LPSF Poster


Two color and four color printing costs can indeed be the same price, if the criteria are met:

  1. Size small enough for inkjet (in my experience up to about 36" wide and any length; Scott seems to think 27" x 36" is the cutoff, but he may be thinking of printing the poster sideways using the full width of the paper at 36").
  2. Quantity low enough so that custom printing is not justified, say less than 500-1000 (Scott says 2000).

Sure, if you are running a LOT of these, then setting up two spot-color inks on a conventional printer makes sense. At lower quantities using a standard ink-jet printer with standard CMYK color scheme (4-6 standard color inks, typ.) is cheaper because there is virtually no setup cost.

You need to shop around with various printers to find the exact parameters where costs crossover. But it is true that full color is the same price as two color if ink-jet printing technology is used. You are basically just paying for square feet at that point.


Here's what Scott writes (I assume he won't mind me posting it here and did not do so himself only because he is not subscribed to our local list):

In normal offset printing, there would be a cost savings by having fewer colors. But offset printing is only cost-effective when you're ordering more than 500 - 1,000 copies of a poster, pamphlet, or something similar. For short runs (25-100) being discussed here, it's cheaper to use computerized ink-jet printing, in which case the number of colors don't matter.

Another alternative for large posters is silk-screen printing. There may be some silk-screen printer somewhere in the SF area that could get the job done at low cost, but he probably doesn't have a website. The silk-screen printers I could find tended to be very pricey.

When we were discussing this originally, I don't recall there being a number of copies discussed. I assumed there would be at least several hundred copies printed via offset printing, thus I recommended 2-color.

-- Scott Bieser
Illustrator, Cartoonist, Designer

  I'm assuming we'd be printing more than 25-50 copies, but maybe fewer than 500? I think we'd talked about a few hundred before.

Love & liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

I spent a few hours today looking at print services on the Web, and learned a few things.

1) The crossover-point in cost for a poster in the 24"x36" size area, between digital printing vs offset, (full color in both cases) seems to fall between 50 and 100 copies.

2) There is only one printer I could find with a website that would let me order 2-color posters with an on-line form. So what I've done now is gone to a "broker" site that lets me spec the job (I asked for 24x36 size, 2-color, 50 quantity), and I should get responses in the next 2-4 business days.

3) I found several sites where I can order 24x36, four-color posters in minimum quantities of 100 or 250. Best price I've found so far is UPrinting.com which wants about $590 for 100 copies.

Starchild wrote:

I don't think we need him to do this, but if Scott is willing to get a quote, sure -- the more quotes we have, the better.

    <<< starchild >>>