Bumblejax Vs Whitewall Acrylic Prints
Why Choose Bumblejax Over Whitewall For Your Acrylic Prints?
Whitewall is a quality print lab out of Germany (recently bought out by the largest print company in the UK) that has a pretty good reputation and has been around for several years. We have even referred customers to them in certain situations where we felt the shipping costs would be far more reasonable (for example, customers in Europe/Australia). That said, we have a lot of customers that come to us asking why they should go with us vs Whitewall. There are so many options out there and it can be tough to find the right fit for what you need so we thought we'd write up a comparison post to help explain some of the differences and why we feel our acrylic prints are a better option in many cases.
Here is a quick look at a comparison between Whitewall acrylic prints and our acrylic prints. We'll go into each one in detail below to give you a better idea of which company is the best choice for you, but often times the best way to find the best fit is to place a small order with each and see which experience you like the best (we hope it's us!). We do have a nice first order discount for all customers and periodic sales as well for our newsletter subscribers.
|Superior Face Mount Method?|
|Edge Finish||YES (diamond polished)||YES (cnc routed)|
|Fast Wire Hanging?||YES||NO|
|Made In House?|
|Made In USA?||NO (Germany)|
|Production Time||4-8 business days||?|
|Rush Orders?||Yes (15-25% extra)||NO|
|Drop Ship/White Label||Yes (no extra charge)||Yes, but no white label.|
|Image Optimization||Included In Price||Included In Price (limited)|
|Color Profiles Accepted||sRGB, Adobe 1998, ProPhoto||only sRGB|
|Intelligent Order Configuration?||NO|
|Prompt & Expert Support||?|
|Product Price||Depends on size and discounting.|
|1st Order Discount?||20% or 50% (resellers)||NO|
|Shipping Price||10% of product price *||Flat Rate|
|Reviews||4.9 (2000+)||3.9 (200+)|
While Whitewall also offers the superior face mounted acrylic print with a dibond backer, there are some differences that may matter to some customers. If you know very little about acrylic prints and how they are made we'd highly suggest having a look at our acrylic prints buyers guide because there are many ways (often times cheap) to make these with an increasing number of companies using the direct to acrylic print method and outsourcing to China and India. Whitewall does appear to produce only acrylic face mounted prints and with high quality materials in house, but with some differences which we'll discuss in more detail below.
Custom Sizes. We can do any custom size down to the 1/4" all the way up to a massive 96x48". Whitewall also offers any custom size as well which varies according to the thickness. They can do sizes up to 72x48" - 114x70". We can do any odd size and our configuration system automates the process of determining max size, the aspect ratio and the dimension of the other side to maintain the full image without cropping. It's a truly intelligent order system not found anywhere else online.
Custom Options. Since we're a smaller print lab we can work directly with the customer and our suppliers to come up with custom solutions. We have everything from our acrylic designer series product with colored acrylic backing to the Trulife premium acrylic to thick 1/2" acrylic (1" blocks too!) as well as stand off bolt hanging and anti-glare acrylic. You can see more details on all our custom acrylic options here. Whitewall also offers a nice array of custom options for you to choose from. Here are the details on each option:
- Thickness: Bumblejax (1/8", 1/4", 1/2" and 1" blocks), Whitewall (1/16", 1/8", 1/4", 1" blocks)
- Acrylic Type: Bumblejax (standard, Trulife, anti-glare), Whitewall (standard and matte)
- Edge Finish: Bumblejax (routed/sanded or diamond polished), Whitewall (only cnc routed/polished)
- Hanging: Bumblejax (wire, cleat, standoff bolts), Whitewall (cleat, hook, standoff bolts)
Superior Face Mount Method. We use a process similar to the European diasec method (called face mounting) where your photo is printed to professional photo paper and adhered to the acrylic using an optically clear adhesive which provides the greatest vibrancy, color accuracy, and permanence. Whitewall uses the Diasec process and adheres with silicone. Both processes provide optimal quality and clarity. You look through the acrylic at your photo which is backed by dibond for protection and rigidity. Acrylic has unique properties in that light refracts within the acrylic instead of simply passing through as it does with glass. That gives it its amazing vibrancy.
