Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Bleed?
Bleed(s) are a printing / design term that refers to the background image (not type) that goes beyond the edge(s) of the finished design & will get trimmed away. Failing to provide bleeds can result in finished pieces showing an area of white on the edge(s). Minimum 0.125" - 1/8” total bleed (0.0625" - 1/16” for each side)is required. Some printers may require 0.25” - 1/4” total bleed ( 0.125” - 1/8” for each side), “confirm bleed requirements before you send your files”. All type & no bleed designs must be kept a min of 0.125” - 1/8” all around from the trimmed edges, commonly called the safe area. Some offset printing presses require up to 0.3125 - 5/16” of no print area / white space to allow space for the press fingers to pull the sheets through.
- What is CMYK?
CMYK (short for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), also referred to as four color process. The CMYK color model uses white as the natural back ground color of the paper. Rich 300% combinations of all the four ink colors are used to produce solid blacks for non folded products: 66C-66M-66Y-100K. To achieve a rich black with limited cracking in folded products such as brochures we will recommend the values of: 30C-20M-20Y-100K. Black text & thin lines requires 100K (C0, M0, Y0, K100). Rich black for type would result in fuzziness and misregistration. Blues and Purples are close together in the CMYK spectrum so leave at least15% differences in your Cyan and Magenta Values when designing in shades of blue. Ensure all your images are CMYK.
- What is DPI?
DPI (dots per inch) units used to measure a printers output setting. The human eye cannot discern quality levels over 300dpi in printed material, so it’s become the industry standard for high quality print images.
- What is FTP?
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) used to transfer larger file(s) via the Internet. Send us images larger than 5 mb via our FTP File Transfer System.
- What are Mega Pixels?
The measurement of pixels x 1,000,000. Example: 4 mp camera set on its highest setting can produce up to 4,000,000 pixels, this means if you need to print a 5” x 8” quality picture at 300dpi. (industry standards) you multiply 5” x 300 = 1500 pixels and 8” x 300 = 2400 pixels, so you have 1500 x 2400 = 3,600,000 pixels or 3.6mp. If you need to print larger images than that then more pixels would be required from a camera. Note: creating or adding pixels from your computer will lessen the print quality, on the other hand taking them away is fine but keep the original larger file, just in case it’s needed later.
- What Payment methods are accepted?
To start / process your order we accept: Amex, Debit, MasterCard, PayPal & Visa.
- What are PDF's?
Portable document format (PDF). PDF is used to share documents in a manner independent of the original application software. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout that includes the text, fonts, images, and vector graphics which compose the document.
Digital Requirements for exporting Print Ready Files:
- Any linked images, type/text or other files must be embedded in the pdf.
- Adobe Illustrator / InDesign: all text must be converted to outlines (CS3 or less).
- Adobe Photoshop / Corel Paint: original image needs to be 300ppi but if there’s fonts in or with the image then the resolution needs to be at 600ppi for 300dpi printing & the text rasterized (CS3, Corel 12 or less).
- Corel Draw: all text must be converted to curves (Corel 12 or less).
- Each order must be created as one PDF. (e.g. – 1 sided equals one page, 2 sided equals one pdf file, consisting of two pages. Both pages must be the same size.)
- What is PPI?
PPI (pixel per inch) is the resolution of an image which also affects the print size of the image.
- Example #1: to print a 5” x 8” image / picture for 300dpi (industry standards).
You multiply 5” x 300dpi =1500ppi / 8” x 300dpi = 2400ppi.
Conclusion: image resolution needs to be 1500 x 2400ppi for printing at 300dpi.
- Example #2: your image is 1500ppi x 2400ppi.
You divide 1500ppi by 300dpi = 5” / 2400ppi by 300dpi = 8”
- Conclusion: your image resolution is correct for a 5” x 8” quality print
Creating an image with resolution higher than the standard will not improve the quality of print. You will only end up with very large files. Creating an image with resolution lower than the standard will jeopardize the quality of the finished job. Increasing the PPI with a computer program generally has mixed results and doesn’t always work. Photo programs use bitmap fonts so all type needs to be rastersized & the file created at 600ppi for the fonts to print clearly.
