Portfolio Printing and Making


1.where do you guys suggest in printing portfolios? - Kinkos? Small mom and pop shop? Blurb?

2. DIY? If so, what printers do you guys suggest in printing?
inkjets or laser jets?

3. What brands ?
Epson, Hp, Samsung, etc.

4. What type and brand of papers.

I'm from Los Angeles area and if anyone guys have any suggestion in printing and also binding from a reliable source, please let me know. My application rests on this portfolio.

lets share and discuss!

Aug 14, 10 5:18 pm

hey. you get the best quality out of ink press; but that would cost you a tonne of money since thay have to set up plates and whatnot. the other good option is these hybrid digital-ink printers (samsungs) which are still on the expensive side but give you press quality and that you have to shop around and see who does and what they charge. out

Aug 14, 10 6:55 pm  · 

Hey vyan,

you might want to check out this place located in Hollywood, i got my portfolio printed there last semester. the prices are reasonable they're a little more than lulu for example but their quality is much much better. hope this helps

Aug 14, 10 7:59 pm  · 
Distant Unicorn


Inkjets are worthless unless you're printing below 150 dpi or above 600 dpi.

And like someone said, unless you know of a place that does or have the capacity for smart plates... color on low to medium end inkjets is spotty and wholly dependent on paper quality.

What even more hilarious is that most major plate prints these days are created with laser printers! Smart plates are printed on 1200 dpi laser printers!

So, other than the cheapness of doing multiple runs, process press is only as good as the laser printer that makes the process plates!

High-end inkjets are superior in many aspects to laser printing but once you start approaching the "fine art" level of printing, you're essentially looking at least $0.75 (Kinkos) to $5-6 (art print) per page, per side.

Your printing is only as good as your files being printed.

Look for someone local or semi local, a 30 page portfolio at 300-600 dpi CMYK pdf will be in the minimum 400-500 megabyte if not in the several gigabyte range.

And lastly, many people here will tell you cmyk isn't important and color correction doesn't matter... but be prepared to pay a minimum of $60-175 pre-press fee if your printer thinks your color is crap.

Kinkos will just look the other way and tell you that's just how it is (and they really aren't lying).

Aug 14, 10 8:46 pm  · 

I just finished making my portfolio.

I printed at a Sir Speedy, and the quality was superior to Kinkos (I had a dark cover page with subtle gray details that showed up at Sir Speedy and was basically omitted at Kinkos). I also printed on glossy 100 lb paper, double sided. A word of warning for anyone doing double sided is that the alignment can be off by as much as 1/16" on any side, so make sure that your text is within the safe zone, and set up the document so that you are comfortable losing the edges of some images that may be cropped out after you cut and put together. This is especially important if you, like me, have images that bleed over from one page into the next.

As far as binding is concerned, I took a molskin sketch pad apart, and I replicated the binding process of that (2 sheets of paper folded in half to create one unit, stitched together = 1 unit, stacked on top of as many units needed to create the book). This process might take a few passes if you are the kind of person that has to do something once before being comfortable with it. (I practiced once with a test pass of black-and-white prints on cheap paper in order to get a feel for it). I was also able to wrap a piece of chip-board in nice material to give my portfolio a hard-cover.

The printing cost me about $25, and I didn't have to incur the cost of plate-printing, but I still kept clean edges and full bleeds, and the resolution is very sharp. Overall, I'm quite happy with the results, and I might make another one just to have a spare.

good luck.

Aug 14, 10 10:04 pm  · 

Thanks for the suggestion orilyy what are your opinions on lulu or blurb?

2.or it's better to go with a small mom and pop shop?

3. what kind and which brand of paper is best?

if any people know any more other places in Los Angeles please let me know. greatly appreciate it since theres sooo many of them.

Aug 15, 10 5:02 am  · 

printed mine at DSJ printing in santa monica, on pico....not too expensive, far superior to lulu, nice guys, amazing quality. i printed mine saddle stitched, about 40 pages double sided, full color glossy paper (dont remember the weight) for about 25 bucks each when ordered in bulk.

Aug 15, 10 12:51 pm  · 

do not do lulu or blurb, they suck

Aug 15, 10 2:26 pm  · 

hopefully your applications rests on the quality of the contents of the portfolio and not the quality of the printing job...