Quality Backer. A dibond backing material adhered to the print using a pH neutral adhesive protects the print and keeps the acrylic rigid over time since it can have a tendency to bow particularly at larger sizes. Both companies provide the superior dibond backer. Some companies save on cost by using a sintra backer but it's not as good as the dibond in keeping the acrylic from bowing over time.
Edge Finish. We provide you the option of two acrylic edge finishes. Included in the price is a routed/sanded edge that is more opaque. As an upgrade we offer diamond polished edges for a 100% smooth and clear see through edge. This is recommended on our 1/4" acrylic, and required on our 1/2" and 1" acrylic for a beautiful 3D effect. It's not really necessary on the thinner 1/8" acrylic since you don't have a prominent edge. Whitewall appears to offer some sort of CNC machine finishing on the edge which is far faster, but doesn't quite produce the same level of clarity that hand diamond polished edges produce. We run every print by hand through our diamond polisher machine and often times more than once to get a perfect edge. In an age where products are continuing to be made faster and cheaper, we still prefer to to keep it old school here Bumblejax if it means a better result.
Framing Option? We get asked about traditional framing from time to time, but unfortunately offer no framing solutions. We're focused 100% frameless, floating photo mounts. If you want your acrylic prints framed or need traditional framing Whitewall definitely has some nice options.
Fast Wire Hanging. Unique to Bumblejax, we offer a quick, no tools required hanging system and even include the hook for you. A few seconds and you're done. Most companies including Whitewall provide only the french cleat or standoff bolt hanging system which require a fair amount more work. We do provide both these options as well but most people opt for our wood/wire hanging system for sizes 40x30" and below. For larger sizes the french cleat or standoff bolt hanging options are required.
Made In-House? Bumblejax produces everything in-house right down to the cutting of the acrylic which provides for better quality control and the ability to offer more custom solutions and sizes. Whitewall appears to produce everything in house as well at their location in Germany.
Made In USA? We produce all of our work in our shop in Seattle, WA by skilled craftsmen that have been with us for years. Whitewall produces quality products in Germany, but with longer shipping distances and customs clearance it's possible products could be delayed. Some of our customers definitely prefer supporting a USA business as well and we greatly appreciate that.
Production Time. Our production times for face mounted acrylic prints are on the fast end of the industry for a specialty photo lab. Our production time is generally 4-8 business days depending on the size, quantity and type of prints ordered. In 10 years in business, we have never missed a deadline or had a print late for Christmas (unless it was an issue on the end of the shipper which is extremely rare). It's a bold claim, but true! Our production times are also just about guaranteed and if a customer needs us to push it out a day or two faster we almost always accommodate them at no extra charge particularly if they are a repeat customer.
Some of our competitors are closer to 10 business days and sometimes even longer during busy times. While there is no information at Whitewall regarding production times we believe they are around the same amount of time (4-8 business days) so fairly quick on their turnaround. We recommend contacting their support team if you have a critical deadline to receive your acrylic prints.
Rush Orders. We are the only company in the industry (as far we know) offering an affordable rush charge of 15-25% which gets your print out in 2-3 business days. Typically if rush charges are offered at all (it's very rare for acrylic prints) the rush price ranges between 50-100%. We also have expedited shipping options to speed it up on that end as well. Many of our customers have critical deadlines whether that be for a photography show, a birthday, Christmas, etc so we understand the need for flexible options for rushing orders out. Whitewall does not offer any kind of rush production or expedited shipping options that we're aware of.
Drop Shipping/Rebranding. We both offer drop shipping by simply adding your separate shipping address at checkout. Whitewall ships all products branded with invoicing (to clear customs) which isn't ideal for resellers. Our shipments never include branding by default. We can also go the extra mile for you and add in a note, a COA, add a label to the back of the print, blind drop ship (shipping label shows as package coming from you, etc. at no extra charge. Just give us a shout.
