FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Here you'll find answers to common questions our clients ask. Start by selecting one of the links below. If you don’t see what you need – call or contact us online.
- What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
- At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
- Tips on file format setups
- What are Pantone colors?
- Is white considered a printing color?
- Is there a limit on ink coverage?
- What do I need to provide for variable data projects?
- Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
- What is a proof?
What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
We prefer high-resolution print-ready PDF (Portable Document Format) for production. All fonts should be embedded in the PDF.
Our prepress department is up to date with all the popular software applications including Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher.
If it is necessary to send us the original files, please include all linked files, images, and fonts. Many layout programs have collecting or packaging functions that will automatically collect your document, fonts, all art including and a report. When possible, we recommended using these functions.
At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
The resolution of all photos and graphics should ideally be set to 600 dpi. The minimum resolution should be 300 dpi. All photos and graphics should be at the final 100% size and not be scaled in any page layout applications.
Please note pictures and graphics pulled from the internet are often low resolution, typically 72 dpi or 96 dpi. You should avoid these graphics, as they will appear pixilated and blocky when printed.
All photos and graphics should be converted to CMYK mode when possible. Images saved in RGB mode may not print properly.
Tips on file format setups
Make sure your files are set with proper trim, bleed, and safety areas.
TRIM: Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your publication's sheet or sheets of paper to show the printer where to trim the paper. Trim marks should be offset at least 1/8”. Crop marks should be 100% black.
BLEED: Bleed size should be 1/8” beyond the trim line. To set up your bleeds properly, the artwork has to extend out beyond the area we are going to trim.
FOLD: Fold marks are lines printed to show the printer where to fold the paper. All fold marks need to be placed outside of artwork, similar to the crop marks. Typically fold marks are denoted as a dotted line or in different color such as cyan or magenta.
SAFETY: All art and text within this safety area will assure that nothing will be trimmed off during the cutting process. A 1/8” guide in from the trim should work fine.
What are Pantone colors?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color reproduction standard in which colors all across the spectrum are each identified by a unique, independent number. The use of PMS allows printers to precisely match colors and maintain color consistency throughout the printing process.
The HP Indigo software automatically matches Pantone colors through spot-color mapping and special look up tables. Therefore, Pantone colors don't have to be reformulated or changed. Please keep the names of all Pantones color exactly as they appear in the software application.
Is white considered a printing color?
Normally, white is not considered a printing color. Because white is usually the default color of paper, it is simply recognized as the absence of any ink. If you are printing on white paper, there is no special set up needed to ensure any white areas are white.
However, we can print with white ink! Our state-of-the-art HP Indigo has been upgraded to print with white ink. This is beneficial when printing on colored paper or clear label stock. White ink can be used to make your text and artwork pop. White ink can also be used a primer layer when printing on clear labels. Similar to paint, the white ink layer is put down first and then the CMYK colors are printed over top.
Is there a limit on ink coverage?
As a recommendation, process colors should not exceed 280% total ink density .
When using rich black, we recommend using a CMYK value similar to C40; M30; Y30; K100.
What do I need to provide for variable data projects?
We work with many types of data files, but CSV files are the safest bet. These are data files that have commas separating each field, and returns separating each line of data. Please make sure your data is properly formatted with each piece of data in separate fields.
We also accept Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets documents. Please make sure your data is properly formatted with each piece of data in separate cells. The top row should contain the header name for each column.
Complex projects may require other files, like image files or additional data files. If you are unsure of what may be required for a particular variable project, give us a call.
Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
In short, printers and monitors produce colors in different ways.
Monitors use the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, which usually supports a wider spectrum of colors. Printers use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model, which can reproduce most—but not all—of the colors in the RGB color model. Depending on the equipment used, CMYK generally matches 85–90% of the colors in the RGB model.
When a color is selected from the RGB model that is out of the range of the CMYK model, the application chooses what it thinks is the closest color that will match. Programs like Adobe Photoshop will allow you to choose which color will be replaced. Others may not.
What is a proof?
In printing terms, a proof is a one-off copy of your document after all modifications and printing setup processes have been completed. It is your last and best opportunity to make sure that the print job comes out the way you want. By carefully inspecting the proof, you can help us assure an accurate, flawless delivery of your print job on the first run.