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I usually post coding problems in here, but apparently there is also a tag for printing. So here it goes:

I need to print very details designs for a family business. However, the prints results I'm getting with the Epson 475L are not what I'm looking for.

Which better printer do you recommend for a small Stickers Business?

In most cases, I'll be just receiving the designs. It could be in PNG, JPG or Photoshop Files, Illustrator Files, PDF, etc.

How to work with color profiles in those cases?

Budget $2,000

For example:

I need to print this, and it has a "halo" on the top corner of the hexagon.

But my printer does not recognize this and prints a very flat hexagon.

Original Design:

Source: rstudio PNG

rstudio SVG

enter image description here

Prints from EPSON 475L:

enter image description here

enter image description here

BONUS:

I'd like to ask also about color matching. As my eyes can see the colors are the same of what I see in screen and what I get printed.

  • It is very common for people who made their logo for RGB only to later realize that the color of your logo is way out of gamut for most printers. This is why competent graphic designers design logos for print First. In cases this was not done you may be out of luck. – joojaa Apr 25 at 6:11
  • 99.99% of all end-use consumer level printers are not designed to maintain very minute detail. If you want to stick to the $200-$300 range you will not find a better printer regarding detail. if you want higher quality prints, you need to start looking in the $1200-$1500 price range. – Scott Apr 25 at 6:27
  • @Scott please see update. Budget not more than $2000. – user137385 Apr 25 at 12:27
  • @joojaa I'll be recieving the designs in JPG or PNG (sometimes in Photoshop or Illustrator files). So, I'll have to redisign them before printing? – user137385 Apr 25 at 12:28
  • @user137385 No you should use the cmyk versions if you have them, and have a proper printer – joojaa Apr 25 at 14:37
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All facts are already said in comments by long time members. But see the next screenshot. Do not believe the blue color, because there's too many format conversions between our screens. But believe the grey. It's made by Photoshop, when I asked it to show print proof colors and warn me if there's unprintable colors (=out of gamut warning).

enter image description here

I assumed your image was sRGB like normally RGB images are. Then I tried different CMYK printing color profiles. Photoshop calculated what is printable as is and greyed the rest. Even the finest quality CMYK print couldn't produce your bright and colorful blue. An experienced designer obviously could see it even without proofing, if he has reliable screen.

Epson doesn't give color profiles (see NOTE1) for its low cost printers, so the result is unknown before printing. You have found it. The printer tries its best to make as bright and colorful blue as it can. The result happens to be the same in the halo area and near it.

Most computer users do not understand CMYK printing. MS Office does not know the existence of CMYK. Epson and other low cost printer makers do not waste their time and money to serve those who have CMYK and color profile aware software and in addition understand it. Low cost printers present themselves to the computer like they could print with RGB as well as sRGB screens show images.

What to do: make the halo stronger ie. weaken the blue in the halo area at least until CMYK printing onto coated paper can make it in proof mode. You can also try to reduce general color saturation. I guess the minimum needed reduction with Image > Adjustments > Hue&Saturation is between 25% and 60%. Also increasing brightness would whiten it because there already is as much blue as possible. There's an actual fixing attempt later in this text.

If you haven't Photoshop nor other CMYK printing aware program, you can estimate from my screenshot where the CMYK printable blue colors exist in your image.

NOTE1: it's different for their premium priced printers. This is a part of their downloads page for one. You get color profiles for numerous papers and other printing materials:

enter image description here

In this site we do not make purchase recommendations. But do not take one which hasn't color profile, if you want more than you have. In professional graphic software you can even without the printer check the printability, if you have installed the color profile to the software. With well calibrated screen also the CMYK printing result can be acceptably estimated. Many of us do it daily without having newspaper nor magazine printing machines.

Color profile does not increase printable color range (=the gamut). To make it wider you can use photo printing paper and a printer which spreads ink with higher resolution, uses more inks or has different coloring principle.

A correction attempt for the current printer

I do not try to force the wanted original bright blue to be printed. I try to fix the colors to printable range and to make the halo visible. This is in Photoshop. I run legacy software and my Potoshop resembles acceptably modern versions.

At first I made new color profile settings for this job. I took sRGB for RGB images and Euroscale uncoated v2 for CMYK images. I guess it hasn't remarkably wider color range than your printer. I ordered automatic color conversion offering when one opens an image or changes the mode between RGB and CMYK. See the dialog:

enter image description here

As ordered, opening your PNG pops up this dialog (=accepted): enter image description here

The image, of course, looks out same as the one you inserted to the question - high chroma ultramarine blue appearance. But going to proof mode with gamut warning and proof setup = working CMYK shows that it's not printable:

enter image description here

Going to Image > Mode > CMYK opens a dialog (as ordered) which offers to convert the image to the used CMYK color profile. I accept it:

enter image description here

The result is quite far from the high chroma ultramarine blue. The image is now CMYK image and hopefully it's in printable range.

