Successful Color Lab Collaboration

Working with a professional color lab like FinerWorks is an essential step for an artist or photographer looking to turn their visions into high-quality prints. Working with a reliable and skilled print shop can greatly enhance the value and presentation of your prints, ensuring they reach their full potential.

To make the most out of this collaboration, it’s important to be informed and prepared. In this post, I will explore the key considerations and valuable tips for anyone looking to establish a successful partnership with their print shop whether it is FinerWorks or even if using one of our competitors.

Researching and Selecting the Right Print Shop

Understand your needs: Before approaching print shops, have a clear understanding of your printing requirements, such as print sizes, formats, and desired print techniques.

  1. Print Sizes: Consider the desired sizes for your art prints. Think about whether you want standard sizes, such as 8×10 inches or 16×20 inches, or if you have specific dimensions in mind. Keep in mind that larger prints may require higher-resolution files to maintain optimal image quality.
  2. Print Formats: Decide on the print format that best suits your artwork and its intended presentation. Common print formats include flat prints, where the artwork is printed on a single sheet of paper, and gallery-wrapped canvas prints, where the artwork is stretched and wrapped around a wooden frame. Other options may include art prints on metal, acrylic, or other materials we offer.
  3. Desired Print Techniques: Explore different print techniques and decide which ones align with your artistic style and vision. Some popular techniques include:
  • Giclée Printing: This high-quality inkjet printing method produces fine art prints with exceptional color accuracy and archival properties.
  • Screen Printing: Ideal for vibrant and bold designs, screen printing involves pressing ink through a mesh screen onto the print surface.
  • Digital Printing: Widely used for its versatility and cost-effectiveness, digital printing involves transferring digital artwork directly onto the print surface using specialized printers.
  • Letterpress: A traditional printing technique that uses relief printing to create textured and visually appealing prints.
  • Risograph: A unique printing process that combines elements of screen printing and photocopying, resulting in distinctive and colorful prints.

Understanding the different print techniques will help you determine the best approach to reproduce your artwork while capturing its unique qualities.

By having a clear understanding of your printing needs, you can confidently approach a color lab and discuss your requirements in detail. This clarity will help you know if the print shop can meet your expectations. Additionally, knowing your needs upfront will enable you to compare different print shops and choose the one that offers the expertise and capabilities that align with your goals.

Seek Recommendations

Ask fellow artists, photographers, or artistic communities you are active in for recommendations on reliable color labs that specialize in printing high-end prints. When you do a search online for printing companies that specialize in fine art printing, you might become overwhelmed with options. This is where talking with others can be a tremendous help. They will be able to tell you directly about their experience, what was expected of them to ensure the best quality print possible as well as understanding if the color lab is even capable of meeting your requirements.

While FinerWorks does invest in sound marketing and advertising methods to attract new artists to our services, it is usually those that are referred by their peers who seem less hesitant and more confident in the services we provide. Having confidence in your printer is important and alleviates some of the stress of choosing the right printer.

Evaluate Print Quality

Request print samples or visit the print shop if possible to assess the quality of their work and ensure it aligns with your artistic vision. At FinerWorks, we offer sample kits that help with this but often times this is not enough.

Usually, we recommend people get the samples we offer to help them make some choices. But when it comes to actually printing their work, this is where more than stock samples need to be evaluated. Stock samples are great since they really show the potential of the printer but these images are usually very high resolution and carefully selected to impress the person viewing them.

An actual sample of your work does not have to be large and expensive but big enough to help determine if the print quality and color are what you are hoping for. And if it is not, then the color lab should be willing to discuss things to help make the print output the way you want.

Maintain Open Lines of Communication

Regularly communicate with the color lab throughout the process to address any questions, concerns, or changes that may arise. Establish a collaborative partnership where feedback is welcomed and exchanged.

Remember, open communication is a two-way street. Actively listen to the lab’s expertise and recommendations while expressing your own preferences and expectations. A collaborative and transparent approach will foster a stronger partnership, resulting in prints that accurately represent your artwork and meet your expectations. As an example, one person approached us in person about printing her cards because she was not happy with the results she got from another lab. She thought they lacked the vibrancy she needed. She had been ordering giclee prints from us and was very happy with them so she assumed the cards would look just as good if we printed them for her as well.

Before she did, we had to be honest so we let her know that what she was expecting from a card type of print (essentially a digital laser print) was not going to come close to reaching the level of color as her fine art prints.


Collaborating with a print shop can significantly elevate the presentation and marketability of your artwork. By conducting thorough research, establishing effective communication, clarifying expectations, and implementing quality control measures, you can forge a successful partnership with a print shop that brings your artistic vision to life. Remember, choosing the right print shop is an investment in the future of your art, and a well-executed collaboration can enhance your artistic journey and broaden your reach as an artist.

Order HD Face Mounted Acrylic Prints

Printed on high quality photo paper and face mounted to 1/4″ acrylic with polished edges. Choose between satin luster or metallic photo paper. Included is easy to install hanging hardware in the form of a French cleat.

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