We use two different processes for printing newspapers. One is basically a big laser printer – it lets us print small quantities of papers, we use it for runs of 5 to 500 papers. It can only print in black and white. The other is a regular, big, standard newspaper printer – like regular newspapers use. This can print in colour or black and white but only in quantities of 500 or more.
The first process is fantastic for lots of reasons – small runs, quickness, cheapness – but we’ve been starting to hear from customers who aren’t happy with the quality of the reproduction, particularly for large areas of dense black ink. This is obviously hugely disappointing for everyone. And it’s a tricky area to deal with. We’ve refunded everyone who’s unhappy and reprinted papers in those instances where we think we can get a better result. But, to some extent, less than perfect reproduction is inherent in the process. We think, for the papers we’ve done ourselves, that if you design with this in mind and understand what you’re going to get that it’s still a really good product. But we know that’s not a really acceptable answer and we hate letting people down like this.
It’s also worth acknowledging that unhappiness with this process has gone up recently. It’s possible that the printer we’re using is delivering below expectations for even this process. We’re looking into that. If that is the case then that’s clearly completely unacceptable and we’ll have to stop printing those shorter runs until the backup plan’s in place. (We are working very hard on a backup plan.)
So, things we’ve been thinking about and doing:
It’s obvious that we need to be clearer about the sort of result you can expect to get, so we’ve put a handy guide on the site.
We’re working on finding better solutions so this won’t even be an issue.
We’re making a sample paper that will illustrate best and worst case scenarios. That’ll be available for everyone who wants one.
If we think of anything else we’ll let you know.
Also, please note, lots of people are very happy with the papers they get from this process, so that’s good, and the second, more conventional process has never had any complaints, so hurrah.