So, this might be awkward…
by lauren | Jul 10th, 2014 | Leave a comment

So, the time has come to move your labels to a new printer.  You like your current supplier, but you found someone new (maybe us!) who can print better meet your needs.  Whether it is a turnaround time issue, a quality issue or a pricing issue, you want to move on.  There is just one catch…your old printer has all your artwork (insert music of dread here).

There are a few ways to handle getting your files.  First, you have to establish that you actually own the files.  Sounds crazy, I mean, who would want your custom artwork?  But if your printer designed your labels they may actually own the artwork, especially if they designed them at no charge.  If you provided the bulk of the artwork and the printer made some changes, edits, etc., then there should be no ownership question over the artwork.

Before approaching the printer, it is good to double check that nothing they have sent you, whether it be proofs or some other form of your artwork is useable.  There is a chance the proofs you received are print-ready art files.

If you don’t have anything the new printer can use, then it is time for a “it’s not you, it’s me” talk.  The first thing to do is simply ask for the files.  A lot of printers will just send them without question.  This is the best outcome of what could be an awkward situation.

However, if your printer isn’t so thrilled to just send along the files, then it is time for an honest conversation.  Explain your reasons for moving your work somewhere else, even if you just want to try another printer.  This is a competitive business, and most printers won’t want to burn a bridge.  It might be an uncomfortable situation, but not as uncomfortable as continuing to work with someone who may not be the right fit for your labels.

The best way to avoid this awkward conversation is make sure you always have a copy of  your most up to date files.  If your printer is working on your files, ask them to send you the final versions, especially if you are on good terms.  Aside from giving you the freedom to change printers, it also protects your artwork.  What if your printer has a system crash and loses the artwork or they go out of business?  Having your artwork on file doesn’t only protect your labels, but also can completely save you from having to ask them when things aren’t going so well.


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