We’ve been doing this for a while, so we’ve gathered the most common Printing Frequently Asked Questions — and Answers!
How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
Simply use our online estimate request form by clicking here. Otherwise, the best way to ensure that we get all the information necessary to do an accurate quote is to give us a call and speak with one of our customer service representatives.
How long will it take for you to complete my order?
Every job is different. Some jobs can be produced in minutes while some may take several days to complete. Let us know when you need your job completed and we’ll let you know if it can be done. We go to great lengths to meet even your most demanding timelines.
What is the best file format for submitting a document for printing?
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is generally the preferred file format for submitting a document for printing as it works with virtually all professional printing and digital output devices. By design, a PDF file incorporates the information needed to maintain document consistency from system to system. Most other file formats such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Microsoft Word are easily converted to PDF format.
How well will what I see on my monitor match what I see on paper?
The technology of design, layout and printing has come a long way to the point where much of the work is done in a WSYWIG (What You See Is What You Get) digital environment. However, there are sometimes noticeable differences in color calibration and spatial conformity from monitor to monitor and consequently from screen to print.
The process for minimizing any variance begins with adjusting your monitor for optimal color and clarity according to the manufacturer’s recommendations as outlined within its product manual or website. Doing this will alleviate a number of potential issues.
Beyond that, for the greatest conformity in color from screen to print, there are tools available that will ensure exact color calibration. Perhaps you have already invested in such a tool. If so, let us know what you use and we’ll work with you to achieve the best results. If you are considering investing in a color calibration tool, talk to us first and we’ll be happy to offer our advice.
What is a proof and why is it needed?
A proof is a one-off copy of your printed document used for visual inspection to ensure that the layout and colors of your document are exactly how they are intended to be. A proof is made prior to sending the document to the press for final printing.
Typically, we will produce a proof that will be sent to you online in PDF format or on printed paper, which can be either viewed in our store or delivered to you in person. For multiple-color jobs, we can produce a proof on our output device to show you how the different colors will appear on the final product.
Your approval on the final proof is the best assurance you have that every aspect of our work and your own is correct, and that everything reads and appears the way you intended. Mistakes can and sometimes do happen. It benefits everyone if errors are caught in the proofing process rather than after the job is completed and delivered.
What are the different grades of paper and their respective basis weight?
The basis weight of a given grade of paper is defined as the weight (in pounds) of 500 standard-sized sheets of that paper. With that in mind, here are different examples of paper grades and their respective basis weights:
- Bond: Most commonly used for letterhead, business forms and copying. Typical basis weights are16# for forms, 20# for copying and 24# for stationery.
- Text: A high-quality grade paper with a lot of surface texture. Basis weights range from 60# to 100# with the most common being 70# or 80#.
- Uncoated Book: The most common grade for offset printing. Typically 50# to 70#.
- Coated Book: Has a glossy finish that yields vivid colors and overall excellent reproduction. Basis weights range from 30# to 70# for web press, and 60# to 110# for sheet press.
- Cover: Used in creating business cards, postcards and book covers. Can be either coated or uncoated. Basis weights for this grade are 60#, 65#, 80# or 100#.
What is the difference between coated and uncoated paper stock?
Uncoated stock paper is comparatively porous and inexpensive, and is typically used for such applications as newspaper print and basic black-and-white copying. Coated stock, by contrast, is made of higher quality paper having a smooth glossy finish that works well for reproducing sharp text and vivid colors. It tends to be more expensive, however.
What does “camera ready” mean?
In the digital age of printing, it means that an image file submitted for printing is ready to be transferred to the printing plates without any alterations.
What is color separation?
Color separation is the process of separating a colored graphic or photograph into its primary color components in preparation for printed reproduction. For example, to print a full color photo with an offset printing press, we would create four separate printing plates each accounting for one of the four basic printing inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) needed to reproduce the image.
As the paper is fed through the press, each single-color plate puts onto the paper the exact amount of ink needed at exactly the right spot. As the different colored wet inks are applied, they blend together to create the rich and infinite pallet of complex colors needed to reproduce the original image.
