The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Printers and printing

with one comment

There are thousands upon thousands of commercial color printers across the country. Many of them have made their services available on the Internet. This is my selection of a few commercial color printers that I have found to be professional and reliable. Not all of these are suitable for use by graphic design novices, although many are quite consumer friendly.

I’ve only included companies that provide fully automated on-line job pricing, ordering, and submission.  Any company that emails a price quote on request is not included.  Also not included are companies the require a technical job review before completing and order.


iPrint Systems, Inc. was started in 1997, and it was incorporated in 1999. A big part of iPrint’s business is custom imprinted promotional items and marketing programs to the Fortune 1000 corporations. iPrint’s web site offers a wide range of imprinted items and business tools, from address stamps to youth t-shirts and nearly everything in between.

iPrint is a Better Business Bureau Accredited business (, and appears to have a strong commitment to customer service and promptly resolving complaints. Although a large part of iPrint’s business is marketing to large corporations, it also focuses upon online service to small businesses and individuals.

iPrint does not have the best prices. For straight color printing to paper, I’d look elsewhere. However, if you want your name printed on a golf ball, you might look at iPrint .
1475 Veterans Blvd.
Redwood City, California 94063

Phone: 650-474-3939
7:00am to 4:00pm, Pacific Standard Time
Monday through Friday, excluding Holidays

Fax: 650-474-3992

Color Printing Central

Color Printing Central is a big commercial printer, with nationwide service through printing plants in Florida, Kansas, and California. Color Printing Central is a straight ink on paper type operation. It prints full color business cards, post cards, catalogs, catalog sheets, brochures, flyers, and posters from digital files uploaded through its web site. Color Printing Central’s small job pricing is not the best ($50 for 1000 one-sided color business cards, plus $15 shipping), but for large-run jobs (10,000 or more) I expect Color Printing Central’s quotes to be very competitive.

I would not suggest Color Printing Central to a printing novice.
331 SW 18th Court
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060


Phone: 800-309-3291
Fax: 800-209-1506

Overnight Prints

Overnight Prints started business in 2003, it is headquartered in Orange County, California, and it is a member of the Los Angeles area Better Business Bureau – (company ID 13184602). Overnight Prints focuses upon providing small office and home office printing services, and it specializes in short-run color printing with a quick production time. Overnight produces business cards, postcards, letterhead, brochures, envelopes, and greeting cards.

Overnight Prints’ online design and order process is very user friendly, and its prices are among the best available.
1800 East Garry Ave., Suite 118
Santa Ana, California 92705

Hotline: 888-677-2000
Phone: 888-677-2000
Fax: 949-486-0804

Printing for Less

Printing for Less is located in the middle of freaking nowhere, Livingston, Montana (population 7,000), just north of Yellowstone National Park, and they do excellent work. They are one of the few commercial printers I’ve found that make bookmarks as a standard item. That’s how I found them in the first place. I was looking to have 500 bookmarks printed and drilled, and at that time Printing for Less was the only outfit I found that would do the job for a reasonable price. The fact that Printing for Less is small town in the middle of freaking nowhere is a big plus to me. I send them business whenever I can, just because. Give them a look.
100 PFL Way
Livingston, Montana 59047


Print Place
1130 Ave H East
Arlington, Texas 76011

Fax: 817-701-3565

9673 Topanga Canyon Place
Chatsworth, California 91311


2861 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, California 94608

177 Mikron Road
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020

Phone: 800-511-2009
Fax: 510-444-5369


North America
95 Hayden Avenue
Lexington, Massachusetts 02421

447 Advance Blvd.
Windsor, Ontario, Canada N8N 5G8

Customer service: 800-961-2075

1 Metrovacesa Park 22@
Edificio D C/ Bac de Roda
64 08 019 Barcelona, España

Hudsonweg 8
5928 LW Venlo, The Netherlands

VistaPrint Schweiz GmbH
Brunngasse 6
8401 Winterthur, Switzerland

The Learning Curve – VistaPrint’s up-selling and cross-selling gauntlet
The Learning Curve – VistaPrint coupon cookies
The Learning Curve – VistaPrint vs. Prints Made Easy smackdown


Written by Tom Fox

05/18/2008 at 2:17 am

One Response

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  1. Hello. Thanks for featuring us ( Just another opinion — you said in your review that you would not recommend CPC for the printing novice, but in fact the vast majority of our clients are small businesses with little to no technical expertise. We are among a very small fraternity of printers who do not charge for multiple uploads, do not charge for pdf proofs, and do not charge for most design changes or minor-to-medium text changes.

    We also never reject files that lack bleed. If the client doesn’t know how to set up bleed, we work it out in our art department.


    05/03/2010 at 1:33 pm

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