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let’s talk printers

    Once you begin designing your own invitations, stationery, artwork, you kinda want to be able to print it. There are times when having items printed professionally is ideal, but sometimes, you don’t really want to drive to the closest printer to have six invitations to your son’s party made. You just want to print from home.

    And so, as a designer – whether professional or not – a printer is a good thing to have.

    I am often asked what printer I use and where I keep it so today we’ll chat about such things.


    Here’s the thing about my printer: it is huge. I don’t want it on my desk taking up space. It’s fine looking, but I don’t particularly want to look at it while working. But, I use it often (printing proofs to check color, small batches of stationery and invitations, blank sheet music for my little musician and doc mcstuffins coloring pages to keep tiny hands occupied) and so it needs to be accessible.

    Therefore, the printer lives on the floor (big no-no, I’m sure) under my desk. It gets dusty. It’s probably not the ideal location for a nice printer, but it works for me.

    So let’s talk about this printer.

    canon-printerWhen choosing a printer there were a few features that were very important to me. First, it needed to take heavy card stock without issue. I like to print on at least 100lb paper for most projects and this printer does that well.  Second, it needed to print colors as true as possible and since this printer takes 8 ink cartridges, the color output is really nice. Third, I liked the option for larger than standard prints and this one can go up to 13 x 19 inches (although, truth be told, I’ve never printed this large so maybe that feature isn’t really that important after all).

    This particular printer is on the pricier side at $375 for just regular at-home-printer use, but if you are looking for high quality and one that will hold up for years, it is a great fit. Similar photo printers run as high as $900, so this one doesn’t seem quite so steep when comparing.

    There are a million different options for good printers and choosing one just depends on what you are looking for and what price point you want to stay within. Here is a helpful list of the top five photo inkjet printers, and another great list of best sellers on Amazon.

    (In case you’re wondering, all of the art prints sold in my shop are professionally printed with a laser printer. We use a small local company who does excellent work and quick turnaround.)

    23 thoughts on “let’s talk printers”

    1. Hi Emily… I bought this printer a few years ago and still love it, but need a second one. Since there are newer ones out, have you tried them and have a recommendation, or should I just stick to the Pro 9000 and look for a “new” one online?

    2. Hi! Do you still have this printer? I am looking for one to spint stationery and invitations and the. Lexmark Pro one that I had for six years just died. Do you have one that you recommend? I looked for that model and it’s not sold anymore? Thanks!

    3. Question: do you have this hard wired to your desktop? Or did you figure a way to set it up wireless? I couldn’t see any wires coming down from your desk.

    4. Thank you for the post on this printer! I just bought it… And it prints pictures and colors beautifully!
      I’m not crazy about how it prints fonts. Did you like how fonts printed when you were doing invitations? It was recommended by other invitation designers so I’m assuming I might be being over critical.

      1. It took me a while to get the color output just right. Be sure to check which paper type you have selected – this makes a huge difference in quality and color!

    5. Any designer out there will tell you to go Cannon or Epson, and go big! I’ve only run Epsons, and I’ve been very happy with the output. I run an oversized Epson, and I’m curious…how does your Cannon handle envelopes (A7, 4bar, and oversized socials) in color? I offer digital calligraphy, and I often have to outsource the printing if we’re running in color. My machine tends to leave ink smudges unless I use black only. I’d love your input. Thanks!

      1. I never have a problem with my ink leaking on envelopes, and it does fine with square flap envelopes, but mine HATES euro flaps!

        1. Which printer do you run? I have called Epson support, and they can’t really troubleshoot it because it’s not always a problem (of course it works fine after an hour on the phone with them). But I can’t run the risk with customer stock, because it’s just too costly to replace a ton of Savoy envelopes. I appreciate any insight. Also, the envelope and flap style don’t seem to affect the outcome in any color. Thanks!

    6. Hi! I’m a new commenter here : ) – with a question about the cartridges. If you don’t use a printer more than maybe 1 print a week, with going several weeks in between… would the cartridges run dry or stop working? I had a printer in college that seemed like it needed to be used daily to be in working order; but perhaps they’ve come a long ways since then.

      I am loving being a newer subscriber to your blog and feel like I need to say a big THANK you for showing us these last few tips. I don’t even have these programs, but I sure think these tips would be useful if I did (hopefully will soon.). Have a nice Wednesday night!

    7. As a fellow graphic designer, I love the Canon series of printers. I bought a Canon Pixma iX6520 and I’m anxious to print my greeting cards and such with it. Thanks for the professional insight into your world. Some are not as eager to share their secrets/tips. :)

      1. I did! It used to hang in audrey’s room with the two little gowns pinned to it. Just foam core wrapped in linen popped into an old frame. Not a true pin board, but works great!

    8. A tip — you can check Craigslist for these printers new in the box.

      Years ago Canon had some sort of camera/printer promotion. I think you could get a full rebate on the printer if you bought it with a Canon camera. As a result eBay and Craigslist were flooded with these printers.

    9. Thank you so much for this post. I have been looking at printers lately and not sure what to get. This is great help! I love all your work and information.

      I was also wondering what type of paper you use and where do you get it?

    10. I didn’t realize you had this printer until after I purchased mine — I got it from B&H Printers and they had a $200 rebate at the time (about 3 years ago)!

      Another perk of this printer is that you can print full bleed! I’ve printed 5×7 with a full bleed before and had absolutely no problem with it not running to the edges. I’ve printed thousands of invitations, thousands of notecards and COUNTLESS other projects on this printer! I love buying my ink from staples and recycling the cartridges. My rewards card is also full!

      I’ve been using InDesign/Illustrator for years, and am so glad you taught me the tip of Select>Same Fill Color! I used it last night to save me a headache!

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