What is halftone printing?
Halftone printing converts a continuous tone (solid areas of black or color) photograph or image into a pattern of different size dots that simulate continuous tone. When examining the page closely, you will see a series of dots spaced slightly apart. At a normal viewing distance, however, the spacing between dots becomes essentially invisible to the eye and what you see is a continuous tone.
What are Pantone colors?
Pantone colors refer to the Pantone Matching System (PMS), a color matching system used by the printing industry whereby printing colors are identified by a unique name or number (as opposed to just a visual reference). This helps make sure that colors turn out the same from system to system, and print run to print run.
Is white considered a printing color?
No. White is not generally considered a printing color as typically the paper itself will be white. If a colored paper (something other than white) is chosen, then white becomes a printing color if any text or graphics require it.
What are the most common sizes for catalogs and booklets?
Standard sizes for catalogs and booklets are 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 8 1/2″ x 11 and 11″ x 17″.
What are the most common sizes for brochures?
Common brochure sizes are 8 1/2″ x 11″, 8 1/2″ x14″ and 11″ x17″.
What are the most common business envelope sizes?
Business envelope sizes are referenced by a number such as #9 or #10. The chart below indicates the most common sizes in use today:
|#6 1/4||3 1/2″||6″|
|#6 3/4||3 5/8″||6 1/2″|
|#7||3 3/4″||6 3/4″|
|#7 3/4||3 7/8″||7 1/2″|
|#8 5/8||3 5/8″||8 5/8″|
|#9||3 7/8″||8 7/8″|
|#10||4 1/8″||9 1/2″|
|#11||4 1/2″||10 3/8″|
What is the standard size of the address window on a business envelope?
The address window on a typical business envelope measures 4 1/2″ x 1 1/8″.
What requirements does the USPS have for envelopes?
These are the U.S. Post Office requirements to keep in mind when designing an envelope:
- All mail pieces 1/4″ thick or less must be rectangular in shape, at least 3 1/4″ high and at least 5″ long.
- Any mail piece less than 4 1/4″ in height must be at least .007″ (7 pt.) thick.
- Any mail piece greater than 4 1/4″ in height or 6″ in length must be at least .009″ (9 pt.) thick.
What are the standard sizes for postcards?
Postcards are found in three common sizes: 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″ and 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″.
What are the most common card stocks used for postcards?
The most common card stocks used for postcards are:
- 100# stock coated on both sides: The most popular postcard stock.
- 100# stock coated on one side: Well suited to mailing.
- 12 pt stock coated on both sides: a premium paper with a high luster finish.
What are the most popular sizes for personalized notepads?
The three most popular sizes for personalized notepads are 4″ x 6″, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ and 8 1/2″ x 11″.
What are the most popular sizes for sticky notepads?
There are four popular sizes for sticky notes: 3″ x 3″, 3″ x 4″, 3″ x 5″ and 4″ x 6″.
What different types of materials can be used for labels?
Materials for labels and their application include:
- Paper, Uncoated: Use where you need the label to be easily written on by hand or printed on by machine.
- Paper, High Gloss: Use when you need good printability. Keep in mind that it cannot be written on easily by hand.
- Vinyl: Use vinyl for outdoor environments, or if applying a label to a vinyl surface.
- Acetate: Use when the label needs to be transparent.
- Mylar/Polyester: Best for applications where the label needs to be applied to an object with sharp, angular corners.
What are the types of bindings I can use for multi-page projects?
- Some of the common methods of binding books and other multi-page documents include:
Perfect binding: Gluing the outside edges of the pages together to create a flat edge.
- Saddle-stitch binding: Using staples along the folds of the pages to bind them together.
- Spiral binding: Wires in a spiral form threaded through punched holes along the binding edge of the papers. Allows the document to lay open flatly.
- Plastic comb binding: Similar to spiral binding but using a tubular plastic piece with teeth that fit through rectangular holes punched into the binding edge.
- Three-ring binding: Holes are punched into the pages and fitted into a binder.