So You Wanna Make Some Merch...

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 9, 2016, 1:05 PM
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So You Wanna Make Some Merch...
A brief overview about the different printing and merchandise options I've come across.
by kabocha

:star: An original article by kabocha
Originally Published Sept 17, 2010; Updated June 9, 2016
New additions to the list have been marked.

If you've ever been to a convention...

:bulletred: Preparing for the Artist Alley can be a little stressful.  There are so many questions, such as:
What kind of artwork should I do?
What kind of merchandise sells well?
How am I going to display my stuff?
Where am I going to get this all done...?!

:bulletred: The first three questions are a little tricky to answer!  (But guess what?  There's a survey and report which covers some of that, broken down by convention!)

Also note, while this list contains many resources, make sure to do a search for print shops in your city to see what's available, and find what they can do for you!

If you're into making comics or just want to sell things, you definitely want to look around for companies who can meet your needs!


:bulletorange: Greko Printing
Comments:  This printer is local to Michigan, but has come recommended by a couple of artists on Twitter.

:bulletorange: Ka-Blam
Recommended by the artist and author behind Caf-fiends, Gina Biggs, and several other artists.
Comments: They are reportedly slow to process orders, so don't use them as your printer when you're on a time crunch!

:bulletorange: Keness
Recommended by several artists, such as robokiss, and ShouriMajo

:bulletorange: PrintKeg
Offers booklet printing as well as postcards, posters, and more!

:bulletorange: PrintNinja
A fairly popular printing company which does their printing in China.  They're not bad, but do require a minimum order of 250 books.

:bulletorange: RA Comics Direct
Based on what I've seen printed by them, they produce fairly good quality for the price of their books.  Recommended by alakotila and robokiss.  They have minimum orders of at least 25 copies for books.  They also offer banner signage and other merch.

:bulletorange: Rink Printing
Based in South Bend, Indiana, and recommended on Twitter by the GCC Ladies Night.

:bulletorange: Transcontinental
Suggested by Gina Biggs.  A very large company which offers offset printing.  
Comments: Ideal if you are going to print a large run of books; it's almost as expensive to print 500 books as it was 1,000...  It's highly recommended that you obtain a quote before making a run.

:bulletorange: UK Comics Creative
Recommended by natashadown as a very dependable printer within the UK.  As she notes, they've "been the best price I could find and great quality so far!"


:bulletgreen: Catprint
Catprint has a lot of options, including a holographic print option!  Their 11 x 17 prints are actually quite cheap, as outlined on their Art and Printing Services page.

:bulletgreen: Costco Photo Center
021 used Costco her prints, and they turned out quite lovely!  Apparently they are quite cheap for the quality of some of the sizes - but individual posters can turn out quite expensive.
Comments: Their shipping seems a bit expensive, so you may want to consider visiting a location near you in order to lower prices.

:bulletgreen:  Staples
A general office store with varying quality based on the location.  A convention that Kita-Angel recently went to had several artists that pooled together to use Staples' printing services.
Comments:They aren't the cheapest you can find, but their turnaround can be pretty quick if you need something local.  They're a rather large chain,  but the quality can vary from store to store - based on their staff training and other factors.

A business card can speak volumes about you with just a few lines.  For instance, Alex's says that he's a bit too fancy to be working at a convention.  ...Maybe.

Business Cards & Promotional Materials

:bulletblue: Best Value Copy
The quality for the price seems to be quiet good, according to Tsukiyono-Miyu.

:bulletblue: ClubFlyers
Another recommendation from Caf-Fiends.  The cards are actually pretty nice looking, with a gloss on both sides...  They do 500 free cards, with a TINY line on the back for their advertisement.

:bulletblue: GotPrint
These guys were mentioned by RavynCrescent.  They do some MASSIVE orders of business cards (anyone need a few thousand for cheap), and she seems to like them.

:bulletblue: Moo
I like them, but they're a touch expensive.  Has locations in both the US and the UK.

:bulletblue: Overnight Prints
This one was recommended by the author of The System.  I've used their printing services in the past, and they turned out pretty good, with a few extras since some in the box were damaged.
Comments: They ship fast and respond well to customer inquiries.  Remember: If you're going to work in greyscale, make sure your image is in greyscale mode before sending it, or else something weird might happen.

:bulletblue:  VistaPrint
Vistaprint may offer freebies when you order from them - so they may be worth a look!  Often has promotions and discounts which makes printing very cheap!

Nothing advertises better than having people wear your awesome merchandise!  ...Unless Reed's the one wearing it.  But that's okay, we love him anyway.

Misc. Merch

:bulletpurple: Artscow
Custom print clothing, booklets, and other merchandise.

:bulletpurple: Acorn Press
Acorn Press is a service specializing in Acrylic Charms, but also may be offering prints and T-shirts in the near future!

:bulletpurple: Blue Collar Press
Another fairly cheap place to get screen printing done, as suggested by Gina Biggs.

:bulletpurple: Brunetto
They have a low minimum order, and provide good quality shirts.  Take a look at some of their customers for yourselves and see what ya think!  Anyway, this was another recommendation by the Caf-fiends author and artist. :meow:

:bulletpurple: BuyButtonParts
They sell button parts for you button-making types!
Comments:It has been suggested that the Badge a Minit machines are good for small buttons, but you wanna avoid anything smaller than 1.25" inches (3.175 cm).

:bulletpurple: ClearBags
Their Crystal clear bags have been recommended by luciole.  If you're selling prints, these are always useful to have on hand!  (Or you can package your other merchandise in them - it's completely up to you!)

:bulletpurple: ClearDisplays
The displays made by this company look quite nice, and work well for convention tables, if you're looking for a way to display your merchandise.

:bulletpurple: Crucial Pins
This company is located in Canada... And they do buttons.  The prices look pretty nice, too.
Comments:Recently, I got a quote from them.  If you're in the US and want to use them, it's going to be an additional $5 or so to get your buttons shipped...  Since they have to cross borders and such.  On the whole, though, it's not a terrible increase in price. If it's something you're worried about, get a quote!  They're friendly and responsive!

:bulletpurple: Inkit Labs
Does a variety of charm printing in materials such as wood and acrylic.

:bulletpurple: JiMi Agency
A merchandise group ordering service based in South Korea.  Order openings are announced ahead of time, and require registration in order to sign up.  Prices include shipping.  Merchandise offered may vary depending on the order.

:bulletpurple: Lord Sticks-a-Lot
Recommended by ShouriMajo -- they offer sparkly buttons!

:bulletpurple: Med Merch Orders
A merchandise ordering service based in California.  Order openings are announced and run, and products vary.  Doujinshi printing available.

:bulletpurple: StickerMule
Stickermule offers a variety of custom stickers to use for a variety of purposes.

:bulletpurple: ZapCreatives
A UK-based printer for acrylic and wood charms, stamps, and other merchandise printing!

All these places aside, there are still tons of other printers and businesses to investigate!

Regardless, if you find an option that you like better, or have had good experiences with, feel free to share it with us!

If you do decide to go with these types of businesses, you definitely should pay attention to their guidelines, templates, and requirements to ensure your work comes out well.

:heart: :iconkabocha:

Related Manga-Apps Articles:

:star: Artist Alley First-Timer? What You Need to Know!


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