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Printing gone wrong -who's responsibility?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Silky, Dec 18, 2010.

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  1. Silky

    Silky UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,170 210
    I'm really hoping someone can help shed light on this.

    We've recently had a vehicle wrap on a van and the results differ quite significantly from the original artwork - a vivid grass green colour has turned out quite a muddy dark green and as this covers a large percentage of the van it affects the overall impact.

    We're now in a discussion with the wrap company on this, and who's responsible for the results differing so much.

    • We were asked for artwork, which our designer provided in PSD format. No mention was made by the wrap company of how the artwork should be provided, or indeed any other guidelines.
    • We asked the wrap company for a minor amend to the font, they did so and provided us with their file for approval. The colours look vivid and a true representation of the original artwork.
    • The van has been wrapped in a print that is a completely different shade from both the original artwork and the jpeg file the wrap company sent us for approval.

    The wrap company (or their printer) is now saying that we "didn't provide the right artwork" and the artwork was in RGB which is why the colour is wrong...or we should have provided colour chips. None of this was mentioned at any time during the process, at no stage were we asked for anything other than "artwork" and at no stage were we warned the results would be different from the design.

    We're really, really disappointed with the results especially as this is something we will be driving around for 3-5 years. Is it fair to push for this to be corrected? Had the wrap company asked for additional information we'd have provided everything needed to reach the correct result - unfortunately they didn't.

    All input gratefully received.

    Thanks for reading!


    Whoops - just noticed a typo in the title, it should of course read WHOSE responsibility not who's.....
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
    Posted: Dec 18, 2010 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  2. chalkie99

    chalkie99 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    844 255
    I would say the wrap company should have asked you for CMYK artwork as it will have been printed on a CMYK printer.

    Ideally they should have sent a physical print sample to you for approval if there was any doubt on colour as if you have only seen the colours on your computer screen then they will quite possibly look very different to what the printers might see on their screen - very few people bother to calibrate their monitors and they all render colours differently.

    You say no other guidelines were given - not even resolution?

    As a matter of interest can you say what vehicle it is and what the cost was?

    (PM if you don't want to publicise it).

    I ask as there are so many people piling into this trade now, many rushing in with little experience, that the right questions are not being asked, wrong materials used, etc., and it is dragging down the trade image. (imho).
    Posted: Dec 18, 2010 By: chalkie99 Member since: Nov 14, 2008
  3. LicensedToTrade

    LicensedToTrade UKBF Legend Free Member

    6,330 2,143
    Cue SirEarl.................
    Posted: Dec 18, 2010 By: LicensedToTrade Member since: Nov 7, 2009
  4. Silky

    Silky UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,170 210
    Thanks Chalkie. The vehicle is a VW Campervan (T25) and it cost just over £2k with 3M material on a couple of the windows and the high top covered. We chose the wrap company because they seemed professional .

    No guidelines were given at all on the artwork - no resolution specified, no other details. They're now (after the event) saying I should have provided colour chips.....erm, if that's the case why didn't they tell me? Would it be ok for them to give me a pink van instead of a green van and blame us for it?

    When we raised the issue on the colour, the Wrap owner picked this up with his printer - obviously acknowledging the difference. He's now simply quoting what the printer's quoting to get out of this. In essence as he / they are the experts I'd really have thought it was down to them to ask for the correct files if they couldn't use the ones provided or there'd be any issue . They're the experts, I'm simply a customer.

    While I understand monitor colours will differ, our artwork (and the file the wrap company sent us for approval) look just as vivid on our office pc's, an iPad and two laptops hint of muddy grass in sight.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
    Posted: Dec 18, 2010 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  5. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

    8,100 1,702
    I would say that they should have specified what they needed, especially in such a big job but on the other hand you could also have asked them what was needed. When we had bags printed we had to sign a separate sheet of paper confirming the pantone number because we were told that printed colours come out differently to those on screen.

    But on the other hand, shouldn't your designer also have known in which format to provide the artwork? I have had some artwork done recently and it was automatically given to me in 4 different formats, one for each purpose. What does your designer say about it? It is possible that it is his fault too.

    What a nightmare, you must have been utterly despondent when you saw the result. This is going to be very tricky to unravel unfortunately as there is no clear cut answer.
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
  6. saxondale

    saxondale Banned

    3,742 612

    yes thats RGB, same thing happened to us.

    To be fair if I was spending 2K (our van was less than 1/4 of that BTW) I would be the one asking for samples as well as the print company.

    Ultimatly the issue is between you and the "wrap owner" and this thing happens far too often.
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: saxondale Member since: Jul 23, 2008
  7. chalkie99

    chalkie99 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    844 255
    I think, with the benefit of hindsight, you could have asked a few more questions and, no doubt, you will in the future.

    The problem with designers is that they often want to design something they are pleased with visually without actually querying what it is going to be used for and what the requirements for that use actually are.

    On the other hand, two wrongs don't make a right and the wrap company should have realised the problem and not gone ahead.

    There are various things which can cause different colour renditions here.

