UPDATE: If you join the free PERC forum at www.perconline.org/forum you will receive a coupon code for $50 off any Canvas on Demand product, plus other useful freebies as well.
I’m glad that you could join us. Today we’re visiting Canvas on Demand, the Raleigh-based company that provides affordable, world-class Giclée prints of nearly any size to amateurs and professionals alike. Even with its global customer base, the company is not all about dollars and cents. Displaying its humane side, Canvas on Demand has programs that support non-profit fundraisers and help bring families together – wherever they may be.
CoD began in 2003 when two Art.com alumni, Joe Schmidt and Tom Lotrecchiano, founded Canvas on Demand to bring top quality canvas prints and the ultimate in customer service to anyone and everyone.
After a great deal of success stimulating demand for quality canvas to amateurs and everyday consumers, Canvas on Demand turned their collective attention to better support their customer base of professional photographers. Since 2005, when the company developed increased offerings and paid even more scrupulous attention to color management, Canvas on Demand has seen great growth supplying professional photographers with their canvas prints. (Watch their site closely, as the professional section will be re-launched shortly with a whole new look. Designed for professional photographers, artists and interior decorators, the new look promises to be very user friendly. CoD will still be offering a free 16×20 print for first time customers, or an $84 credit toward any item.)
Originally using Epson printers, CoD switched to the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 printers to take advantage of superior inks and native resolution. Coupled with daily calibration of printers and monitors, CoD is able to accurately reproduce images that meet the exacting standards of the National Geographic magazine. (Good enough for me and my customers, I have to say.)
Providing complete service in-house, CoD can produce canvas prints from 8” X 8” to a whopping 50” X 120” (that’s ten feet long and over four feet high!) Unlike other providers, there is no penalty for custom sizes as they produce their own frames on-site.
Speaking of frames, CoD provides three different gallery wrap depths for all of their products, three-quarter inch, one and one-half inch, and two and one-half inch, meaning that customers have more choices to make their images more impactful. The canvas they use is the most popular style, a tight, smooth weave that lets you know the print is on canvas without interfering with enjoyment of the actual image.
Completing their self-sufficiency, their facility has more than ample room to allow proper drying and inspection of prints, stretching of prints across the frame, and spraying with a protective satin finish.
Tom Lotrecchiano, who took the time to give me a tour of their facility, had this to say about the highly competitive canvas print market, “(Professional print) Labs make canvas more mainstream, thereby validating our product and service. Lab loyalty is fine, but Canvas on Demand offers innovation, quick turnaround, great pricing and the best customer service in the industry. Those are the reasons behind our continued success and growth.”
Let’s follow a print through their process to learn just how well they take care of their product and their customers. Once a print arrives via their upload service (or on CD or DVD via regular mail), trained operators perform a physical inspection (image review) of the submitted print prior to putting the job in the print queue. Particular attention is paid to aspect ratio, cropping, alignment and anything that the customer may have missed.
For example, a professional photographer friend of mine places a thin border around all of his images. It is part of his branding. The thin line, in his corporate color, is meant to make each of his canvases look as if they are museum pieces. It is critical that the border be placed in exactly the right spot, in relation to the image and the gallery wrap depth. If he happens to make a mistake in that regards, CoD operators will make the fix for him as they know what he wants from past experience. This great customer service makes the overall process flow much faster, and the customer gets the expected results the first time. Likewise they will fix apparent errors for other customers. (If they are unsure of something, CoD staff will contact the customer before printing and even advise them on difficult file preparation and printing issues.)
The next step is a color check and verification that the Adobe RGB color space has been attached to the file. From there the image is printed and inspected. Once dry, print inspection covers canvas imperfections (it happens rarely, but it does happen), color and tonality (in monochrome images). Prints are automatically redone if they do not meet their high standards.
Good prints are then sprayed in a multi-step process that locks in the color (or tonality) and protects the Giclée print. First prints are dusted with air to remove stray particles. Then a tack coat, followed by a heavier finish coat, is applied. Prints are then hung to dry a second time, for up to 5 hours in some cases.
Once dry the canvases are stretched and stapled to frames made from poplar. Then they are packed and shipped via FedEx. Over a certain size, prints are packed in custom wood crates to ensure safe arrival.
Nothing here is rushed. All stages of the work are done in a practiced, professional manner, always a key to happy customers.
PROMOTIONS AND WEBSITE GOODIES
Canvas on Demand offers specials on a regular basis to registered users, so it behooves you to sign up even if you are not a current customer. I am confident that they will send you an offer you cannot refuse.
On an altruistic note, CoD offers non-profits a $100 gift certificate that they can auction off to raise funds. There are also two completely free programs that are meant to give back to deployed service men and women, Hi Mom! and Hi Honey! Both programs are very well received. By accessing a special area of the website, our sailors, soldiers and airmen can send a photo on canvas and a heat-felt note to their moms for Mother’s Day or their honeys for their anniversaries.
There are other programs too, for a more general audience. Canvas Crazies lets you snag a kit with special offer coupons, a tee shirt and more. Just tell the folks at CoD why you are canvas crazed and wait for your package to arrive.
Finally, illustrating that the site can also be fun, Joe’s mom has a blog where people can place comments, and there is a customer showcase where people can display their images and others can learn from them or just enjoy the view.
Best of all, there is a 100% no questions money back guarantee on all their work. So, for quality service, great printing and affordability, you have to try Canvas on Demand.
toll-free phone: 1-800-801-6312
hours of operation: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST, Monday through Friday
customer service email: firstname.lastname@example.org
sister sites: www.greatBIGcanvas.com