Buy yourself an Epson 1400 and some good epson matt photo paper. Research Japaneese binding so that you can have printing on both sides

Aug 15, 10 2:51 pm  · 

I just printed mine at home using my HP Photosmart All-in-One printer. I like to do it at home because I can print a page, look at it, edit, adjust, and reprint.

I have an inkjet and I think the quality is pretty good. I bought a stack of 65 lb. "premium cardstock" (Wausau bright white) at Office Depot which makes a big difference. I couldn't imagine it looking much better (if at all) if I had it printed somewhere else.

Aug 15, 10 4:27 pm  · 

I've used LuLu once for my portfolio and they're not bad.. Printed a square 8x8 booklet and it came out pretty nicely. They are affordable which is nice.

Aug 16, 10 9:43 am  · 

I just bought a brand new canon pixma pro 9000 mark 11 inkjet printer on craigslist, los angeles for $150. I guess they were giving these away with cameras, anyway there are a ton off them on craigslist, in unopened condition. I plan on printing my portfolio with it shortly.

Aug 16, 10 7:24 pm  · 

^ how do you plan to bind it?

let me us how the quality goes.

I think the more i think about it, the more I am NOT going to DIY portfolio and just find a small shop or LuLu.

at least I have decided what size I am going to do my portfolio.

Aug 16, 10 10:37 pm  · 

what program is everyone using to make their portfolio?

indesign, illustrator?

Aug 29, 10 5:52 pm  · 

Last year I printed and bound a 40 page admissions portfolio using Red River 50lb. double-sided premium matte paper on an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 Ink Jet printer (which I already had). I couldn't have been happier with the results. The binding I used was a hand-bound technique, a sort of diy perfect bind. Look it up on the web, it involves using gorilla glue... I know it sounds dangerously crafty, but working with scrupulous care, I was able to achieve great results. I recommend preparing the pages with a binder's needle and pre-stitching them together for reinforcement--just so you don't have to rely so much on the spine glue. Make a single piece out of the cover (with the R2400, I printed the cover using its roll-feed capacities), clamp the entire book, and let the glue settle over night before sanding the excess. With this perfect bind technique, you need only utilize your model-making skills and careful attention to detail.

I highly recommend Red River Paper as a more affordable substitute for Epson's own line of ink jet papers. The prints are just as good using the borderless photo-quality settings and the paper has great color and texture. Though I would have preferred laser printing, along the lines of Unicorn's recommendations, I couldn't rely on a vague completion estimate from blurb or lulu and I really wanted to control the individual color/composition issues as they arose. I'm glad I did it in the end. I've used blurb and Kinkos in the past, and the finished product was far better.

I used InDesign. Hope that helps.

Aug 30, 10 12:46 am  · 

thanks byline.

when you said,

"I've used blurb and Kinkos in the past, and the finished product was far better." meant that your epson stylus printer printed out a better quality than their finished products, correct?

2. I don't mean to be lazy, but I went through a lot of tutorials on DIY book binding. Which specific one did you look at and do you have an image of the finished product?

3. I found the same printer used for a pretty decent prince (thank goodness im not paying retail - it's like $700-$1000) for new and depending how well the tutorial is on the DIY book binding, I might take the plunge because I do want to control and see the final prints.

I think the hard part for me is how to deal with making the front cover when i am doing it myself.

Aug 30, 10 1:49 pm  · 

Print it yourself, take it to Kinkos and have them bind it.

Nice and simple. It is the work that will matter, not the binding or look of the cover.

FYI - an Epson will print amazingly well. I prefer the look to professionally printed things (that we do for clients). It would cost a lot to make a ton of prints, but for 5-10 portfolios I would never think of taking it somewhere (even if we were going offset, etc.).

Also, you can easily make adjustments to colors, to quality, to paper, etc.

The quality is quite amazing, really.

Aug 30, 10 2:15 pm  · 

^ this place will run me $50 per portfolio

whereas lulu will charge me around $20-22....

cheapness over quality??? lulu is not that bad......

Aug 30, 10 4:11 pm  · 

forget about kinkos... might as well DIY (the quality falls below expectations)

I've generally been most pleased w/ ma & pa's - but it's the details that sometimes presents the portfolio professionally. Opt for the clear cover to protect the first page and don't get cheap binding.

Aug 30, 10 5:23 pm  · 

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