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 type of products and services do you provide?
- How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
- Tips on how to save your design files
- Tips on file format setups
- At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
- What is coated paper stock?
- What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
- What is the Pantone Matching System?
- Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
- Is white considered a printing color?
- What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
- Once I submit the documents, how long will it take to finish my job?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- What is variable data printing?
- What does personalization mean?
- What type of return can I expect from personalized or variable data marketing materials?
- What do I need to provide for variable data projects?
- Can you send samples for testing?
Good question! We are a full service shop and offer a wide range of products and services. To see a full listing and description of what we can offer you, check out the Products & Services area in the Customer Service Section of our website.
Well, since you are here, we would suggest you use our online estimate request form. 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 talk with one of our customer service representatives.
Tips on how to save your design files
Make them print ready and acceptable for us to print.
ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE PDF print publishing tools:
In some print publishing workflows, documents are distributed in the format of the authoring application (called the native format). Once approved, the files are saved in PostScript or a proprietary format for prepress work and final printing. Because applications generate PostScript in many different ways, PostScript files may be arbitrarily large and complex. In addition, reliability problems such as missing fonts, corrupt files, missing graphic elements, and unsupported features can result at output time. In response, Adobe and its partners continue to create reliable, PDF-based publishing workflow solutions.
From InDesign, you can export your document to a composite PDF file called a digital master. These digital masters are compact, reliable files that you or your printing company can view, edit, organize, and proof. Then, at the appropriate time in the workflow, we can either output the PDF directly, or process it using tools from various sources for post-processing tasks such as preflight checks, trapping, imposition, and color separation.
PDF files in the workflow:
Many large publishers use PDFs to streamline their review and production cycles. For example, numerous magazines and newspapers have adopted PDF as the standard format for delivering advertisements to local publishing offices via satellite or ISDN lines. PDFs enable us to instantly view an advertisement exactly as it was designed, make late-stage text edits, and reliably print from any computer.
PDF workflow technologies and requirements:
Adobe is continually addressing the workflow needs of service providers, and recommends that you visit the Adobe website at www.adobe.com often for the latest developments. Currently, Adobe addresses publishing workflow needs by providing an integrated system of several technologies:
• Adobe Acrobat 9, with its support for Adobe PDF version 1.7.
• Adobe PostScript 3 printing technology, for device-independent support, Adobe In-RIP Trapping, in-RIP color separations, and smooth blends.
• Adobe InDesign CS4, with its high-resolution page layout capabilities and direct PDF processing.
• PDF/X, an ISO standard for graphic content exchange that eliminates many of the color, font, and trapping variables that lead to printing problems.
A high-resolution composite PDF workflow typically includes a PostScript 3 output device whose RIP supports in-RIP separations. Therefore, if your output device uses PostScript Level 2 or does not support in-RIP separations, use a preseparated PostScript printing workflow.
Checking your document before exporting:
Before creating a PDF for us, make sure that the InDesign document meets our specifications. The following list offers some recommendations:
• Use the InDesign Preflight feature to ensure that image resolution and color spaces are correct, that fonts are available and can be embedded, that graphics are up-to-date, and so on.
• View your Adobe PDF export settings prior to exporting, and then adjust them as necessary. The Summary area includes a warning section that indicates when preset settings can’t be honored.
• If your artwork contains transparency (including overprints and drop shadows) and you require high‑resolution output, it’s a good idea to preview the effects of flattening using the Flattener Preview panel before saving the file.
• If your document will be separated, you can preview the separations and ink coverage limits using the Separations Preview panel.
• Use only high-resolution images in your document.
• For best results, use only CMYK images in a four-color-process job. Although RGB would be fine for Digital Printing purpose.
• You can exclude hidden or nonprinting layers from the exported PDF document.
For detailed information about preparing InDesign documents for high-resolution PDF output, see the Adobe InDesign Creative Suite Printing Guide for Prepress Service Providers on the Adobe InDesign Creative Suite DVD or on the Adobe website.
Produce a print-ready Adobe PDF file:
We can use Acrobat 7.0 Professional and later to perform preflight checks and color separations. Subsequent versions of Acrobat Professional contain more advanced preflight tools, including the ability to make certain corrections automatically. Our prepress applications and in-RIP technologies can also perform preflight checks, do trapping and imposition, and make the color separations of the pages in the digital master.
Note: Unless you are using a color management system (CMS) with accurately calibrated ICC profiles and are sure you have properly calibrated your monitor, don’t rely on the on‑screen appearance of colors.
