Wow, Print With These Guys

xrayspx's picture

[music | DJ? Acucrack - Metrolux]

Herein is a brief comparison between VistaPrint and postcards.

I'm comparing postcards from and Last year, my wife ordered oversized postcards to go behind velum to use as wedding invitations. VistaPrint's stated size for these is 8.5" x 5.47", the size that shipped was closer to 8.35" x 5.32", which is unacceptably outside their standard cutting margin for error. This has since been resolved (since I was a network admin at VistaPrint, and took it, with marks from a precision rule, to the person whose Problem It Was, this was after the size being incorrect for probably 3 years). OvernightPrints stated size was accurate.

This is the reference print for both products:
Dimensionally the cards are similar. VistaPrint's size for standard postcards is 5.47"x4.21", OvernightPrints is 4"x6". I honestly prefer the VP dimensions here.

Quality of Print: I cannot see a dot on OvernightPrint's cards. Holding a VP card and a OP card both 10" from my face, I can identify the dots in the VP card in every area of the image, none in the OP card. They're both 300dpi process. I believe my specific VP order was printed on a digital press, rather than offset, I'm unsure what the OP card was printed with. I believe if it was offset vs. offset, they would probably be equivalent, but in this test, with similar run sizes, Overnight Print pwns.

On the backside (matte on both), there is some magenta hinting on the text characters and heavy black lines of the design on OvernightPrints cards, which is noticeable to me, but again, I've done this a while. I'd say the representation of font glyphs is better on OvernightPrints simply because their lines were stronger, VP card was slightly wibbly on a straight line (the vertical of "F" for instance).

Paper quality is noticeably in OvernightPrint's favor. No contest. Not worth discussing.

Same with UV coating (gloss) quality. OvernightPrints is much smoother and "harder" gloss feeling. OvernightPrints also offers spot-gloss (selecting areas of your design to make glossy with other areas being matte). VP does not offer that.

Matte quality. VP cards are apparently almost completely uncoated on the matte side. The OP card is slightly shiny and much smoother on the matte side, which feels nicer to the touch.

Price: Vistaprint's price for 100 Glossy front/Color Back standard size postcards is $34.98, OvernightPrints was $19.99, though their standard price is $39.99, I don't know if "sale" means sale, or if it's a marketing tactic. Both offer free UV coating for the frontside.

Overall, I'd say the quality of the OvernightPrints cards are higher, with the thicker stock and shinier gloss, plus the "tighter" print (I can't see those dots). The main downside with them was the backside quality and magenta leakage around text elements. I really don't get that, without that it would have been an absolute slam dunk. As it is, OvernightPrints overall quality is still higher.

Uploaded file formats. VistaPrint. Hands down. They support quite a bit and their shit works well. We've always used PDFs or PSDs, but really, whatever they say they support, they support fully and well.

Again, I must disclose my former work relationship with VistaPrint, but I've done my best to make this as objective as possible, and my wife is without bias, and her preference is the same as mine, with the same criticisms of each, so I feel fairly accurate. In short, they suck, there are other options, use them.

So a re-think of VistaPrint's slogan might be in order. It is currently "Best Printing, Best Price". Perhaps that should change to "Passable Printing, Still a Better Price than your local guy with a digital press, excellent selection of templates though...".

I guess that slogan is why their marketing people are there and why I should never be let out of my Ornery Admin cocoon.