Image Optimization. One area where we really stand out from the crowd is our pre-print process (see more details on our free photo optimization service here). We take the time to manually review every order that comes in and make improvements that would obviously help based on our years of experience. This is not a "push button one size fits all" auto improvement that many companies call "optimizing". Unique adjustments are made if necessary to every file that comes in whether it be sharpening, denoising, lightening, etc. If we see something out of place or notice lens flares we'll even contact you to discuss. We're almost certain large photo labs like Whitewall can't possible provide this level of service, but it's a good question to ask. Call them up and see what will be provided and how the process works. It does look like they have an option on their website to auto brighten the image. From Whitewall: WhiteWall only adjusts your image file if you want us to. You can find this option in the shopping cart under “Automatic Image Optimization.” When it is selected, we will run an automatic brightness and contrast optimization tailored to your particular image. Monitor displays are often very bright, meaning photo prints can often appear darker or less colorful in comparison. At your request, we will automatically adjust for this. We recommend activating this option if you have not already made your own adjustments for printing or exposure.
Intelligent Order Configuration? We've been building and refining our customer upload and order configuration system for nearly a decade now. With automatic detection of photo quality and size ratio along with the ability to order any custom size, it's one of the best and easiest to use in the industry... as long as you're not using an Internet Explorer browser (in which case it may or may not work!) It has been tested thoroughly in FireFox, Chrome and Safari and mobile optimized as well. Whitewall does offer a pretty good robust only order system with the ability to choose a custom size and several different options, but doesn't determine photo quality, best size, etc.
Prompt & Expert Support? If you want to place an order with us you'll receive fast support from experts who know print inside and out and can review your photo with you in real time over live chat or phone (email if you prefer). Our support agents have been with the company since day 1. We'll even make small edits and adjustments at no charge to make sure your photo print is the best it can be. For large orders, you will almost always work with the same person throughout for continuity. We have no knowledge of how good Whitewall support is but in larger companies it can be more difficult to get expert support each and every time. We suggest reading all the reviews to get a sense of how good their support is. Whitewall is based in Germany, but they have USA hours. We offer Live Chat support while Whitewall does not. Many of our customers find this a very useful and quick way to receive support along with a full transcript of what was discussed.
Product Price. Price really depends on the product and discounts available. We have a first order discount of 20% or 50% (up to $200 off) depending on whether you're a reseller or not. We also have a permanent discount of 10-17% depending on the amount of business you have done with us and whether you're a reseller or not. We can also go higher for larger single orders. It's not clear what kind of discounting Whitewall provides. They don't have any kind of first order discount, but do have loyalty discounting which I assume increases the more business you do with them. Generally speaking our product pricing is very comparable to Whitewall.
Shipping Price. Our pricing is very similar for up to 40x30" in size. We charge 10% of the product price and it jumps up quickly from there. We don't do free shipping per se like some labs but with our loyalty discounting most repeat customers have at least free shipping. We spend a lot of time carefully packaging every order, insure the package and send out an immediate replacement if something goes wrong. You don't even need to send the print back to us. Whitewall appears to offer very affordable flat rate shipping even for large sizes, just keep in mind delivery to the USA will take longer with possible customs and import duty charges. There are no expedited shipping options to the USA that we're aware of. For time sensitive projects Whitewall may not be the best choice since times can vary considerably. Since we are shipping from the USA we have a variety of shipping options and while we can't guarantee that your art will arrive on a particular day, can be nearly certain it will (we'd estimate that 95% of packages arrive on the day it's supposed to).
Reviews. This is a big one and should be one of the most important factors when deciding on a print lab to create your prints. We have been really focused on customer feedback for a long time time and many of our product and website improvements have come as a result of customer feedback. It also provides a great way for others to get a sense of how we do business. We're proud of our nearly 5 star rating across over 2000 reviews (Ekomi, Facebook, Google, Trustpilot and Yelp) from customers who have placed an order with us. It's tops in the industry and we're planning to stay there 🙂 You can see all our reviews here.
While Whitewall is a much larger company, for some reason there aren't as many reviews online. There are roughly 350 reviews across Facebook and Trustpilot with a total average score of 3.9. The larger the company, the more difficult it is to maintain a top score. The important thing is that the company makes it right immediately if something goes wrong. Read through all the reviews and see if they are responding to complaints and making the customer happy.
Hopefully, this report has provided you with the necessary details to understand the differences between us and Whitewall and make an informed decision. We hope to have the opportunity to make you an acrylic print one day!
Note: If you're a customer or representative of Whitewall and feel any information in this article isn't accurate please contact us right away and we'll make an update.
PS. Be sure to check out our first order discount promos at the bottom left of the page.