Imagekind Print Proofs

September 13, 2008
ImageKind mailtube

ImageKind mailtube

After lunch today I was just about to put brush to canvas for more painting when FedEx knocked at the door, and delivered two prints recently ordered from Imagekind, the printing fulfillment company I signed up with recently. I ordered proofs to see how well they made the prints. One of these was the recently finished “Chinese Restaurant” painting that I posted here a few days ago, and the other is a painting from last year called “Manhattan Beach.” They were shipped in a long thick cardboard mailing tube rolled up in tissue paper.

For the “Chinese Restaurant” proof I chose the largest size they offered on the least expensive paper, figuring that would help me gauge a worst-case scenario for people ordering prints. The “Manhattan Beach” proof I requested was made to roughly the same size as the original but on glossy paper.

Both prints look very good. I was worried that the common problem of matching a monitor display to print output color (CMYK) would appear, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They both look very accurate. There is one problem; although, it’s not actually related to the printing. Even though the large print looks very accurate and sharp, its larger size magnifies the minute details of the small painting. Tiny spots of paint that may splatter in unwanted places, or shadows cast by thicker paint layers get enlarged several times. Small things that can be overlooked on the original are glaringly obvious on the larger print.

These issues aren’t big problems, and if they were printed actual size or smaller they’d be okay, but the prints should look as perfect as they can be under all conditions. It would be convenient if Imagekind would let me control the size options offered, but that’s not available. It is good to offer larger sizes, I suppose, as long as the prints show up well, which they seem to do. I had touched up the digital images some even before I uploaded them, but apparantly I need to clean them up even more carefully, so it looks like I’ll be doing that over the weekend.


  1. Being is a similar business as ImageKind but called FinerWorks.com, I see some of the same issues you discuss. A lot of times customers submit images but fail to take into consideration that if they enlarge the image the print is not going to look as good. Also the colors might have the potential to appear off in certain areas where graidents are concerned. The rule of thumb is to go the same size or smaller. That usually yields the best results.

  2. Thanks for the reply. That’s an interesting point about gradients, and something to pay attention to. I would imagine original digital files would be very prone to that issue, moreso than scanned images that would likely have grain noise in them to break up the gradients slightly.

    In the descriptions of the artwork I offer as prints I make sure to put the size of the original so folks can make their own judgement. It’s akin to seeing high res photos of people’s faces closeup, pimples and all. Not that they don’t look good exactly, it just exaggerates the flaws.

  3. I’ve just gotten some feedback directly from an Imagekind representative regarding restricting the image sizes of prints. Their position is to offer whomever buys the print whatever size options are possible based on the digital image they receive from the artist. In order for me to restrict the size options that are offered I would have to reduce the pixel dimensions but not the PPI (pixel/inch) resolution of the digital file I upload.

    After a couple upload tests I figured out that reducing the dimensions roughly 25% would knock off one size option from the list.

    Now, there is one other important thing for me to consider here, and that is larger prints are sold at a higher price, so removing those options also removes the chance of me selling a more expensive print. Maybe the best thing for me and those who want a larger print is to just make a recommendation that they buy close to the size of the original rather than actually restricting the option. I’ll have to think this over.

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