How to Access Sample Services – Even if You Don’t Have a Rep

I recently asked a group of designers if they ever felt like their comps looked better than the final results. The comments are ongoing, with reasons ranging from unrealistic expectations to lackluster production, but one point keeps coming up – it’s about the relationship designers have with their suppliers. After working with creatives for a while now, I know this to be true but am baffled by the number of suppliers who don’t understand the concept. So many reps fail to do one critical thing – do what you say you’re going to do. So often designers will meet with a rep initially, listen to their pitch, actually like what they see/hear enough to engage with them when they have an appropriate project, only to be let down when it comes time to the rep actually providing the service they need. It gets even worse if the designer is a freelancer. Whether that thing is a quote, suggest options, or provide sample services, there is no relationship without trust. 

What designers/creatives may not understand is the reason behind the lack of response – it has nothing to do with them personally, it has to do with the industry, or rather how the reps in the industry are compensated. Most are incented based on profitability, so reps go where the money is and that usually means big quantities/expensive projects.

If you work at a large end-user or agency I’m sure you are not lacking for reps calling on you,but if you’re with a smaller studio or a freelancer  you probably find yourself out in the cold more often than not. That’s why I started Parse & Parcel – so ALL creatives, regardless of size, location or client roster can have access to the same resources and sample services.


Inside The Sample Studio, creatives can order paper samples, envelopes samples, mock ups and swatchbooks. Choose from sample packs of your favorite plain paper samples in two standard sizes 8.5 x 11 or 12.5 x 19, as well as envelope samples in standard stock sizes. We’re strictly samples, so our quantities are limited to 50 sheets of any one sample item but if you’re looking for larger quantities we can help connect you to the right resource. When it comes to dummies we’ve got you covered there too. We’ll mock-up dummies based on your specs and with different bindery options, all you need to do is fill out the online form with the details. And if you have a question, just email us – we’ll help guide you in the right direction, it’s all part of our sample services.

We’re working on adding new things to The Sample Studio all the time. In fact we’ve got a major resource coming soon that’ll save you tons of time with your paper specifications, and we’ll be giving it away to sample studio VIP members. Sign up is free but only available for a limited time, and only to those on our list – so sign up while you can!

1 thought on “How to Access Sample Services – Even if You Don’t Have a Rep”

  1. Hi Jill,

    I wanted to respond to your post from the perspective of the print sales rep.

    I work for a small-medium sized commercial printing company. Our equipment mix is suited to smaller formats and/or shorter runs. I will guess that 30% or more of our work comes from smaller studios and freelancers. You are spot-on when you say that reps will go where the money is. But we will also happily service a sure thing, even if the billable figure is low. That is why it is important for freelancers and small studios to recognize the importance of building a relationship with a rep. If you work with a rep to develop final specs, asking for paper, print and finishing options on multiple quantities over multiple days or weeks, you completely devalue the rep when you turn around and ask another shop to bid. This rep will be less likely to help in the future.

    If I know this job is coming my way, and the next one, and the one after that, I will bend over backwards to help us both succeed. So a word of advice, when asking a rep to provide advice, samples, etc., remember how he makes his living. If you are transparent and respectful, I guarantee you will be taken care of.

    And, at risk of stating the obvious, it is important to work with shops whose equipment matches your project. If your job is in their sweet spot, you’ll get attention. If they think it’s a long shot, they will spend their time elsewhere.

    The Sample Studio is a great resource as well and it’s vendor neutral!




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