Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tool of the trade: Costco, PLUS a little bookmark tutorial in Part Two

I think I'm channeling Tiny Tim today - my ankle is on ice and I'm sneezing while also huffing noxious wood stain-y fumes because Ebenezer Aaron is insisting today is a work day, BUT I'm so happy to have it be Xmas Eve and to have our house be getting more lovely.

Tool time!

Yes, I know, Costco is not an indie print shop. We happily pay large sums of money to indie print shops for archival quality arty bits. But this summer I discovered Costco as the go-to printer for cheaper promotional items and hope you can use them, too.

Why I love them:

• Fast! I email a pdf in the morning and it is done and ready to go within hours if not by end of day. No time or money lost on shipping.
• Cheap! Bookmarks -- the way I've set the file up for Costco -- is waaaay cheaper than any other online printing option I've found. And even when I did oversized postcards with full color on both sides the job was still cheaper than VistaPrint or PSPrint. And I get them same day and can come in for proofs if I'm nervous.
• Consistent! At first I was going in to look at proofs before each printing, but now I don't feel the need. Costco prints laser and the color is always really consistent, rich and fairly spot on (unlike Kinko's).
• Dummies! Costco can print bw or color tabloid size laser prints.


• One little drawback is that you probably have to live within driving distance of a Costco with a copy center so you can reap the low cost benefits.
• Minimum orders -- not really an issue when you want 300 postcards or 500 bookmarks, but it is something to consider if all you need to do is a dummy.
• Limited paper types. The heaviest cardstock isn't outrageously heavy, but I'm satisfied with it and think it is in keeping with most postcard and bookmark paper weights. They can't print on labels/sticky paper, but will try to print on watercolor paper for you, though I haven't tried that yet.

After being dissatisfied with a promo postcard printing I did with VistaPrint I tried out Costco for standard and oversized postcards and haven't looked back since.

I've done two bookmark jobs for Kirby Larson with Costco and I was sooo pleased with them and it was faster and cheaper than anything else I could find. Next post I'll tell you how to set up your bookmark job. You do need to have a designer set this up and/or have InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop or a similar design program.

I'll post the list of Costcos with the bookmark tutorial in Part Two, or you can see if your local one lists a Print & Copy Center

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