• Prepare the document for exporting to Adobe PDF.
• Export using the PDF/X preset.
• Preflight the PDF in Acrobat 7.0 Professional or later.
• Proof and correct the PDF file.
• Provide us your press-ready PDF.
There are four different methods you can use to create a PDF from QuarkXPress on the Macintosh side and three corresponding methods on the Windows side. Your print or press requirements will determine which method you should use. If you do not need device-specific information built into the PDF, then you can safely use the Export Layout as PDF option located in the File menu (this is the most common way to generate a PDF from QuarkXPress). If you need to include device-specific information in the PDF (from the printer manufacturer's PPD file), then you want to generate the PDF by going through the Print dialog. The main point to remember is that, no matter which method you choose, QuarkXPress will always generate a PostScript file first, after which it passes the PostScript file off to be rendered into a PDF.
Direct to PDF: The first method, Direct to PDF, is enabled when you select 'Direct to PDF' in the PDF Preferences pane. When this is selected, QuarkXPress generates the PostScript file and passes it off to the built-in Global Graphics JAWS RIP. Any settings you make in the PDF Options dialog will determine the quality, color setup, and embedded font information in the exported PDF. To use this method:
• Go to File > Export > Layout as PDF.
• In the Export Layout as PDF dialog, click on the Options button.
• Select the options you want for the exported PDF and click OK.
• Click Save.
Create PostScript File for Later Distilling: This method is similar to the first. Instead of passing the PostScript file off to the JAWS RIP, QuarkXPress saves it to a designated location on your hard drive. The PostScript file is then processed through Acrobat Distiller to generate the PDF file. If you choose to do so, you can also set QuarkXPress to write the PostScript file to a 'Watched Folder' you have set up in Distiller. When it is running, Distiller 'watches' for any PostScript files written to this location. Distiller will then automatically process the PostScript file and generate the PDF. To use this method, select 'Create PostScript File for Later Distilling' in the PDF Preferences pane and follow the steps outlined above under the Direct to PDF method to generate the PDF.
Note: If you choose this method, there are settings in Acrobat Distiller that can override settings you have made in QuarkXPress. If you want your QuarkXPress settings retained in the generated PDF, you need to configure the Distiller settings to do so. See Adobe's documentation for Acrobat Distiller for more information.
Printing to Adobe PDF Writer: If you need device-specific information included in the PDF, this is the method you should use. In order to use this method, you need to install Adobe PDF Writer (normally done automatically when installing Acrobat Professional) and the Quark CUPS filter available at following link ( http://downloads.quark.com/Details.aspx?fid=117&) . Once you have installed these, select Adobe PDF Writer as your Default Printer. When you click Print, the PostScript file is built by QuarkXPress and sent to Adobe PDF Writer. The file location to which the generated PDF writes is determined by PDF Writer, not by QuarkXPress. To use this method:
• Go to File > Print.
• In the Print dialog select the PPD and settings for the output device to be used when the PDF is printed.
• Click Print. The PDF will automatically be generated by PDF Writer.
Creating a PDF through the Macintosh print engine (Mac only): On the Macintosh side, you can also create a PDF using the built-in PDF driver of the CUPS Engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CUPS). If you choose to do this, however, the PDF will not be of Print or Press quality. Many use this option to generate a relatively low resolution PDF that can be sent to clients for review before final output. To use this method:
• Go to File > Print.
• In the Print dialog select the PPD and other settings for the job.
• Click on the Printer button in the Print dialog. This takes you to the driver dialog for the CUPS Engine
• Click on the PDF button and select Save as PDF in the menu that displays.
• When the Save dialog displays, navigate to the location where you want to save the PDF and click Save.
• In the QuarkXPress Print dialog, click Print.
Saving your Corel Draw file as an Adobe Illustrator EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to outline fonts
• Export as Out-Lined Illustrator EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to paths
• Export as Hi Resolution PDF
Saving your PageMaker file as an EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to outline fonts
• Export your file as an EPS using the below settings:
Postscript Level 2
TIFF format and
You will need to have the full version of Adobe Acrobat PDF. If you don’t please download and use our Adobe Job Ready Program. If you do have the full version of Adobe Acrobat PDF please follow the steps below.
Under File, Print, select Adobe PDF writer
Under Properties select Press Quality and Save your PDF
Tips on file format setups
Many layout programs have collecting or packaging functions that will automatically collect your document, fonts, all art including and a report. When possible, it is recommended to use these functions because without any or all of these elements we will be unable to print your postcard.