    RGB is going to be a major one when the printer is going to be using CMYK (or CMYK,LC,LM) but, also, the print file will have been produced from a RIP (Raster Image Processing) program. Different software, and the settings within it, will produce different interpretations of colour, as will different printers and ink types. Even different vinyls will have some variations, etc, etc,.

    The only safe way to do this is for the printer to produce a small scale sample of the actual ripped file using the intended vinyl and inks, print settings and so on in order that you can physically check it. For a 2k job that should not be a problem.

    I would definitely be rejecting the job as the wrap company should have been on the case.
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: chalkie99 Member since: Nov 14, 2008
  8. akirk

    akirk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,224 576
    Not sure you will be able to reject it...
    - you contracted them to print your file
    - they printed it
    - you got your file on vinyl

    if you don't insist on a colour matched / colour profiled / colour proofed process then this will happen...

    we run closed colour loops when required - from calibrated monitors (and insisting that the client views on our monitors!) to calibrated prrofing printer here to a calibrated proofing printer at the printers to the calibrated final print...

    it is a far more expensive process, and a more complex one - the printers we use for very accurate colour have a specialist process to export from inDesign to PDF using their printer profiles, they give us a calibrated proof (and guarantee to match it) and then they use print machines which auto calibrate every xxx sheets of print...

    ultimately if you don't request a calibrated process / don't specify colour profiles this can happen... CMYK is a very small colour profile and therefore on receiving an sRGB / aRGB98 file the colours will be remapped - and CMYK has particular difficulty with brighter colours, esp. in the green / red / orange ranges

    from what you have said you arranged the printing so you will probably hold liability - had you asked your designer to arrange it then they would have done - however you, (similar to the building industry) have pulled together the suppliers - designer for the artwork and wrap company for the product - it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that one provides in the format the other needs... yes you could argue that they should have been more specific but this is standard stuff within the design world, so quite a reasonable expectation that the artwork would come correctly formatted - virtually everything for commercial print is in CMYK.

    so lets look at responsibility:

    - designer was asked to produce the artwork - but you didn't specify CMYK - not his responsibility.
    - wrap company was given a file and asked to print it - they did and the print is no doubt a perfect match for the file given for that printing equipment - not their responsibility.

    the fact that you viewed it on monitors (which generally show a wider gamut) and saw what you wanted to see is irrelevant - totally different medium and not a logical equivalent - you need to proof on the material on which things will be printed - e.g. you could have asked for a 1:100 ratio reduction proof print on vinyl to confirm colours...

    as you took responsibility for co-ordinating the trades, ultimately the responsibility is yours... I appreciate that it is frustrating, however as with someone building a house who decides to project manage and gets the plasterers in before the roofing company - these things happen!

    it is why it makes sense to put these jobs fully in the hands of the professionals - had you instead told your designer please co-ordinate with the wrap company - then it would have been their responsibility - would have cost you no more, but would have sorted it out...

    N.B. this is based on what you have said happened - if in fact the designer did arrange directly with the wrap company then you are covered - reject it and let them sort out who is responsible...

    What I would suggest is that you accept this - see whether they will re-print / re-wrap at cost for you...

    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: akirk Member since: Jul 1, 2010
  9. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press UKBF Ace Full Member - Verified Business

    1,607 245
    Difficult one. We do not produce vehicle wraps, but I have been a volume buyer in the past and we design for vehicle graphics (I have three postgrad designers).

    I am stunned that your designer did not realise the file should have been supplied in CMYK - sounds rather new to the role or inexperienced.

    The supplier should have discussed Pantone colours with you (Pantone provides a common colour language). If you do not have a Pantone library, the supplier could have visited you to discuss / present (our screens are calibrated daily - most are not, but that said all of the comments previously regarding the mass of other variables plus RGB vs CMYK makes a calibrated screen a guide only).

    The solution would have been a wet proof (a real example using actual materials etc) as described before. Was this offered?

    I am curious - the wrap company are not the printers?
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: Minuteman Press Member since: Dec 8, 2007
  10. akirk

    akirk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,224 576
    Pantone - unlikely for a wrap I would have thought - the usual reason for a wrap v. normal vinyl is that it is a more photographic image (i.e. not solid colours) - therefore Pantone colours won't work...

    most companies offering wraps do not do the actual printing... many don't even do the actual wrapping ;) mind you - no different to our offering to do business cards for you - we will do the graphics / arrange the printing, but we don't print them ourselves...

    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: akirk Member since: Jul 1, 2010
  11. atmosbob

    atmosbob UKBF Ace Free Member

    4,464 1,053
    How were the screens you viewed the file on calibrated? Have you ever run a printed proof to match your screen?

    What type of RGB file was it? sRGB, aRGB or RGB with a different colour space?

    What are other colours like apart from the green?

    While it will not cover wraps AFAIR a good background to photo file repro can be seen at
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: atmosbob Member since: Oct 26, 2009
  12. neildigital

    neildigital UKBF Ace Full Member

    2,124 292
    Reading all the posts, I think we can all say there is part blame on all parties, the best conclusion I can see is talking to your provider, and coming to a compromise with regards the reprinting of the wrap.

    If the provider is worth his salt, he will discuss a solution/price to complete the job to everyone's agreement.

