Reviews: Designer Print
Designer Print is a UK-based photofinishing service that allows you to turn your favourite images into a work of art by having them printed onto canvas, block mounted, or made into a poster print. Using the latest digital printing technology Designer Print offers a large format printing service, creating canvas prints that will look stunning in your home or office. Or so they claim! I ordered a Stretched Canvas product from the Designer Print website, choosing a recent sunrise shot of the view from my balcony as the photo to be printed. With a Stretched Canvas, the image is printed directly onto a 340gsm matte canvas and then stretched over a handmade 5cm thick frame. Epson pigment based inks are used, guaranteeing that your picture will to remain have a lifespan of over 75 years. The print is then heat-sealed for protection against scratches and splashes. The service that Designer Print provides is aimed at home and business customers and they can make canvas prints up to a massive 80 x 40 inches in size! I opted for a smaller 30 x 20 canvas. Find out what I thought of Designer Print's service and the final product in this brief review.
I decided to order a 75 x 50cm Stretched Canvas with a "gallery wrap" effect, meaning that my image would be printed around the sides of the frame. This cost £115 inclusive of VAT and fittings, plus £10 postage costs.
The first thing to do is choose a photo, which isn't actually as easy as it sounds. Designer Print offer the following advice for choosing an appropriate photo for a canvas print:
"Make sure the subject of your photo is clear and will fit the canvas size you've chosen. If you have your photo gallery-wrapped some of your photo will be printed around the frame. As our frames are 2" x 2" (5cm x 5cm) thick it means that 5cm of your image on all four sides won't be visible head on."
With this in mind, I chose a recent photo of the view from my balcony at sunrise, which didn't have any important elements at the edges. Having chosen a photo, the next stage was to prepare and upload it onto the Designer Print website. You can upload either JPG, BMP, EPS or TIF files with no limit on the file size directly onto the Designer Print server, or you can send them via email. Designer Print recommends that you ensure that the photo is between 150 dpi to 300 dpi. Alternatively if your photo is a print rather than a digital file, there is an option to send it in the post and have it scanned by Designer Print. I chose to email my image and didn't encounter any problems in sending it. I also received a notification email to let me know that the image had arrived successfully.
Delivery was also quick and easy - it took Designer Print 7 days to prepare my canvas print and a couple of days for it to be delivered via courier. It arrived very securely wrapped in bubble-wrap and wasn't damaged in any way by the courier process.
The canvas print itself is very impressive, with colours that are true to the original photograph, especially in the sky and clouds. The shadow areas in the foreground have blocked up a little, however, and don't contain quite as much detail as a print of the same image from my Epson Stylus Photo 2100 printer. There is a quality finish to the print and the framing and excellent attention to the finishing of the rear of the picture. The 5cm deep frame adds a depth to the image that you don't get with a standard print, because if you look at it from the side, the impression of depth is created by the canvas being stretched around and behind the frame. The coated canvas surface also adds a "painterly" feel to the image, which suited my moody sunrise shot very well. All in all, high marks for presentation and finish.
(out of 5 stars)
It can be difficult to choose one company from the next when it comes photofinishing services, and when the product costs over £100 picking the wrong one could prove costly. Designer Print definitely falls into the "quality" end of the market. From start to finish the whole experience was very straight-forward, with an easy to use website and online ordering service, and quick and efficient processing of the order and delivery. Designer Print also offer a full refund if you are not happy with the final print, for added peace of mind. I'm so impressed with my canvas print that I've teamed up with Designer Print to offer you their full product range via the PhotographyBLOG Shop.