- Example #1: to print a 5” x 8” image / picture for 300dpi (industry standards).
- What is Proofing / Print Ready Files?
Proofs are vector samples of the designed artwork converted to outlines / curves (print ready files) exported as a PDF for the customer to approve. Your graphic designer has requested that you sign off / ok the proof before printing begins. This means you have indicated that everything on the proof(s) is correct, “ALL OK to PRINT”. Keep your print ready proof file for future orders. If a problem is discovered afterwards, you will incur additional artwork charges & re-printing costs. Your signed off proof & files that are sent in as print ready files are always 100% the customer’s responsibility.
- What are Raster / Bitmap Images?
A raster / bitmap image (Photoshop / Corel paint) is composed of a collection of tiny dots called pixels. When these pixels are small and placed close together they fool the eye into forming a single image. Raster images work great when subtle gradations of color are necessary. They contain a fixed number of pixels and this is a major disadvantage for images as their quality suffers when they are enlarged or otherwise transformed. They are resolution dependent.
- What is Resolution?
Image resolution describes the detail an image holds, ppi (pixels per inch) the more ppi, the larger the image will be. To be clear, neither the DPI nor PPI setting in a digital image/photo changes the digital quality of that photo. The resolution of a digital photo is its pixel dimensions. Image resolution for pictures need to equal 300dpi for printer output settings.
- What is RGB?
The RGB color model is a color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors for digital displays like computer monitors or T.V.’s. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue. Ensure all your images are converted to CMYK.
- What is a Reverse?
To print or display the opposite background and foreground colors. For example, a typical white page with black text would be reverse printed as white characters / fonts / text on a black background.
- What are Safe Margins?
Remember to keep all important information, like names, addresses, phone numbers or logos within the safe margin (at least 1/8" (0.125") from the cut line to ensure that they aren't cut off when your document is trimmed.
- What are Screens?
A 10% screen of black would print as a light gray color compared to a 90% screen that would print almost as a solid black. A 10% - 65 line screen is grainy (Larger dots) compared to a 10% - 150 line screen. Line screens are DPI (Dots per inch). Screens allow for printing gradients in offset printing.
- What is Spot Colour?
Referred to as PMS colours (Pantone Matching System) used in addition to or along with 4 color offset printing or on their own as one, two or three spot colors on smaller offset presses. To create spot color file(s):
- 1st use 100% black (K) if only one colour
- 100% magenta (M) for the 2nd
- & Cyan (C) for the 3rd
- send one PDF proof that has the colour or colours combined
- plus separate files for each individual color.
By only sending black (K) or black & magenta (M) files if two colours, you need mention what the colour(s) are really meant to be? E.g. Black (K) could = black ink or any PMS ink colour, so Magenta (M) would be the 2nd PMS ink colour. Ink colour(s) are manually mixed & added to the press rollers, unlike 4 color digital / 4 colour offset printing.
- What are Trim Marks?
This refers to the finished size of the product. The actual cut happens close to the trim line, due to the mechanical tolerances involved in printing. This is why it is important to keep your text and important images within the safe margin.
- What are Vector Images / Graphics?
Vector art is any digital artwork in which the shapes in the art are represented by mathematical equations within a computer. Geometric shapes like lines, waves, single points and curves are placed together by the artist to create an illustration. They are not resolution dependent. This allows vector images to retain theirhigh-quality at any size. Adobe Illustrator / InDesign & Corel Draw are the industry standards for vector graphics converting artwork to outlines /curves and using vector fonts such as PostScript and TrueType fonts. Vector images should be used for all text and logos, when possible. (Photoshop & Corel Paint produce raster/bitmap images, there resolution dependent, they should only be used for pictures and then imported into their native vector program).