Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What are bleeds and why do we need them?
“Bleed” is a printing term used to indicate the area of a background image that will be trimmed off after the file is printed and cut down to the finished size.  It is extremely difficult to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper. To achieve this, we must print a slightly larger area than is needed, then trim the paper down to the necessary finished size.  Click here to see sample.

What are reader spreads and printer spreads?
Referring to a saddle stiched book, reader spreads are the pages side by side in the correct order as readers would see the pages.  But in order to achieve this, the pages must follow a specific page order to assure the booklet has the correct page sequence after it has been printed, cut, assembled and stapled.  This is what is known as printer spreads.  If you are getting a saddle stiched book, send your file as single pages and our prepress department will take care of the setup.

Is there a minimum on digital copies?
Yes, we have a minimum of 100 copies, or 50 sheets printed 2 sides.

What is the difference between a sheet and a page?
A sheet is a piece of paper and a page is typically a side of paper.

What are crop marks?
Crop marks are small markings on your proof that shows the edge of your printed piece. Printers use crop marks, also known as tic or registration marks, in different ways. Typically, they are used to indicate the cut marks for the finished size sheet. When printing more than one color, they are used as a tool for perfect registration of the image on the sheet.

What does 4/0, 4/1, 4/4, 1/0, and 1/1 mean?
4/0 refers to full color printing on one side of the printed sheet and no printing on the back of the sheet.
4/1 refers to full color printing on one side and black printing on the other side.
4/4 refers to full color printing on both sides. The combination of these four colors can produce a wide array of colors.
1/0 refers to one color printing on one side and no printing on the back of the sheet.
1/1 refers to one color printing on both sides.
4/0/, 4/1 or 4/4 can also mean the same thing for spot color.

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 does resolution and DPI mean?
All images should be 300 dpi.  DPI is the amount of ink dots per inch; 300 dots per inch is the required standard for printed material. Anything below 200 dpi may not be good enough resolution for printing.

What is digital printing?
Do you want a professional looking newsletter, but only need 300 copies? Do you want to do a direct mail campaign that calls your customers by name? How about easy PDF proofing at your desk? Digital printing can do all these things for you - and make it cost effective. Digital printing makes printing high quality short runs a reality. You also can increase your customer response rates to direct mail by using variable data printing on the digital press. The short of it - digital printing saves you time and money all while making your marketing campaigns more effective.

What is variable data printing?
Variable data printing uses information you have about your customers to create personal, targeted campaigns. Each of your direct mail pieces will have a common design and layout, but will contain some unique text or images specific to a target market or individual person. The more information you have about your customer the more personal you can make your direct mail piece.

What is wide format printing?
Wide format printing is a type of printing that is used to create larger printed works such as signs, vinyl banners, posters, wall murals, store displays, artist prints, and window graphics. This process typically requires a special digital printer that can handle larger sizes, sometimes as large as 60" wide. The use of inkjet technology gives these special printers the ability to print on a variety of materials, including glossy-coated paper, vinyl and canvas.

What is full color process?
Also called 4 color process, four inks are used: three secondary colors plus black. The colors are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black; abbreviated as CMYK. The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of many more colors.

What are PMS colors?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a standardized worldwide printing ink color reproduction system that is used for color identification of specific colors. PMS color guides are catalogs of swatches that display the color accurately as printed, and give information on other color system equivalents. Each swatch of color has its own name or number. This helps ensure your printed piece will be the same with each printing even if you change printing services. Keep in mind, the color on your monitor may not be the true PMS color when your product is printed. A PMS swatch book will show the true color. We keep swatch books here at our printing shop.

What is the difference between spot and process colors?
Spot colors are printed with a single solid color, using a specially mixed Pantone color ink. Spot colors are used to maintain color consistency throughout a design. Process colors are printed using varying percentages of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks, to reproduce colors. Black in CMYK is referred to as K, indicating “key” for the printing term key plate. A key plate impresses the artistic detail of an image, usually in black ink. By mixing the CMYK colors together at various levels you can achieve different shades and colors within a design.