Frequently Asked Questions
With so many options, we’re sure you have questions. We’ve compiled a list of some of the more common things we hear from our customers, along with some brief answers. If you check back, this list will grow over time. Much of this is compiled from different sources available online. If you’re into it, there’s a lot of good content on the web about printing processes. Starting here should get you rolling.
If you don’t see what you need, we’re just a phone call away.
How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
There are a few ways for us to provide you with an estimate. We’ll first need the specifics of your project. You’ll need to consider whether you want us to design something for you, or if you have a file already created. You should also think about what the finished product needs to be and the quantity. We’re happy to help with some ideas if you need them. Whatever the case may be, you can provide us with this information through email, or using our FILE UPLOAD form.
What file formats should I provide?
PDF is always recommended and appreciated. Most computers have the capability to save documents as a PDF. The PDF format is a universal format that “solidifies” its appearance, ensuring what we print is what you intended. If you are unsure as to how you save a PDF with your particular software, searching your query on Google usually provides answers.
That being said, we can take any Mac or PC versions of Quark X-Press, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Pagemaker, Illustrator, Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, or any file output as a high resolution (300 dpi minimum) TIF, EPS, JPG, or PDF. If not submitting a high resolution PDF with fonts embedded, all fonts and graphics used should also be provided. Most programs have a function such as “Collect for Output” or “Package” to assist in compiling all necessary pieces for printing.
At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
Image resolution should be set to 300 dpi, whenever possible. Text resolution in Photoshop should be set to 1200 dpi. 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. If you are unable to save your image in CYMK mode, please let us know and we’ll help convert it.
What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
Lots of online printing companies don’t make you aware of the importance of a printed proof. But, quite often, it’s the only way to make sure we get it right the first time. 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. We recommend reviewing a printed proof, which we can either mail you or you can review in our office. In can be particularly important to proof prints created from Microsoft software products, because those programs use parameters based on the printer selected at the time of initial file creation.
Bleeds allow you to run artwork to the edge of a page. On a press, the artwork is printed on a large sheet of paper and then trimmed down to size. If you do not allow for a 1/8 of an inch bleed, any misalignment while cutting will result with the artwork not running to the edge of the paper. Bleeds ensure you get the results you need (see an example).
For example, if you have designed a standard 3.5″ x 2″ business card with a red background covering the whole area, you will need to enlarge that red background to 3.75″ x 2.25″. This will make the red background extend 1/8″ on every side of the page.
Why is adding a Bleed necessary?
Small mechanical variations can end up leaving a hairline white edge where there should be no white edge at all, if the image is not extended beyond the final trim size. Extending images 1/8″ beyond the final trim size guarantees that images truly will go all the way to the edge of the printed paper. (this information was taken from www.serviceprinters.com)
Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
We get this question a lot. 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. 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.
What is the difference between the RGB and CMYK color space and why does it matter?
In printing, this is an important thing to recognize. RGB refers to the primary colors of light, Red, Green and Blue that are used in monitors, television screens, digital cameras and scanners. CMYK refers to the primary colors of pigment: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. These are the inks used on the press in “4-color process printing”, commonly referred to as “full color printing.” Since we’re printing your pieces, CMYK is required. It’s important that the file is set up that way to match your layout.
Once I give you my documents, how long will it take to finish my job?
We’re pretty quick. We will always work with you to find ways to complete your project when you need it. Simple jobs are often completed while you wait. Some jobs, however, may take several days to complete depending on their size and complexity. We always strive to provide an accurate estimate of the turnaround time for each job we do.
Can you mail my piece if I send you a mailing list?
Absolutely. We have our own mail permit. Just provide us with an electronic version of your list in a Microsoft Excel, .txt or .csv format. In most cases we can print your addresses directly onto your postcards, brochures, newsletters, and more. No need to print separate labels to peel and stick.
Can you use my mailing permit and mail my material from your location?
We can only use your permit number if your permit is registered in Northampton. Mailing permits are tied to local USPS offices and may only be used in the locality where they are issued. But, we would be happy to address your material and ship it to you, and then you could use your own permit and mail it from your location.