Vistaprint is focused on providing personalized paper products for small businesses, and it is a popular site for business cards. However, its photo books, cards, and calendars tend to be less than exciting, and the software is designed more for quick work than for personalization or creativity. In our testing, while the calendar contains good quality photos, the photos on our card and calendar were only average or below average.
In addition, the production quality of the three projects was disappointing. The bottom line is that Vistaprint’s book and calendar prices are similar to Printique and Mixbook, which have much more flexible and creative software and produce much higher quality printed products. Cards from Vistaprint are less expensive than Printique and Mixbook, but if budget over personalization and quality is your determining factor, then check out Costco’s bargain prices instead.
Vistaprint Reviews: Pricing
Vistaprint Photo Books
A 24-page 11 x 8.5-inch hardcover book on VistaPrint costs $ 30. You have to pay an extra $ 5 if you want photos on the cover; otherwise, your cover will be black or gray. The only books Vistaprint offers are hardback books ranging from $ 13.00 for a 5.5 x 4 inch book to $ 50.00 for a 12 x 12 inch book. The additional cost for a photo cover ranges from $ 3.50 to $ 5.00, and glossy pages cost an additional $ 2.00 to $ 5.00, both depending on the size of the book.
An 8.5 x 11 inch wall calendar with a black and white date grid costs $ 24.99, which increases to $ 26.98 if you want your date grid to have some color. Vistaprint offers calendar discounts when you purchase more than one. For example, five 8.5 x 11 inch calendars with a color grid cost $ 25.60 each, and 10 cost $ 23.69 each. Vistaprint offers two other calendar formats. A 6.5 x 8.5 inch mini costs 12.99 with a b & w grid or $ 14.98 with a colored grid. An 11.5 x 14.5 inch calendar costs $ 44.99 with a b & w grid or $ 46.98 with a color grid.
Vistaprint Photo Cards
Vistaprint cards are priced on a sliding scale based on volume and vary based on your choice of card stock. The price of 10 4.6 x 7.2 inch cards on standard media is $ 1.45 each. 50 cards cost $ 1.35 each and 100 cards cost $ 1.28 each. At the lowest volume (10 cards), upgrading to Premium Matte, Linen or Premium Glossy costs 16 cents more. All cards include blank envelopes; printing your return address on them costs 46 cents each.
Vistaprint Notice: Software
Vistaprint software options and functionality are limited.
Vistaprint does not offer book templates. Instead, you have the option of starting with a blank book or having its software automatically lay out your images in a book, while its algorithms eliminate duplicates and blurry images. Book creation software is flexible, but its options are limited. Incidentally, the interface of the book would not open for me on Windows under Chrome or on Apple under Safari; it worked fine with Firefox.
The optional book layout library is varied, but not very large, but it’s easy to add, delete, move, resize, and rotate photos, text, and clip art. More problematic is the fact that when I tried to sort the photos (new to old or old to new) it didn’t work. This would make it difficult to find a specific image if you have uploaded many photos for the book.
The lack of a search engine for book page backgrounds, frames, and clip art isn’t much of a problem, as the libraries are much smaller than those in Printique, Mixbook, or Shutterfly. On the other hand, they are generally well organized into logical categories. The selection of backgrounds available for the book cover is limited to 29 solid colors; However, the interior page backgrounds include a nice but not overly generous selection of attractive graphics, textures, and photorealistic images. One of the best features of the book software is the variety of shapes and cutout masks, which include fun edge effects and gradient masks (so a photo can be blended into the page). On the other hand, clipart images are very limited to unsophisticated, often juvenile graphics, and decorative frames are only available in a few colors that cannot be changed. Entering text is straightforward, at defined font increments rather than a size slider, but more importantly, the book’s interface only offers a handful of font colors, and the spacing between them. lines is sometimes unattractive. The photo retouching consists only of a self-improvement and two filters (b & w or sepia). The software does not have drop shadows or decorative text.
The calendar software is much more limited than that of the book. It doesn’t have any photo editing tools, background options, clip art, masks, or cutout shapes. The layouts are limited and not editable, so I couldn’t move, resize, or rotate the photo placeholders. The selection of a design option changes monthly to match the new design pattern. This meant I couldn’t select a filler page photo for one month and a background around the photo for another month. I also couldn’t choose from the background colors / patterns available in the selected template month by month.
When I dragged and dropped a photo into the placeholder on a calendar, the image was initially scaled to fit the space, often resulting in a funny house-like distortion. . I had to click on the image, select the crop, and then change the crop area to remove the distortion. Text that is part of a layout design is permanently affixed to the page. While you can add captions to photo pages in the calendar, you won’t have a choice of location, font, or style. When creating an event on a date, you cannot add a photo, although they have cartoonish icons like a birthday cake or a heart. If you want the event icon to show in color rather than grayscale, you have to pay an additional $ 1.99.
Although limited, Vistaprint’s card software is more flexible and versatile than the restrictive card interfaces from Shutterfly or Costco. In fact, two key features of Vistaprint’s card interface are better than its own book or calendar software. Colors can be chosen not only from a small number of samples, but also from a full 24-bit color wheel and can be denoted by CMYK values.
While the photo editing tools are certainly not as robust as those in Mixbook or Printique, Vistaprint’s card interface has sliders for adjusting a photo’s color, saturation, and brightness. As in Vistaprint book software, photos and text on the card can be moved, resized, cropped, added, and deleted, but unlike the book, placeholders cannot be rotated. In contrast, the map software has no alternate backgrounds beyond solid colors, and no clipart other than a handful of shapes (arrow, rectangle, oval, and star). But you can add a board and a QR code.
Vistaprint Notice: Print Quality
Vistaprint Photo Book
The Vistaprint physical book was better quality than Costco’s, but that’s the best we can say. The Shutterfly, Mixbook and Printique books were significantly superior. Vistaprint’s book cover was laminated, with the feel of many bubbles being captured below the surface, possibly due to uneven sizing. As soon as we opened the book, we noticed that the binding was already starting to crack with stitches clearly exposed on the front and back on the inside, and to some extent on the internal pages.
The photos were generally bright and vivid. However, the interior photos tended to be yellowish, and the midtones weren’t as rich as those in Printique or Mixbook. In addition, a number of photos on the cover and inside pages were overexposed. Still, the photos were crisp and clear, and the guy was clean and well trained.
The rich and lush colors of the Vistaprint calendar were comparable to those of the Printic calendar and were well balanced between light and dark skin tones, which were pleasantly warm. The exposure was also similar to that of Printique, with good detail throughout the dynamic range, but did not have the same density of darkness as the photos in Printique.
However, the images were blurry, which is noticeable with the naked eye. The characters were generally well formed, but some letters had messy margins on close inspection. Medium-grade paper looked cheap, but weighed well.
Vistaprint Photo Cards
The photos on the Vistaprint card had an unappealing yellow-orange tint. While the midtones and highlights were detailed and the shadows were blocky.
The focus was sharp. The police were well trained, although on very close inspection they showed a few drops of ink. The card stock, which isn’t as thick as cards from Mixbook or Printique, had a smooth finish similar to Costco’s.
Vistaprint Notice: Verdict
Vistaprint’s book and calendar price is similar to that of Mixbook and Printique, but Vistaprint’s end products fall short of their quality. While Vistaprint’s cards are cheaper than these two favorites, the software and printed cards are disappointing. We recommend that you bypass Vistaprint and use Printique or Mixbook for flexible, creative, and better software. If budget is the determining factor over personalization or quality, go with Costco.