I’m totally baffled by the print process, do you have any tips for starting out? E.g where to get prints made of your work etc, what kind of paper to print on and photoshopping necessities etc? - Rose
To be honest I am not an expert when it comes to printing, I never trained as a graphic designer so was never taught the details of it, but to some extent this doesn't matter, there are many experts happy to help out. When it comes to printing it is important to have an opinion, and to have standards, anyone can print from a home printer these days so it is important to ask yourself what you want out of a print. For me quality is of utmost importance and the quality is reflected in the pricing of my prints. I want my prints to last, resist colour fading, be true to the original file (as far as colour etc goes), and to be on a paper stock that compliments the work.
When starting out you need to shop around, google who is in your area and go and do some test prints. These are often free, or low cost and are a great way to test out printer quality without investing in a full print. Ask about their paper stock - I use Hahnemuhle acid free, cotton based archival paper, and my prints are Giclee prints. There are many beautiful papers around to choose from so it really just comes down to your requirements, texture preferences, and price point. It is important to also ask your printer how they want the file supplied (RGB, CMYK, specific colour profiles etc) as many printers are specific, but some printers are happy to convert files for you, so it's really about communication.
When I first looked for printers there were many that couldn't even get a black to be black, there was a lot of trial and error involved and I found it to be quite frustrating. I now use Kinetic Digital in Wellington NZ, and have worked with them for around seven years. It is important to build a relationship as it saves a lot of time if a printer knows your look and colour preferences, they also develop a sense of pride in their printing and have an invested interest if you are a long term client.
If you are in Melbourne I have also heard many great things about Lantern Printing, many of my friends use them and they always do beautiful work, they seem to be the go to for Melbourne artists.
Hope that helps!