Welcome to Our Printing Info Center
The info center of our website is designed so you can learn about the printing process and how your orders are produced from start to finish. Use this section as a source reference, if you have any artwork issues or concerns you can always come back and learn about the many tips and tricks that we have encountered in our 20+ years of experience. Articles will be updated to keep up with industry news and trends.
Points to Remember
Those of you who need a few quick answers to the most common printing issues please read below. We receive huindreds of files every month. Now and then we will receive a file which is of low quality simply because of the way it was designed. Clear & true to color printing can only be guaranteed when file properties are accurate.
1.) Creating your artwork with bleeds - include 1/8th (.125) of an inch on every side. Anytime you see a printed piece that extends from end to end on postcards, brochures, etc., it has been created with a bleed. A bleed is basically an extension of the imge that will be cut off. The extra 1/8th inch (.125) per side, is needed so our bindery department can trim the excess and leave a clean centered image without a border. Be sure to create your artwork at least an 1/8 inch (,125) larger per side, than the actual printed size for the best quality.
2.) RGB & CMYK Pallet Explained - The english version
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood tuths when printing in color - The 2 acronyms above refer to the color palette that is used in graphic design. By default, most art programs will use the RGB color palette becuase many photos and web graphics will be using this standard palette. When setting up your files for printing however, you must convert the color palette from RGB to CMYK as all commercial printing presses use 4 base colors referred to as CMYK printing. When you request printing in 4 colors, the different hues and shades of color are all derived from a combination of 4 base colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Many printers will simply convert the color palette for you before they print your order. Unfortunately, when you convert the color palette to CMYK, sometimes the color looks different than what you see on your monitor. This is the cause of all the horror stories you hear about when customers complain "My brochure doesn't look the way I wanted it to". The safest way to achieve color accuracy is to create your artwork using the CMYK palette from the start. Doing this will give you a better idea of how your colors will look when printed.
Important: Most printing companies will convert graphics to CMYK in order to print. However if you convert your image yourself you will have a better representation of how the finished product will look.
Color Printing Design Tips: Text Printing Issues - 4 color text
If you are preparing your digital files for commercial printing of a 4 color (full color) order, make sure when designing your files that you are using true 100% black for your any black text that you are including in your design. When printing in full color, consider that there are four color plates needed for printing which are referred to as CMYK or Cyan Magenta Yellow and K = Black. Doing so will provide you with sharp and clear text throughout your full color print, here's how it works:
Most all publishing programs including Adobe photoshop, illustrator, quark, indesign and publisher allow you to control the specific color information of your text as compared to the other full color images in your artwork. Consider that all imagery including text is created from a series of 4 color plates as described above, CMYK. Unless you specify that the text in your artwork uses only 100% K (black ink), then what looks like black ink is really a combination of all 4 colors, giving your text that appears black but is not really a pure solid black, and can look blurry as compared to pure black text.
2) The difference between one color 100% black and four color black text and how printing registration matter.
The problem with designing artwork with four color text lies in understanding how a commercial offset press work. Offset presses are equipped with four print heads each containing specific color of ink. For example, on a four color press, the first print head contains Cyan ink, the second contains Magenta ink, the third contains Yellow ink and the last print head contains Black ink.
When we receive your files we need to "rip" those files which produces four color negative plates, one plate for each color. In reality we are digitally separating your file into these plates to setup for the offset printing process. Once we affix your plates to the print heads each with it's own color, we then align the plates and begin printing your job. If you have four color black text in your file, then each color plate will contain a percentage of color to print on paper which is where the problem lies.
Think about how difficult is can be especially with smaller type to send thousands of sheets of paper through 4 print heads while keeping every plate aligned in perfect registration for each letter in every word. If only one plate, (the black plate) contained the color information to print your text, then there is no problem because the text printing is actually being produced from one black plate and not a combination of four.
To sum it all up: With this understanding, if you create your artwork using 100% one color black text then only one plate is needed to reproduce the text portions of your printed job and the end result is crystal clear pure black text, even when your printed order contains other full color images such as graphics and photos.
Using Pantone Colors Will Provide Consistent Color Reproduction.
One of the biggest advantages in using specific pantone colors in your digital files is the color reproduction will be identical every time you print. The Pantone Matching system was created by Lawrence Herbet in 1963 in order to solve the problems associated with producing accurate and consistent colors by creating standardized colors of ink through detailed measurements and ink mixing. This is how a company such as coca cola can produce the exact red in their logo for example, no matter which printing company they use. Our pantone color specialists literally measure and mix the exact amount of ink required to create the any pantone color your choose, based on this standardized color system. For more information on the Pantone Matching System, please visit www.pantone.com
3.) Printing in high resolution and understanding D.P.I. - Let's be clear on this. DPI is the measurement used within the printing and graphics design industry to determine how sharp an image is. Web graphics, online pictures, etc. are normally created at 72 dpi (dots per inch), this low resolution is great for the web because images look excellent on a computer monitor and the file sizes are very small. When designing graphics for pritning purposes, your images should be 300 dpi or better. Essentially what this is doing is displaying more information (or dots) for every square inch of the image you are viewing. The more dots used, the sharper the image. It's really that simple. Color printing will look blurry if a 72 dpi artwork is used. Make sure you have your images at 300 dpi before you submit your files.
All artwork design programs allow you to resize an image you are working on, but it's important to understand why simply resizing a low resolution image will not produce a true high resolution image. When you resize and make a low resolution image larger to meet the commercial printing specifications of 300DPI, all you are really doing is stretching the image. The technical term is called either resampling or interpolation. Since high resolution images are based upon the number of pixels an image contains, resizing will not create new pixels, information of your images and will only make each pixel larger by stretching it. The only way to ensure picture perfect high quality printing of your photos and images is to start with a high resolution image