Operating hours, walk-ins, appointments and schedules
Imagefoundry operates as a workshop/boutique/consultancy, not as a retail outlet. At times everyone is busy or in a meeting, or working on location – so it’s impossible to accommodate walk-ins – although we do try. Please be considerate. We much prefer booking an appointment ahead of time for all activities outside of simple drop-offs or pick-ups. And, while on this subject – booking a 12PM appointment and showing up at 2PM, for example, is pretty disruptive. Thank you very much for your understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Please plan ahead. Certain materials – oversized mounting substrates, frame mouldings, inks, some papers and chemicals – have to be ordered in, as we do not stock rarely-requested items. Delivery times on some materials can be as long as 2-4 weeks – as is the case with Platinum/Palladium printing supplies and papers.
Typical turnaround times and dealing with rush orders
It’s good to keep in mind that at any given time we have about 3-4 weeks of work ahead of us (unless it’s right after the holidays). So whatever new work is coming in through the door has to be fitted in with already existing commitments and deadlines. Sometimes it might feel unfair that we can’t put your project in front of everyone’s else; just as it feels unfair to bump other people down the queue to accommodate your special circumstances. It’s also a fact that our long-term customers and supporters do get preferential treatment, in terms of scheduling and accommodation – but this does not mean that we take any shortcuts when working with new clients. We always try to make things work but it’s important to remember that we are not a retail operation – we work on art projects that often can not be rushed, and expanding our production capacity is more complex than hiring a bunch more people to move boxes from a warehouse to shelves. So, please be patient. That said, here are typical lead times for various types of activity we do here:
Fine art scans can be usually done in one business day (depending on quantity, obviously).
Film scans take 2-3 days to complete (most of the time is actually spent on clean-up and dustbusting).
A simple print project, on a paper that we always have in stock, can be turned around in one-two business days (again depending on quantities). If we need to order some specific stock for your print project it might take from 2-3 days (getting it from local distributors) to 2-3 weeks (having it shipped from abroad). Please plan ahead!
On average, a custom reproduction project – ie. scanning original artwork, paper selection, color corrections and proofing, followed by crafting a final print – takes about 1.5-2 weeks to complete; sometimes longer for complex images that require a lot of deliberations, meetings with the artist and so on. It is possible to rush through a project but in my experience quality is the first thing that goes out of the window when timelines are too compressed.
Rush projects, especially projects that require getting materials and supplies in an expedited manner, do cost us more, and this is going to be reflected in your final bill. But there’s also a fact that most “rush” projects are rush simply because someone, somewhere could not be bothered to deal with their deadlines in a rational fashion. In a way, by taking on rush jobs and putting them in front of our work queue, we are punishing clients who did not procrastinate, clients who did do everything right, and now they have to face delays through no fault of their own. This would never sit right with me, and so the 50% rush order markup is there partially to discourage this type of situations from happening in the first place.
Online transfers and our data retention policy
Yes you can send us your print images online! Presently we are using Wetransfer.com as a preferred solution – these guys are free and generally quite reliable and let you send up to 2 gigabytes in a single go. There’s also Hightail (formerly known as Yousendit), Google Drive, Box.net and Dropbox. All of these solutions work and we can deal with them without issues. Transfer on!
As far as data storage goes, our policy is simple: we store everything and delete nothing. This makes re-orders easy and gives our customers some piece of mind with regards to data security.
If the customers’ data that we store is not being accessed for a certain period of time (typically 6 months cadence) we start migrating it to progressively slower storage platforms, until eventually it gets written out onto a tape or a bluray disc. So past certain point getting your data back becomes a bit of a hassle, and starts costing us money.
Therefore our present data policy is as follows: we do store your images for free, indefinitely – but if you need us to access your stuff that is older than two calendar years, we will charge you $50.00 as an archive retrieval fee.
We obviously follow Canadian copyright law carefully: we would not, under any circumstances, make unauthorized copies of copyrighted artwork.
It’s a bit more complex than that, though. Certain uses of copyrighted work are perfectly legal, and – not being lawyers – the best we can do is to ask you to sign a waiver acknowledging that you, the client, are fully responsible for following the law. Should you like us to research your particular situation we would be happy to refer you to an expert. Legal fees might apply, depending on the complexity of the issue.
Best practices for preparing your images for printing (more of a theory angle here)
Although traditionally 300dpi resolution is considered to be a baseline for print imaging, this is somewhat outdated information in 2021 and should be considered a lower margin if you are after exceptional prints. A modern high-end inkjet machine can easily deliver 50%-100% more of discernible detail – which is a major advantage when attempting to reproduce images with important, tiny features – such as etchings, fine ink drawings, watercolors, or even some oils and pastels.
So if you are after a supremely detailed print, aim for 450-500dpi of resolution at size. It’s harder to see improvements past that point, but if you are absolutely, positively in need of maximum perceived detail, consider setting up your files to printers’ native resolutions, which are 600dpi or 720dpi, depending on a brand. This is particularly important if your artwork contains text.
And, obviously – the above does not mean that you should just open your image in Photoshop and upsample it to 600dpi: you’d actually have to capture your image at that resolution.
