Lulu = Fail
Lulu makes a great calender. I’ve had calenders printed by Cafepress, Zazzle and Lulu. I’ve found Lulu has the best quality. Certainly Lulu is also the most expensive but I am willing to pay more if I receive more. Lulu has the best quality . . . except when they screw up. Which they do. Often.
Lulu also has the worst help section of their website. The worst user interface. The worst customer support. The worst quality control. It’s damn discouraging. And it’s costly.
I’ve moved to Lightroom 3.2 as my main software for processing photos and now I’ve got to figure out how to use Lightroom to create image files for my calender. I put together a series of photos to upload and use as a test case. Lulu managed to totally screw things up.
When I received my calender it wasn’t my calender. It was someone else’s calender. Yup, they shipped the wrong item to me. Nice work Lulu.
I contacted Lulu customer support and reported the problem. They gave me the option of a refund or a reprint. I chose to have the calender reprinted as I still wanted the calender. Duh.
The reprint arrived and they screwed that up as well.
When cutting the pages for the calender the cut was made too far to the left. Every page has a white line on the left side. On top of that as best I can tell my images were not centred for the printing but were instead aligned on the left. I sent an email asking for clarification on the specifics of image sizing and resolution for a calender.
All of my images have a black boarder around them. The boarder is the
same width on all 4 sides. Yet in the printed version the images are
off centre and the boarder is clearly not symmetrical.
This problem is not evident in the PDF for the project. Nor in the
online process of building the calendar.
How exactly do you layout and print the images. Is there a bleed? Are
they centred and stretched to fit?
What is the exact size and resolution I should size my files at for
This information has proven to be not easy to find in your help section
and I finally gave up.
My images are 300dpi. The cover image is 13.5 x 18.9 and the monthly
page images are 13.5 x 9.45. Given the actual dimensions of your
calendar at 13.5 x 19 and 13.5 x 9.5 I would expect a better printing job
I even sent them photos. They request photos when a product is “defective”.
Here is the excuse for a response that I received.
Thank you for your message and I apologize for the inconvenience surrounding your latest order. We add an extra .25″ to each dimension of the calendar. Because the borders in the images are the length of these bleed edges, there is a very high possibility that the borders can be cut off. This is partially portrayed in the Studio by dashed lines bordering each page. Thank you for your patience and I apologize for any inconvenience.
Notice how none of my questions are really answered. Not directly at least. There is no mention of the exact file specifications (resolution and dimensions) which are optimal. The borders were not cut off. One of the boarders was cut off. Had all the boarders been cut off equally then the product would at least suck less. Instead they kept one boarder and added some white space outside of it while cropping off the other boarder entirely.
Go to lulu.com and try searching their help section for file size and resolution information. I did. I couldn’t find it. Most printing on demand websites make this type of information very easy to find. Not Lulu. In fact when I go to upload my files to create the calender that would be a really useful place to present that information to me. Apparently Lulu does not value usability. Or customers.
Oh . . . but Lulu does indeed “apologize for any inconvenience”. I feel better already.
I’m really torn. The calenders from Lulu, when they don’t screw them up, are top quality. But they screw up so often. This is not my first encounter with failure when ordering from Lulu. I keep going back for more. Question is when will I find a printer with equal quality who screws up less.