need to be cropped. If so, better you do it.
  • If you want complete control over the text on the back, font, size, positioning, text colour etc, consider doing the layout yourself with a dektop publisher and submitting a file ready for printing. If you decide to go that route, the most important thing is your print file needs to be at a high resolution (300dpi) and use the CMYK colour model. I use Page Plus X3 to set mine out and export the finished result as a PDF to those requirements.
  • If you do decide to do your own publishing, and you want a borderless image on the card face, you will need to lay out your artwork at its finished size, plus a bleed area. This is typically +3mm all round, so an A6 landscape layout  would need to have a page size of 303mm wide x 111mm high.

If you would like to contact me with your postal address, I'll send you one of mine to have a look at (same offer to you Matt).

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29 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

I think there is a trade off here between quality and quantity. If you just want a small number of high quality cards, then you would probably be best to print them yourself. Permajet do a range of A5 and A6 greeting cards on a variety of surfaces and the final quality is excellent (depending on the printer and your own skill of course) and completely customisable as you are doing them yourself. Good quality inkjet printing is always going to be (far) superior to the press printed mass produced cards that you will get from bulk printing and you will have a lot more options for customisation.

 

For bulk printing,  if you haven't done so already, check out Loxley as they are generally at the top of the range as far as quality is concerned. They may not have everything you want but that may not be possible anyway.

 

Thanks - I've tried quite a range of photo cards that I print myself and the weight of the card is usually too low in gloss finish. I'll have another look at Permajet.

Unfortunately Loxley is one of the labs that didn't produce good strong blacks or bright whites on their greeting cards, which rather surprised me.

 

Mark

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11 hours ago, spacecadet said:

 

Thanks - they look interesting. They should go through my printer it has a rear sheet feeder, but not sure I can face manually printing 100 cards... :(

 

I tried some of a similar weight from Innova that feed OK in my printer, but on the inside they are like blotting paper and writing inside with a fountain pen the ink just spreads like crazy.

 

Mark 

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Update

 

After some experimentation I decided Loxley Colour were the best I could find, but it's important to boost contrast and clarity before uploading and tolerate some extra clipping before uploading images to get the punch I was after. The blacks still aren't as black as I get on my Canon IP4200 with Chromalife ink, and the card white isn't as bright as the white of my Canon Pro gloss white paper, but it will have to do. I also found that Loxley Colour do the printing of greeting cards (and maybe other stuff too?) for Fine Art America for the UK market.

 

Mark 

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3 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

Update

 

After some experimentation I decided Loxley Colour were the best I could find, but it's important to boost contrast and clarity before uploading and tolerate some extra clipping before uploading images to get the punch I was after. The blacks still aren't as black as I get on my Canon IP4200 with Chromalife ink, and the card white isn't as bright as the white of my Canon Pro gloss white paper, but it will have to do. I also found that Loxley Colour do the printing of greeting cards (and maybe other stuff too?) for Fine Art America for the UK market.

 

Mark 

I shall try them for my Xmas cards this year. I was very disappointed with the ones I sent off for printing last Xmas, so much so that I asked for a refund. And happy to give work to a Scottish business :)

Edited by Sally
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