• Enclose all screen fonts and printer fonts
• Include all placed images
• Make sure your files are set with proper bleed, trim and safety areas.
BLEED: All art trimming off the edge MUST be pulled out 1/8” beyond the trim line
TRIM: This is the guideline where the card will be cut
SAFETY: All art and text within this safety area will assure that nothing will be trimmed off during the cutting process. A 1/4” guide in from the trim should work fine.
At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
Resolution should be set to 300 dpi at the size you intend to print, unless it's a large format job. Please contact us regarding large format projects.
Pictures and graphics pulled from the internet are often low resolution, typically 72 dpi or 96 dpi. Avoid these graphics, as they will appear pixilated and blocky when printed.
Also note that you should save all photos in CMYK mode, not RGB mode when possible. Images saved in RGB mode may not print properly, unless printing digitally (and not Offset printing), its not necessary to convert the images to CMYK.
If you are unable to save your image in CYMK mode, please let us know.
What is coated paper stock?
Coated paper stock is a premium, high-quality paper that has been given a smooth glossy finish designed specifically for documents that require sharp details and vivid colors. Uncoated paper, by contrast, is relatively inexpensive but porous, and is best suited to the printing of black and white text documents.
What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
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.
Proofing helps the client and the printer communicate any problems that a project might have. It catches all errors before printing so that the client receives the best product possible. Once you have uploaded all your art files, we will work with you to correct any errors the file may have. Once everything has been corrected and reuploaded, we will make a proof for you to review and approve. We have three types of proofs.
We create a .pdf file that will be identical as the file being used for printing. It is very convenient for clients. All they need to do is download and review. We make e-proof files within 12 hours after you have uploaded your art files. The e-proof will be emailed to your email. Once you have checked the file, replay back to us so we can start printing!
After receiving your art files, we create a proof using a digital printer and your art files. It will be bound and you cannot specify the paper stock. Since we are using a digital printer, we do not need to create a set of plates. The quality of the digital proofs have improved to a level that is acceptable to be used as a final product. When using digital systems for proofing, the proofer needs to be color calibrated often to maintain color accuracy,
The most accurate of all proofs, but is the most costly. We use a press to generate the printed image before running the actual press. The magazine is printed, bound, and finished, as the final product would look, on the specified paper stock. Note that the price of the project may include an additional press set up charge as it is time consuming to set up the press for the proof, then the actual job.
What is the Pantone Matching System?
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 us to precisely match colors and maintain color consistency throughout the printing process.
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.
Is white considered a printing color?
Not typically. Because white is the default color of paper, it is simply recognized as the absence of any ink. However, when using colored paper, white ink may be used if any text or graphic requires it. Usually multiple hits/passes are required.
What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
PDF (Portable Document Format) is the most common and preferred file format for submitting digital documents. With the installation of a PDF print driver on your computer, virtually any program can generate a PDF file suitable for printing. Both commercial and free PDF print drivers are available online for download from different sources.
Once I submit the documents, how long will it take to finish my job?
Job may take 24 hours to several days to complete depending on their complexity and size. We always strive to provide an accurate estimate of the turnaround time for each job we do. And we’ll always work with you to find ways to complete your project when you need it. Meeting your needs is our top priority.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, company check and all major credit cards. We can also set up a business account for you, as well. Contact us for details.
What is variable data printing?
Variable data printing is technology for printing documents so that each piece is personalized to the specific recipient. At the most basic level, this means personalizing a name and address. But for real impact, many projects include unique graphics and content that speaks directly to the recipient.
What does personalization mean?
Personalization is another term for variable data—technology for printing documents so that each piece is personalized to the specific recipient.
Personalizing can be as simple as a unique name and address on every printed piece. But more sophisticated levels of personalization can include text or images that vary based on data specific to the recipient, or data-driven graphics such as a pie chart illustrating something specific to the recipient.
What type of return can I expect from personalized or variable data marketing materials?
Studies consistently show that personalized marketing receives a far greater response than static pieces.
On average, the response rate of a static direct mail campaign is around 2%. A targeted, personalized campaign that utilizes variable data technology can increase that response rate by up to 30%.
While the cost per piece of variable imaging direct mail is higher, your cost per response is much lower, increasing your return on investment.
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. To save time and hassle, make sure your data is properly formatted with each piece of data in separate fields.
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 for a free consultation.
Can you send samples for testing?
Yes. With many projects, we have samples available for testing.