Artwork & Design Questions

1. What type of files do you accept?

We will only accept the following standard file formats: TIF - JPG - PDF. We DO NOT accept Quark, Pagemaker, Corel Draw, Word, or any similar formats. These formats must be converted to one of the standard file formats listed above before sending the files to us.

2. What color mode should I set in my file?

You should always save your designs in CMYK color mode.

3. What resolution should my files be?

We only accept 300dpi files. Low resolution files will be placed on hold until we receive new files, slowing your turn-around.

4. Can I resize my 72dpi artwork to 300dpi?

Unfortunately, you can not increase your resolution for a design that has been created low resolution. The output will be blurry or grainy, and at times, unreadable.

5. What is a bleed? How much should I have?

A bleed is extra area outside of your document that is trimmed off to insure proper cuts. In simple terms - your background should go off an 8th of an inch more than your actual print size. For example, if you have a 4x6 - you should design your piece as 4x6, but have your background go .125" on each side. The piece you submit to us should be 4.25"x6.25".WE REQUIRE BLEEDS ON ALL JOBS. No Exceptions, or you risk your job being miscut.

6. How do I print with a border?

We do not suggest borders at all, but if you insist on having them, with ALL designed material we recommend you leave 1/4” (0.25) from all surrounding edges of your printed piece. If you leave less than 1/4” (0.25), we cannot be held responsible for unequal borders from top to bottom and from side to side. This is due to the final cutting process in which some “draw” or “slippage” occurs in that cutting process. This is a print industry standard. Borders are printed at your own risk.

7. What is the proper rotation for my artwork?

Files submitted are printed HEAD to HEAD as-is based off your files. Make sure to set up your files so that when we print them HEAD to HEAD the final product will read the way you intended. Also, front and back files need to be set up either both sides vertically or both sides horizontally. Please do not send us one side vertical and the other horizontal, otherwise your job will be placed on hold until we receive new files, slowing your turn-around.

8. How do I avoid transparency problems?

Always convert your artwork to CMYK and flatten before sending.

9. How do I avoid overprint problems?

Always turn off all overprint objects, convert your artwork to CMYK and flatten before sending.

10. Can I submit one file that contains both front and back?

No, each side of the job must be submitted as a separate file, one for the front and one for the back.

11. What is UV and AQ?

UV and AQ are abbreviations for the kind of coatings used on the print products we offer.

AQ (Aqueous Coating) is a water-based finish that helps protect and coat your job as it is being printed. This is our standard gloss coating. When you select the "No UV" option for your job we "seal" it with AQ. It's recyclable and environmentally safe.

UV (Ultraviolet Coating) is a clear liquid spread over the paper like ink and then cured instantly with ultraviolet light. UV coating gives more protection and sheen than Aqueous Coating. Since it is cured with light and not heat, no solvents enter the atmosphere. However, it is more difficult to recycle than the other coatings. This coating is the "laminate style" coating that you see on ultra high gloss magazine covers. It is a second process which takes place after the run has been printed, though prior to it being cut. This coating adds a few hours to the printing process. It is more difficult to recycle.

UV One Side (Ultraviolet One Side Coating) This option is specifically for postcard mailing customers. It combines the high impact gloss of UV with the mail functionality of Aqueous coating. Because this is a separate process completed after the printing has taken place, it takes a bit more time than our standard printed products, however it is worth the wait. For speed of printing purposes we do coat the non UV side with Aqueous.

12. How do I make files for a Spot UV job?

You must include a Spot UV Mask file along with the regular full color file. The Spot UV Mask file is used to "mask off" where the UV will be placed. Use 100% Black to indicate where you would like the UV to be. Where there's white will indicate no UV.If you requested Spot UV on both sides, then you must submit a separate Spot UV Mask file for each side. For example, a 4/4 print job with Spot UV Both Sides will be a total of 4 separate files you will be required to submit - Front, Front Mask, Back and Back Mask.

13. Why do my blues look purple?

Just like Yellow and Blue make Green, Red and Blue make Purple. Using a close ratio of Magenta and Cyan will result in a Purple color in print, even though on your computer screen it appears Blue. When using Blue in your design, always make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. Low amounts of Magenta and a high amounts of Cyan avoids Purple in print.

14. How do I get a CMYK image to look Grayscale?

Grayscale images that are converted to CMYK will have a color shift in the final print that may be green or yellow. Always check the CMYK values of your grayscale image in the final CMYK file to make sure there are other no values other than K in your grayscale image.

To eliminate all values other than K in your CMYK file, use your Channel Mixer (adjustment layer) in Photoshop, then click "Monochrome" and adjust accordingly.

15. Why does my Black look Gray?

Large, solid black areas and text over 36 points should use Rich Black (4-color black) to prevent the color looking gray. Rich Black consists of 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow, 100% Black.

16. Why does my card look cracked around the edges?

Cracking of the edges sometimes occurs when the artwork contains high values of ink, as in dark colors, especially Black. Essentially its because the ink is so dense that it no longer sticks to the paper but rather globs onto itself and during the cutting process appears to flake off. To prevent this, use lighter colors or if you must use dark colors, use as little ink as possible. Rich Black consists of 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow, 100% Black. If you glob on the ink 100% Cyan, 100% Magenta, 100% Yellow, 100% Black - you are globing on 400% ink coverage and your card will surely appear cracked around the edges.

17. Why does my print job appear to have lines through it in the solid areas of color?

Large solid areas of color (especially lighter colors such as light gray or blue) sometimes may appear to have lines through it. This is called BANDING. Banding can be caused by a number of things, but mostly is attributed to the program that your artwork is exported from, such as Indesign or Corel, or by gradients going from a very light color to a dark color, in a small area.To prevent this, check your files closely before sending. If you use a gradient, make sure it has enough room for a smooth transition and does not contain too many gradient steps.

18. Why is my scoring job cracked along the score?

Paper is fibrous. Cracking is normal when coated jobs are scored and folded, bending the fibers of the paper. Ordering the job without UV will help since the paper will be a bit softer, but may not prevent this. As the job is used and folded more and more, cracking will eventually happen as more and more fibers are bent during use.

19. How do Pantone colors look when printed in CMYK?

All of our normal printing is done in CMYK. If you use Pantone colors in your artwork, make sure to convert those colors to CMYK before sending your file, otherwise your job might print with undesirable colors. Pantone colors converted to CMYK usually shift a bit in spectrum and appear to be more bland or faded.
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