Instant Print are an online printing company that specialises in 24-hour printing and design services. I was offered the opportunity to try out their service by designing and printing some business cards for Splodz Blogz.
As someone who has a lot of experience managing design and print work in my day job, I was very interested in trying this service out. And having some business cards for Splodz Blogz will be very useful for all those blogger events I’m going to be invited to this year… (awaits invitations!).
All I had to do was submit a hi-res PDF of my design (to a template I was sent in various formats including a Photoshop PSD file, there were other options), and they would print 1,000 (single sided) and send them to me the next day. I didn’t want anything complicated, just a dark green background with some bold white text showing my blog name and contact details. I hummed and harred about whether to include my name and telephone number – I chose against it in the end as my name is in my email address although to be honest I’m still undecided on the telephone number now even though I’ve had these printed for over a week! Anyway, I sent off my design (I went through a blogging PR company rather than uploading my design to the site) and received my cards very quickly.
Delivery, which costs a flat rate of £4.99, was within 24 hours. It takes Instant Print one working day to produce the product and one working day to deliver – so basically you get your stuff within a couple of working days.
When I unpacked them the first thing I noticed through the translucent plastic boxes was how thick the cards were. Obviously normally I would know exactly what stock was to be used for printing but this was a bit different, and now I realise they are on a lovely matte heavy weight white card. The green is nice and dark – almost black but not quite (I didn’t want just black, this very dark colour has more interest) – and the white text really stands out. I’m very impressed with the product, the little cards are rigid and give a good professional impression far greater than I could have achieved on my own printer (there is no way that stock would go through a household inkjet printer!).
A couple of the plastic containers, which hold about 150 or so of the cards each, are pretty broken. They are still fine for storing the cards in at home but I wouldn’t be able to use them to “display” the cards at an event or to carry around. I suspect this is a combination of low quality plastic and a less-than-careful delivery driver. It’s just a little niggle – you don’t buy business cards for the little plastic boxes!
Also, some of the cards have not printed correctly – they have white spots on them. As a result about 50 are not really usable. I know printing flat block colour can be a pain at times and I am not surprised that some are not perfect – it is not unusual when printing 1,000 copies of something to find the ones from the corners of the large sheet are a bit wonky, or that one or two are not cut correctly; companies might send overs in the first place which compensates for a small loss, but a handful like 50 is not normal. I am a little disappointed that they weren’t spotted in quality control – the offending cards were actually on the top of one of the plastic boxes so would have been easily noticed when packing.
Having said that, the quality of a product is often found in the customer service you receive when there is a problem. I contacted Instant Print through the PR lady I’ve been working with and I was very impressed with not only the speedy response from the company but also that they very generously set 250 more cards printing and said they’d be with me very shortly. A very quick and more than satisfactory way to rectify the situation, and one that matched the customer service statement on their website. Thank you.
It’s a shame when everything’s not quite perfect, but I neither of these two things make Instant Print a poor company by any means, and in fact their way of dealing with the problem cards shows they have excellent customer service.
One of the things I noticed after I got mine printed was that Instant Print offer a free artwork check service which they turn around in a couple of hours. Basically, you email them your artwork before uploading it to the site and they will have a look and let you know if it is ok to print, highlighting any potential problems with resolution, bleed or sizes. I would definitely use this – another set of eyes can be invaluable – and if they can turn it around in a couple of office hours as advertised it wouldn’t add much to the lead time of the product.
Would I use Instant Print and pay? Yes, I would. I found that they offer a good service with good quality stock and printing (even with those bad ones!). Obviously I would compare their prices like for like at the time (paper and printing prices fluctuate all the time), but if they came out as reasonable then they would get my business.