Next important subject is bit depth. Vast majority of images you interact with online are full color, 24bit images – that’s combined Red, Green and Blue – so each individual color channel is represented with 8bit, or 256 distinct shades per channel. Within RGB context this blends together into 256 * 256 * 256 = approx. 16.7million of distinct colors possible, which seems like a lot and is generally sufficient for a vast majority of print projects. Except the very dark images. Or the very light. Or the images that have looooong transitions of a same basic hue, like the skies. Or the photos that had been exposed incorrectly but you would still like to use them, and so on. 8bit workflow starts to fall apart in these edge cases, and it might make sense to switch to 16bit/channel. The files are going to be twice the size but if you are determined to avoid compromising on print quality, 16bit worklfow is the way to go.
So far we covered resolution and bit depth, and the remaining pillar of high-fidelity printing is color gamut. As of 2021, the most appropriate color space for making gorgeous prints is AdobeRGB1998 – it just happens to match the maximum color gamut of modern pigment inks the best. Of course, you can still continue using sRGB – just be aware that high-end machines are capable of printing colors that are far outside of range that sRGB specification can contain, so you might be missing out on vividness (if that is your goal). The color spaces with gamut wider than AdobeRGB are perfectly fine too – just remember to maintain a 16bit/channel workflow through out the entire project.
About CMYK color. Working with process color has many advantages, discussing most of them would be quite outside of the scope of this quick write-up; so I’ll be brief: these advantages do not translate well to high-fidelity inkjet printing. So, don’t do it.
Of course if your artwork is prepared for a print publication, and you’ve been using CMYK color right from the start – that is totally fine, and we can handle your images properly. But if the goal is to maximize color fidelity, consider sticking with RGB. LAB color is fine too, just remember to stick with 16bit/color, just as with B&W images.
A quick guide to efficient communications
Over the years I have seen countless episodes of what can be affectionately called a “failure to communicate”. This section is an attempt to lay down some basic guidelines for getting in touch with us in the least frustrating manner possible. And so without further ado:
– if you send texts to our office phone number – please start with stating who you are 🙂
– on an average day we receive around 75-100 email messages. Sometimes it’ll be hours before I can read and reply to yours – so please make your message as readable and as to the point as possible. And, oh – please don’t be one of these people who send 5-6 emails one after another…. it tends to induce a complete email paralysis on my part.
– please do not use email to communicate time-sensitive information, for example: “I’ll stop by in 15 minutes to pick up my print”. You might end up being disappointed, as I might not even get to your email in 15 minutes – I usually try to sit down and deal with incoming email once an hour, on an hour. It’s best to call with things like that.
– If you need to convey some important numerical information – for example: sizes, dimensions, quantities, etc. – we would much prefer to have you email us rather than doing the dictation bit over the phone. Sending credit card info over the email is not a great idea either, use Signal app for that instead.
– we generally do not read incoming email outside of working hours. Thus emailing on Sunday and asking for something to be ready by 10am on Monday… let’s just say this might not work out as you expected. My personal favorite is a midnight email stating something like: “I’ll pick up my print at 10 am tomorrow (we open at 10am)”. No you won’t lol.
– please remember that shipping information MUST include the phone number and a postal code of the person/company you want us to ship to. One would think this is obvious, but clearly not to everyone.
– Fedex usually picks up between 2 and 3 pm on weekdays. Anything later than that means that your package would be shipped next day. Fedex Ground specifically always picks up next day.
– there’s a small but significant category of people that seem to believe that haggling or making unreasonable demands is a productive conversational gambit. Here’s an example:
– “Hi, I don’t have an appointment but I need to get this painting scanned asap, can you do it for this afternoon?”
– *visible disappointment followed by annoyance: “I thought this was a professional place!”
In conclusion, I just want to say this: every project has a certain “fatigue” point, the point after which it is increasingly difficult to continue to care. One can reach that fatigue point by doing useful, forward-looking things – like making corrections and proofs, having productive meetings, and so on. Or one can get there by slogging through a sea of inane email and phone conversations, mutually-exclusive revisions, “changes of mind”, requests for further quotes and re-quotes, and things of that nature.
No matter what, you can always be assured that we will do our utmost. But being a good communicator can make everything a much more rewarding experience.
The importance of being happy
If you are making a living (or thinking of making a living) by creating/selling art you already know how hard it is to close a sale. Imagefoundry’s raison de vivre is to give you, the artist, that extra edge with our expertise and our total excellence of execution.
However – mistakes do happen. They happened before and, unfortunately, would probably happen again. Sometimes it’s because of compressed schedules, or stress; sometimes because of some shenanigans with suppliers, sometimes just bad luck (like that time when a fly got into a studio and crapped on a finished artwork ready to be framed – true story). But never because we just don’t care!
So the worst thing that you, the customer, could do – is just go away, quietly disappointed. Please, don’t! Speak up, make your concerns known and we would do our best to un-fubar your project. Really.
Bottom line is – we would absolutely not stop, like the Terminator, until you are completely satisfied with the results (or dead?… sorry, just can’t stop cracking silly jokes today).