    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: neildigital Member since: Apr 30, 2007
  13. bjg123

    bjg123 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    218 29
    It doesn't really matter how the file viewed on your computer, when colours are automatically converted from RGB to CMYK for print the colours often dull.

    If you sent the files to them, without them specifying which colour mode it should be in, they have presumably checked it (and even made amends) yet still gone ahead with the print without warning you the file is in RGB. From a business point of view I'd say they're completely in the wrong, I wouldn't want to do business with a company like that for an order of 2k! From a legal point of view, I really don't know. They've printed the files you've supplied. It's just very unfortunate you didn't learn this lesson with a 50 quid order of flyers first. I'd hope they'd do a new wrap for you at a heavy discount though.
    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: bjg123 Member since: Apr 17, 2009
  14. akirk

    akirk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,224 576
    That is the issue - any competent designer / print company would have picked it up...
    but that doesn't mean that legally they hold responsibility...

    Posted: Dec 19, 2010 By: akirk Member since: Jul 1, 2010
  15. Silky

    Silky UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,170 210
    Does this mean they could happily have printed the grass pink / red / blue and bear no responsibility ? I think not - the customer's inexperience is no excuse for a [email protected] job.

    We actually contracted the wrap company (not the printers) to provide a wrap. We have had no interaction with the printer at all, we have contracted the wrap company as the alleged experts in this.

    We provide holidays. If we didn't inform our customers what information was required from them, they'd be turned away from the flights. Is it down to the customer to guess what info is needed? No - it's up to us to inform them of this. Would it be the customers' fault if they lost their holiday due to not guessing correctly what was needed? Of course it wouldn't.

    We're not experts in printing, we don't know about different RBG formats, nor should we have to - that's why we've given the job to someone who should know. Pantone colours would not apply as the wrap is photographic (a huge image of a meadow) with lots of different shades.

    The wrap company altered the artwork for us (changing the font) and sent us a file for approval - with the correct colours. No colour split, nothing else but a jpeg file which we approved. At no stage did they say that the green grass would be printed dull brown and why would a customer expect it to be different?

    Do designers and printers expect their customers all to be experts? What about those customers who aren't? Do they have to expect rubbish because they don't know their way around?

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  16. bjg123

    bjg123 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    218 29
    Does sound really off to me - we have full instructions on our website as to how files should be prepared, and offer a free file-checking service before ordering, because after an order has been placed we don't check the files, they are automatically sent straight to the press. Because of this, we do everything we can to ensure customers are made aware of how to prepare the files so they print correctly. We do occasionally have people place orders which are incorrect, but never when they've read our instructions or used our free file-checking service. If you're not checking files after orders are placed, it's best-practice to make this very clear to customers and to provide them with all the info they need to ensure their artwork is correct. Doesn't sound like that's the case here.
    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: bjg123 Member since: Apr 17, 2009
  17. Silky

    Silky UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,170 210
    I've no idea what kind of RGB file it is (sorry), I can open it on Photoshop and convert it to CMYK and the colours look the same...

    There is blue sky and white clouds that look fine, the yellow is a bit dull and I don't think there's enough yellow in the green, it's a very muddy colour. Some of the grass actually looks nearer to black than green.

    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  18. Silky

    Silky UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,170 210
    No wet proof was offered, I've only received a jpeg image for approval from the wrap company after they modified the font.

    The wrap company have contracted out the printing, something I wasn't aware of, their website quotes they have "fully trained and experienced staff who receive regular refreshers to ensure they are up to date with the all the latest developments in vehicle wrapping technology" They claim their "commitment to providing excellent customer service is unparalleled" and they have a studio fitted out to the highest spec to "allow us to facilitate the design, manufacture and application of all our products in-house" .

    There is no mention of outside contractors, nor is there any instruction on how the artwork is required.

    We're probably going to take legal advice on this, the wrap company have offered a small discount but when the wrap is to last for the next 3 years I'd rather have the job rectified.

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: Silky Member since: Oct 29, 2007
  19. Officebird

    Officebird UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,391 607
    Knowing nothing about printing and vehicle wraps I would have been in the same boat as you Silky and think that the wrap company are totally in the wrong here. If you sent them the file and the file was in the wrong format or the colours would print differently then they should have told you and asked for more info or a different file or what ever they needed. At the end of the day I see it that you sent them a picture of how you wanted it to look and they haven't delivered that to you. I really don't see how Silky is to blame here at all. Someone must have signed off the artwork with the printers, with the dull colours, and that must have been the wrap company so before doing so they should have informed silky that the colours were duller. I don't think you got what you paid for. Yes you could have asked for an example print or something but at the end of the day the wrap company had gained your trust and never once mentioned that the finished product would differ from the original artwork.
    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: Officebird Member since: Mar 14, 2008
  20. KernowQueen

    KernowQueen UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    428 85
    as already said, how can the customer be expected to be asking questions about a process they know nothing about?

    the onus has got to be on the provider to make sure all info from the customer is in the correct format, if it isn't, they should ask for it.

    hope you get something sorted Silky :)
    Posted: Dec 20, 2010 By: KernowQueen Member since: Oct 21, 2010
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