It was so fun to be interviewed by Art-LA Magazine about fine art book printing and what it takes to publish an art book. You can read the full article of my interview by clicking on this  link.

With the advent of the internet, an artist has many more choices when it comes to printing an art book.What are the most important things to look out for when choosing a company?

There are quite a few “printers” online who can make one, two, or maybe ten copies of a book. These books are not commercially feasible of course. The unit cost is prohibitive. But more importantly, digital presses are no match for hi-end offset presses when it comes to color reproduction in fine art book printing. With ArtBookPrinting.com, an artist or gallery can print a real coffee table book, printed and bound par excellence… like the books you find in a museum store. In fact, many of the books we create are sold in museums and art galleries from New York to Miami to San Francisco. We also create exhibition catalogs with critical color accuracy. So how then, you may ask, can a top quality fine art book printing be affordable in a very limited edition print run?

Fine Art Book Printing- Affordability

To print an art book is a significant investment. Working with many museums, galleries and individual artists we have distilled a combination of exquisite materials and processes that meet the needs of even the most judicious clients. Using these standards, we find economies that translate in affordable prices. Do we print in China? Of course we print in China, as long as the quality and price point is of great benefit to our clients. In East Asia, we print on the most modern German and Japanese presses. They allow us to set up for color in minimal time with minimum waste, adding to the affordability for fine art book printing. With fine art book printing, excellent quality art books are our business and our passion. For our clients, art is their passion but also their business. Our typical client has an audience that can absorb at least 300 copies of a coffee table book or exhibition catalog. We fill the niche between the on-line digital printer and the large commercial outfits. This niche is ideally suited for the gallery and museum market.

Fine Art Book Printing- Personal Consultation Versus Software Systems

You may wonder how important is personal consultation in producing a custom designed art book, given that some companies have automatic software systems on their websites? I firmly believe that an art book should be as individual in design as the artist it represents. I am of the opinion that these on-line design templates are of no use to an artist looking to print an art book. Templates are fine for a wedding album or baby picture book, I suppose. Designing an art book is like hanging an exhibition. The order of the work, the color palette, the lighting… it is all so important. Having said this, the design does not have to be complex or expensive.  Our clients live all over the country and abroad. Most of our clients never have a chance to visit our studio. We work with them using a direct link called DesignLiveTM that allows a client to actively participate in the layout via hi-speed internet.  Some of our clients choose to work with a local designer. We provide a layout file for the cover and dust jacket so it is easy to make everything fit correctly. Yes, design and layout can be a significant part of the budget, but it is critical to the success of a fine art book printing project. I cannot begin to tell you how many clients I work with started out spending a lot of money with a digital-only on line printer. They ended up with a cookie-cutter book of – what I consider– sub par quality. Another key component is accurate color proofs. We include a full color proof in the base price of our proposals. The digital world has allowed the graphic arts tremendous benefits. The big downside is that many people view digital images on all sorts of monitors that are not properly calibrated. We provide designers with tools to calibrate their monitors to certain standard. We want our clients to have hard, color accurate proofs that can be matched on press. It is an essential step towards success.

Fine Art Book Printing- Prior Preparations

You have to be prepared for — and be realistic about — the financial commitment of course. At ArtBookPrinting.com, we provide a custom quotation on every project. We work with clients ranging from the absolute novice to the most sophisticated print buyers. Bar none, the most important thing an artist can do is to make sure he/she has high quality professional photography or the original art. What works ok for web will not suffice for art reproduction in fine art book printing. Most word processing programs (WordTM is probably the most common) will work fine to determine the copy for each page. Just set up a document with the same number of pages as your book and flow the copy for each page. That is generally all we need.  We can assist with barcodes, ISBN numbers, etc.

Fine Art Book Printing- Self-Publishing

As soon as an artist puts a work of art out there, he or she IS a publisher. To own an original work is a privilege an artist can extend to only one admirer of that work. He or she can offer a Giclée print or a casting to a select few. Printing an art book will allow an artist to offer a collection of the best work to a larger audience. A book is a gallery that can be visited and enjoyed over and over. We can assist in placing books with Amazon.com and we can prepare marketing tools, but we do not fill the role of the publisher.

Fine Art Book Printing- Turn-Around Time

A typical timeline is 3-4 months from first contact until receipt of the book. It varies widely. Of course, off-shore printing must allow for ocean freight. That takes 4-5 weeks. We take care of all the details and deliver to the client’s door, but it does require advance planning for all parties. It seems like we more and more often ship advance quantities via Fed Ex. That cuts it down to 4-5 days. All our production is done under one roof, so the total production timeline is in fact shorter when we print a book in China. If you plan an exhibition catalog we sometimes do not have enough time. We can print and bind art books domestically. It is a lot more expensive and in my opinion the quality is just not as good, but there are times that there is no other option.

Fine Art Book Printing- The Importance of Quality

In addition to answer # 1,  the printing of a short-run art book, the cost of materials is not the largest component in the overall budget, unlike hi-volume newspaper inserts, for instance, where a few pennies per pound makes a large difference. The extra cost to get the best is not that much because we do not use that much paper in the first place. A premium coated, acid-free paper will allow for much sharper and richer printing. We use very high quality fabrics and boards for the covers that are made to resist warping. Our books really stand out for quality. I want to serve the kind of client who is looking for the best possible presentation of their art.

Fine Art Book Printing- Tips For First Art Book Publishers

It is interesting to note that 80% of our clients are FIRST-TIME art book publishers. To be published in a book is a highlight in an artist’s career. It may sound cliché, but I would want it to be fun. The journey is a huge learning curve. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Have realistic expectations. Allow yourself enough time to do it right. Understand the total budget. To help the process we produced two important publications. My book titled The Art of Producing an Art Book features different papers, fabrics and foil swatches. It shows how full color, hi-res print looks on different substrates. Using this book, you can make informed decisions on how to get the most value for an investment in a book or catalog. When a client is ready to move forward with a book project, we share a complimentary copy of this book. It has been a huge help, both for the client and for our staff. To prepare for the process and to stay on target and in budget, we have prepared a document titled Starting the Journey Together. From getting set up as a client, enter a contract, prepare text and images and so much more. We try to cover as many variables as possible.

Fine Art Book Printing- Lets Do Business!

Our website, ArtBookPrinting.com is the best place to start. My personal contact information is right there. I personally work with all new clients to assure their project is off to the best start. I then build the team of designers, production and logistics experts, and others around the needs of the individual. Each artist’s journey is special and different from the next. Fine Art Book Printing Quotes are Free. Click here to get started.

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