Printing Portfolios


Where is the best place to get portfolios printed? online? kinkos? somewhere else? I'm in NYC if it matters.


Dec 1, 10 9:09 pm

Dec 1, 10 9:54 pm
Le Courvoisier

I'm not impressed with the quality of They usually disregard bleeds so you have margins when you don't want them, and the colors are typically faded.

Now if you only have color on the cover and no full bleeds, you should be fine.

I go local for printing. It cost a little more but I'm able to proof it before printing, and they quality and paper are so much better.

Dec 1, 10 10:53 pm

that's what i was thinking. anyone know good NYC printers?

Dec 1, 10 10:54 pm

not kinkos...overpriced for shitty quality.

i recommend calling some of the schools to see where the students go to print them...i would imagine in NYC there are multiple...

Dec 2, 10 12:35 am

secretly, in your office, with office supplies.

Dec 2, 10 12:37 am

AND KINKOS IS A RIPOFF, they also have the shittiest quality, and definitely dont give a flying f if you're not satisfied.

Dec 2, 10 12:38 am
prairie school drop out

i would second not using lulu, i mean, that's who i had print my currentish portfolio, but on like 4 of the 5 versions, the color has been dull, the trimming has been off showing outlines around full bleed.

back in 2005 i used national reprographics in nyc (near union square). i thought they did a good job, and were nice, and quick. i think they had a student discount, too. i'm sure someone else can offer more contemporary information

Dec 2, 10 1:08 am
Distant Unicorn

Most printing services do not color correct.

Kinkos especially. WYSIWYG. Unfortunately, you may not be seeing it right. Someone at Kinkos maybe kind enough to tweak something for a better result. However, that's not really something that they will do.

If the file you hand them is not 100% color accurate in an outrageously high DPI... chances are that you'll get crap back. If you're sophisticated enough to work in a pantone color system, you can print it out on a pantone calibrated printer. I mean we're talking about setting up 8-10 spot color separations!

Be forewarned... that's expensive!

Kinkos and most other printers simply just load your file up and push the "print" button on a printer that's far too expensive to let an average person touch.

Dec 2, 10 1:59 am

What about, anyone have any success with that?

Dec 2, 10 7:02 am

East Side Copy on 13th btwn 5th and University is a good place to print/bind...but it gets crazy with Parsons Students around finals

Dec 2, 10 9:45 am

east side copy seems like it might be the place, thanks

Dec 2, 10 12:49 pm

what's a typical cost for portfolios? is $80 out of line or about normal?

Dec 2, 10 1:15 pm

NOT Kinkos!! For things you don't care about, they are fine, but anything you need decent color forget it.

I'd buy a decent Epson and print it yourself. Quality will be better than anything and you can test, test, test.

Unless you are printing 50 or more, I'd stick with diy.

Dec 3, 10 12:42 am

well, i had some items done at kinko's... you have to go late night and talk to the person running the machines.... also toss them a tip if the images come out, so next time you're good...... plus cmyk and pdf's is what they require most of the time... if it's a rgb, you might have color issues also...

Dec 3, 10 12:52 am

i printed my portfolio through blurb 2 years ago and was happy with the quality. they shipped quickly as well. havent used them since they switched paper though.

Dec 5, 10 2:44 pm

Ive used and seen blurb used in portfolios and the quality is much better than lulu. You can get high quality books from them if you are willing to pay. The only thing I noticed is that the pages seemed darker in general and that they are not always great at lining up the two pages of a spread (so that if you have an image across a whole spread there might be a slight inconsistency vertically). Not really big deals and I still would recommend them if you don't want to go local. Just expect to have to reprint and print 1 copy first, there are always weird things you don't notice until it comes fully made, no matter what you do.

Dec 5, 10 3:04 pm

If you are doing 8.5x11 (or smaller), buy a HP Solid color printer (with ink etc, i think they go for about $600). the quality is UNBEATABLE.

But that is, of course, if you are doing at least 12-15 copies. (If you are doing 15 copies, then you are at about 60$ per book, which is not that bad)

For larger size, get a epson 11x17 and do it yourself.

Both these are good investments in the long term.

Another option, which works surprisingly well (and Im ashamed to admit) is costo photo printing. They have great matte printing on good paper.

Dec 5, 10 3:37 pm
Le Courvoisier

Given thanks for letting us know about blurb. I was a bit apprehensive about the price since for my portfolio its 2 times the cost of lulu. I'm going to order a copy of mine this week and hopefully it turns out well.

Dec 5, 10 4:21 pm

buying a good printer and DIY is a good option for long term investment for sure.

beware of Blurb tho, its now close to the holiday shipping time, things are going to get really hectic (ppl are printing family albums as presents n those kinda stuff), so the time will be tight if you plan on getting a proof copy. so don't cheap out on the priority mails and order your proof ASAP.

Dec 5, 10 4:34 pm
Distant Unicorn

Solid color (phase-change wax) printers suck.

The colors smoosh-and-run when exposed to standard environmental conditions (temperatures past the 100s).

You can't write over printing (the people review your portfolio will become annoyed that they can't write notes). The wax lifts off the people when using sticky notes and you can easily scratch the ink off. That means your portfolio is infinitely more likely to get damaged.

The printed ink SMELLS HORRENDOUSLY-- like a fart mixed with turpentine. Cheap ink smells much worse than expensive ink.

The ink fades incredibly quickly in bright light environments (sun light, full spectrum interior lights).

And last but not least-- you'll only get your best print quality by printing on laminated, super glossy or plastic paper.

And when you get into the world of laminated papers, expect to spend upwards of $2 per sheet of paper.

