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Lazy printers

Hey. New to the site, great stuff on here by the way.
I have a question/rant.
Recently went freelance after years of studio work and loving everything about it, except the daily grind of dealing with printers.
I waste so much freakin time saving and re saving PDFs blah blah because printers a. Are bloody useless b. are too lazy to open and check files and c. Don't have upto date software.
Is it my responsibility to waste hours each week finishing artwork in a myriad different ways due to the proclivities of an individual printer. I say no, not really.
This is proving a real problem when clients choose their own printer.
Does anyone have any advice?
I am starting to think that telling a client from the outset what they will receive from me and then it's the responsibility of the printer.
Oh and another issue. Printers lying to clients about how files are submitted, so as to pass the buck for slipping deadlines. Where does the designer stand against clients chosen printers???
Thanks. Rant over.
Can't say I've had many problems to be honest... Maybe if you be specific to some issues, we can say if they're your fault or the printers.

In regards to dealing with clients that source their own print, copy them in to any emails you have with the printers when supplying artwork, or give them the artwork to supply to printer.


Senior Member
Chris Lord said:
In regards to dealing with clients that source their own print, copy them in to any emails you have with the printers when supplying artwork, or give them the artwork to supply to printer.

Seconded, the sooner you speak to a printer the better!


In future what you could look at doing is to notify your clients that you will be providing them file types x, y and z - if they want to use a third party printing service then they should contact them now and enquire as to what file types they need and any other requirements so as not to cause delays or further work.

Have you considered offering to sort all the printing out as an extra service to your clients?
Squiddy. I have offered to use my printers. Most seem to stick to their own. But liking the idea of front loading my instructions. Makes absolute sense. Learning from mistakes as I go. But very frustrating.
Generally speaking it's quite hard to stray from what is a printable file. It might be a case that you're not setting it up correctly or using the wrong file type?
Well as long as a PDF has bleed, is centred and made using the press quality profile im not sure what you could be doing wrong. Send brochures as individual pages and not spreads works best for us too.

I have hundred's of problems with PDF's from various desingers that have no idea what they are doing.

What have printers said is wrong with your PDF's?
Stephen, to say printers are "lazy" is completely unfair (and, frankly, insulting to us). Most printers file requirements are quite straightforward. For a typical colour job we don't ask too much - we just need your file to be the correct page size, high resolution and with bleeds and in CMYK. I don't think that's too much to ask however it's incredible how many designers are still incapable of that. Maybe if you keep having to change your files in a "myriad of ways" then you need to learn how to create universally accepted press-ready/print-ready PDFs. Once you've worked that out you should be able to send the same file format to virtually any printer.


Junior Member
If I were you I would find a couple of printers that you get along well with and print a nice quality of your art. Then if a customer insists on their own printer I would either a.) send them the file or b.) charge them an additional fee.
I keep emails as records to make sure a printer/client isn't throwing me under the bus.

Regarding the format issues, I would suggest talking to a printer you know and asking them to critique your art files. I did this a while back and was surprised at the simple and little things that had big implications on the production end. Also, printers usually have tech specs that can maybe shed some light on potential universal problems you may be encountering.

Of course, I dislike dealing with client's printers too. Generally, if you're not paying a printer directly, it's understandable they will be disinclined to deal with you very easily. We designer's can be finicky and a hassle to a printer who likely got the client for being the cheapest. Expect to have to do more production work in these instances and be sure to charge more for your time up front.
Printers an output device, instantly work on your command. You should properly check your quality settings, set document properties, watermark text, size, rotation, and transparency; superimpose/background documents, appending/prepending documents, and command line interface to all settings. Once everything is correct, you can easily execute your command.

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