Understanding Quality Finish of Print as Consumer

Discussion in 'Print Community General Printing Discussion' started by Rapid, May 17, 2023.

  1. Rapid

    Rapid New Member

    May 2023
    Hi Everyone,

    I hope this is in the right place on the forum!

    I'm a small business owner. Years ago I had some leaflets printed for my business. We used a graphic designer for artwork and whoever the printer was (I can't remember) did a fabulous job. They came out amazing. I'm reasonably sure from memory that they were on 170gsm silk paper.

    Recently (many years later) I had the existing artwork and have done another print run. I found a printer on Ebay (I know....I know....) they were very cost effective indeed to print a small batch of 500 leaflets on 170gsm silk.

    You can see where this is going....the finish is nowhere near as sharp as the originals. The colours of the new ones are more washed out and lighter than the originals. In the pictures, if you look closely you can actually make out the dots that have formed the picture. In the originals, the images are too good to see they're made up of minute dots, they're much sharper. The originals also feel smoother to the touch than the new ones, which feel like there's more resistance when rubbing your finger over.

    Side by side, there's a significant difference.

    Now, I appreciate there's a bit of 'what do you expect if you go cheap' etc about all of this but honestly, the originals were also cheap. More to the point, my overall question is, is there any way of knowing in advance what specifications will determine the quality of the final print?

    I recall when doing some printing at home many years ago it was all down to the quality of the paper. But all I have with these two leaflets is 170gsm silk vs 170 gsm silk? Forgive me in assuming they would be the same.

    The artwork was the same. The only difference possibly is that the originals were printed in higher numbers. 5k possibly vs 500.

    I don't want to offend the printer by complaining about quality because for the price paid, they're still what I would consider good value. They're just not as sharp looking as I'd hoped. The problem for a consumer like me, is that I could have paid double elsewhere and still ended up with the same product.

    Any help or insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated so that I can avoid the same mistake in the future. Thanks in advance.