[i]I find this really funny that we just had a thread about DIY'ing affecting the architectural industry. Yet, most of the advice given here is to DIY.

[i]If you hire a decent graphic design who works in print media, they can correct your inking and color correction to where you'll get beautiful printouts on $5 portfolios from kinkos. You do not need $1000 printers or saddle stitching. You need a professional.

Dec 5, 10 4:52 pm
Le Courvoisier

To be honest when using Kinkos I haven't had any issues besides their lack of options when it comes to binding and not being able to do full bleed in house (which can be taken care of with trimming). Using Pantone colors and a good paper, and whenever I have printed there it has come out ok.

Dec 5, 10 5:45 pm

I've found using either the post-secondary institution's in-house printer, or small professional printers to be good experiences. Most post-secondary institutions have professional quality in-house printing presses for printing text books and university promotional material. They usually have huge presses, many binding options, very good quality printing and great project management. In the city I'm from, I actually had to go to another university to get my portfolios printed and perfect bound, and it cost about $100 CND a copy. However they offered to print me proofs and they colour corrected the front cover when it did not turn out well when it printed (and I subsequently got an extra free copy because of the poor front cover). They even phoned me and asked me to come take a look at it to see if it was okay.

With regard to paper, I don't agree with Distant Unicorn. As with all projects, the design is influenced by the resources one has available as well as the intent. For me, a book or portfolio is as much about the texture, feeling and sounds as it is the content. Wire bindings with thick glossy papers make weird creaking sounds when they open and the glossy papers feel impersonal. Another consideration is your binding style. I'm currently looking to get my portfolio's lie-flat bound. I have met with the bindery more than once to discuss options and paper requirements. For the glue to hold they need a light-weight paper. I'm not trying to say this is the only way these things should be done, but I think the choice of your paper and binding and printing should arise out of your intent for the portfolio, and the resources you have available, and not from some absolute expectation.

Dec 5, 10 6:04 pm
Distant Unicorn

No, phase wax inks do not adhere well to porous surfaces. And if they do, they often 'run.'

And by run' we're talking perhaps a fraction of millimeter. However, if you are using darker color inks... the running will make it as appear if it was printed on an misaligned offset press.

Laminated and super gloss paper is mandatory for using wax-based (phase change) solid inks.

It's the equivalent of trying to use glue on a fabric surface.

Dec 5, 10 6:27 pm

printing 8.5x11 or less:

Dec 5, 10 6:46 pm

mother of GOD this is getting expensive. I need to do a kickstarter just to pay for applying :/

Dec 6, 10 9:52 am

AAAAAAAAnnnd I just realized my roommate has an awesome 13x19 photo printer

\m/ \m/

Dec 6, 10 10:52 am

I have to agree with Unicorn: most likely hiring a professional graphic designer will do it best for you.

I printed my portfolio at home on $49 HP and took it with me to place at 13th and 5th, which I use for all my printing needs. The portfolio came up unrecognizable... not sure why... all pencil drawings where blurry and colors were just so BRIGHT. I did pay, because usually I am happy with what they do, and they did a great job on die cutting and binding.

My second try (no die cutting and just spiral binding) was at Kinko's... I did not accept and did not pay...

The last try (the day of the interview) I went to Staples... the print came out ... hmm... O'K, but for some reasons they decided that they know better how to crop and did not follow my crop marks...

so, that was my rant...

Dec 6, 10 11:45 am

I went to Kinkos when applying for grad school. The ones in St Louis were patient and had a couple of great people that let me bring my own paper and run test prints (checking for color and texture) before the full run. I tried running my own prints through an epson, but the per page cost wasn't much cheaper.

Local shops with professionals definitely helps save time, and while the cost might be an extra few dollars a book, it's worth it.

Dec 6, 10 11:46 am

"[i]I find this really funny that we just had a thread about DIY'ing affecting the architectural industry. Yet, most of the advice given here is to DIY.

[i]If you hire a decent graphic design who works in print media, they can correct your inking and color correction to where you'll get beautiful printouts on $5 portfolios from kinkos. You do not need $1000 printers or saddle stitching. You need a professional."

Hmmm, I thought the person asking this question is a student, not a professional. I surely did not have the dough to hire a graphic design professional while making a student portfolio.

Also, I do think that we need to understand printing and graphic design as architects, and be able to crank them out on a DIY basis. Most of us do not have the resources to use professional print shops, let alone hire graphic designers.

Dec 6, 10 1:33 pm

Craigslist is full of graphic designers who will figure the print setting for $ 50 -$ 100...

Dec 6, 10 3:24 pm

Print Out on Bedford in Brooklyn does a pretty good job, and it's cheap and quick. nice guys, too.

Dec 15, 10 9:45 am
Le Courvoisier

I just got mine back from Blurb. It was $30, but it was also worth it. Some of the full bleeds were a little off, but they are consistent so I can take an exacto to them. Colors are really nice, except for being just a little off, but not so much that it jumps out. I will definitely be printing with them again.

Dec 15, 10 1:58 pm

Anyone wants to print Architecture Portfolio, I would recommend, best printer in NYC, they have very high quality printing press and vast selection of luxury papers. Very quick turnaround.

Mar 26, 19 1:04 pm

I agree with Jacob. I have also worked with Digital City Marketing, they went above and beyond my expectations and offer great competitive prices for students on a budget! They're hands down the best printer in NYC. I'd highly recommend anyone to check them out:

Mar 26, 19 2:02 pm

+2 for digital city marketing. I'm surprised others know of it! They are amazing.

Mar 26, 19 2:25 pm

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