The halo is nearly invisible. It needs some boosting. I made a selection (=ellipse, tweaked to place with select > Transform Selection, outside areas are subtracted from the selection with the Magic Wand)

I inserted a curves adjustment layer. It took the layer mask from the selection automatically:

enter image description here

I lifted the brightness a little to make the edges of the halo more visible (the curve in CMYK mode is inverted). To fade the lift in the middle I painted to the layer mask (select its icon) black with a low opacity and low hardness brush:

enter image description here

It's a good idea to recall the selection before painting with Select > Reselect because you may want to paint also white after you painted black too much. The selection prevents expanding the affected area.

Now it's the time to save the image as PSD for further edits.

You must merge the adjustment layer and the image layer before converting to RGB, because CMYK color adjustments are meaningless in RGB mode.

Goto Image > Mode > RGB and save the image as renamed PNG. It shouldn't change visually, because sRGB shows everything that Euroscale uncoated can print.

If you try again Proof color with working CMYK and Gamut Warning, the image should change very little from the RGB appearance.

Make a test print. Let the printer to do all color management in the printing dialog, because there's no applicable printer color profile for Photoshop. I did a test print with Epson WF-4535, which also is internally CMYK printer but shows as RGB printer. The result was as shown.

NOTE: my screenshots can have low quality due numerous color conversions. This is the fixed and saved PNG: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mhe5v7ap9swacgl/RStudio_fixed.png?dl=0

  • ty. I do have photoshop. and If I understand correctly I can get a decent result manipulating the image in this software. I do also have Illustrator. May you post how one can do that in one of those softwares? I'd posted the original source of the image in PNG or SVG format. – user137385 Apr 25 at 12:33
  • Also, I don't need to use EPSON, I could be any other brand. – user137385 Apr 25 at 12:41
  • About manipulating the image: You can change the colors to printable range, you cannot force your printer to print unprintable colors. Ok? I'll show the fix later. I am in a hurry next 6 hours. – user287001 Apr 25 at 13:25
  • @user137385 it's ready – user287001 Apr 25 at 23:06
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Do not think of this answer as a rude comment, on the contrary, it is a "pro" advice for your family business.

Do not make your labels "cheap".

If you print your labels one by one on any printer, they are easily falsifiable. Anyone can take an inkjet printer and make a couple of labels.

And one funny thing, the cheaper you make them, you pay more for each one. One "cheap" label will cost you, let's say, 50c, and one printed the right way will cost you 5c.

Let me show you a graph:

enter image description here

Digital print (red) is cheaper because it does not have initial costs, so one label cost you the price of... one label. (I am not considering even the cost of the printer itself)

But a more robust printing process (green), like sheeted offset, have initial costs related, plates, preparing the machine, etc. But in a decent production amount, it becomes cheaper than the other method. This is around 200 pieces (depending on the size, number of colors, etc.)


But OF COURSE!, you need to plan ahead... every aspect of a business needs to be planned. So make one template with the different sizes and models of labels so you can have a production of let's say 500-1000 sheets, and you have for the same price all the sizes and models of labels you need for the rest of the season.


If you want a real business, invest in your brand. That is what a "label" means. Literally, a "label" where people can see if it is original or a cheap copy.

P.S. It will cost a lot less than 2,000! It will cost you around 300ish bucks, and you can add Varnishes, hot stamping, exotic papers, or some more stuff, to make a label "more expensive" if someone wants to make one or two, but cheaper because you are making more than 200... because it is your family business.

This label can be printed using two spot inks, which in fact will help you lower the costs, and at the same time making them harder to falsify.


P.S.2. See one example on how you are struggling with a technical problem that will give you no added value to your brand... how to adjust something in Ps so you do not see artifacts caused by the printer itself, not by the PNG or SVG file format...

  • thank you. I would like to produce something as stickermule. They say: No, we inkjet print our stickers in high resolution (1440 PPI). After printing, we apply a matte laminate to ensure optimal durability. We only use premium laminates that have an extra strength UV blocker so that the print will withstand exposure to intense sunlight, wind and rain. Which printer would you recomend? – user137385 Apr 26 at 14:52
  • when you say "digital print" and that it has no initial cost, are you talking about contracting a third party bussiness to print the stickers for us? – user137385 Apr 26 at 21:27
  • Yes, on top of that you could add the cost of a printer, but still, a digital print has that linear progression, probably smoother, but the paper and inks are not cheap. – Rafael Apr 26 at 22:26

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