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Gear Reviews

Artisan State Develops $10 “Cobbler’s” Little Black Book Mini Album

By Tanya Goodall Smith on May 21st 2013

A popular saying “the cobbler’s children go unshod,” applies now more than ever, in our age of digital photography, to professional photographers and even many hobbyists. We just don’t print our family photos like we used to. Enter Artisan State, a San Fransisco based photo book company. Founded by five friends with a like minded passion for photography and design, Artisan State has been producing affordable, beautiful photo books since March 2012.

Driven by the desire to offer an easy and affordable photo book option for professionals to use for their own art and family photos, Artisan State announced the development of their Little Black Book earlier this month. Still in prototype phase, this little 5×7 inch book is filled with 20 pages of brilliant Silver Halide prints, lays completely flat and is flush mounted. Best of all, this hand made album costs just a little over $10!

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Artisan State sent me a sample of their prototypes. The book will be available in a thin or thick page option and I like them both. I can see all kinds of possibilities for this little book. I would certainly use them as intended, for my own family photos. They would also make great proof books or mini albums for portrait sessions, parent and grandparent gifts, not to mention a mini portfolio of your best work to carry around with you in your bag and show off to potential clients.

The Little Black Book should be available for ordering by the end of May or beginning of June. I can’t wait to try it out and let you know what I think. How would you use the Little Black Book?

CREDITS : Photographs courtesy of Artisan State and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at workstoryphotography.com.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon

    Artisan State has the worst customer service ever! I called them 10 times a day for 7 straight days. I left a voice message every time I called (about 10 a day). I also sent out emails to them 5-6 times a day. Never one reply from customer service.

    After 15 days of my books and product not being shipped I had my bank issue a dispute on the charges. This finally got the company to wake up and ship the items to me but there were major quality issues. Books were over-saturated in printing. The text on the spine on some books was centered in my design but when it arrived it was way off center and the cover was wrapped wrong. (If I can attach video and pictures I would).

    The company does not list their physical address on their website or anywhere online. NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH A COMPANY THAT DOES THAT HAVE A PHYSICAL ADDRESS. It appears they are a china based company with a facade that US photographers and designers founded the company and run. Don’t let that fool you. It is all run out of China. The Chinese culture is known for not holding up to committed dates and not caring about good customer service.

    I did some research and found some of their company email address outside of the one listed on the website. When you have problems contacting the company be persistent and send emails to all these addresses.

    [email protected] (Noticed that my DHL Tracking info for my first order came from this email address) When the company would not reply to me I decided to try mail2, mail 3, mail 4 and so on. Emails successfully went through to mail1 – mail4.

    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    My last order will be just that. I ordered a total of $2,200 for clients to give as Christmas gifts. The charge to my card was from Hong Kong. My bank gave me the number that the company lists with the transaction. It was an international 852 area code number. I tried calling and it was a non existent number.

    Tried filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. They have no record of this company existing in the U.S.

    Beware of this company!

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    • Kip

      It seems you put quite an order in! How were the results of the books? I have only run into this kind of thing with CD duplicating. I once called a CD duplicating company in California, whose sales representative called me and since I was only looking for a small run, gave me the name and number of the place in Taiwan where they get their work done. It turns out the place in Taiwan was/is very respectable, and was half the price of any US duplication service. I expect the same goes for ArtisanState. It is a great idea, and looks like an excellent alternative to all the other photo book places in the US. The idea of the aesthetically pleasing small format and simplicity is very attractive. I am guessing that the $10 price was an attempt at low pricing in exchange for quantity, but unless ArtisanState responds, we’ll never know. Hopefully the quality of the books you ordered was sufficient? It seems the best way to deal with them is to not expect speedy service, so order a long time before you need the books. The other about there being no actual US presence is a bit unsettling…no way to tell if you would ever really get your books, and no money back guarantee. If the company could give more suitable information about their existence and accountability, that would probably have a great effect on their sales.

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  2. kennyvu

    The products are well done. But I have few issues. When you stretch a BW to be printed landscape, the center of the two pages looks a little pinkish. I sent an email to the support group, they told me that it is normal. Today, I noticed any image from one page to another, there is a little pinkish too. Not sure why. I have three little black books, one of the books the cover’s glue is dried. It is falling apart.

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  3. BeatsJancsik

    I’ve fallen in love with the book at first sight however I had hard time to design the book. The uploading failed all the tie even tho I tried three different browser.
    I was hoping to replace my old wedding album provider but not sure it worth a lot of grey hair…

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  4. ManitoulinPhotography

    My little black book cost $24. I thought it was a guaranteed $10. Looking forward to receiving it.

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  5. YJawhar

    You should mention that the books cost more & that the 10$ is just for sample books.

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    • ArtisanState

      YJawhar, $10 is the correct price for the “Little Black Book”. This is not a sample book. Our other books do cost more but this one will absolutely be just $10. Feel free to email us or contact us on facebook if you have more questions.

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  6. Robyn

    Hi there, the company’s website does not work any thoughts?

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  7. Thien Nguyen

    im gonna use this. great value

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  8. Jennifer Johnson

    I’m loving this! I hadn’t heard of them before. Their site is a bit slow-loading but their products look beautiful!

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    • ArtisanState

      Sorry about that simplyjennifer417, maybe you could let us know what browser and operating system you are using at [email protected]. A good user experience is very important to us.

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  9. LH

    Really like the idea. Would be great for tons of things. Any idea if they will post to Europe? I guess the postage price would make it rather pricey.

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    • ArtisanState

      LH, we definitely ship to Europe. All of our current products operate on one flat rate global shipping price. The shipping price for the “Little Black Book” isn’t settled yet but we’re trying to make it very affordable. We don’t plan to charge more for any region.

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