Printing newbie? Overwhelmed? You’re in the right place. Printing help is here. The first, best thing to do is call or email. We love to hear about your ideas and have plenty of our own. For instance, sometimes the paper you have in mind can be replaced by one that is much less expensive and looks the same. If you’re in our area, we have a nice assortment of paper sample books to browse if you have something special in mind. We’ll let you know if it would be in your best interest to wait until you have a larger print order, as in one business card vs. three or four. We’ll give you our best advice for finishing and most cost-effective use of color for your budget. We can suggest folding or binding options that you might not have considered, and determine if there might be room on the paper to add a bookmark or business card when printing your work without a lot of extra cost. We’ll project delivery so you can target your production schedule.Need help with files? Our prepress staff are expert at file prep. We actually LOVE to get calls about this; better to ask first and get it right. The goal for print files is a match of all specifications on your printing estimate.Setting up print files requires some technical skill beyond familiarity with a graphics program. Getting pointers can save both time and money! The top file mistakes are:

NO BLEED. What is bleed? This is an area 1/8th-inch wide beyond the trim edges of a page wherever ink touches the edge. Whatever touches that edge must extend 1/8th-inch beyond the edge. That’s because we trim a big stack of paper all at once. When cutting, there could be a bit of slippage through the stack and without color going past the trim edge, it’s possible that a little, unsightly flash of white paper could show up at the edges of the finished piece. So be sure your pages have bleed built-in. It’s easy to set up once you know how, and impossible to print without it, so that’s a very important item to get right. (See this post.)

WRONG COLORS. Offset printing uses one printing plate for each color. Digital printing is either “color” or “gray”. We often get files that should print with offset printing in two colors but are actually more colors. Another frequent mistake is to assume that professional printing will look like the prints from your office printer. We can help you make files that match the printing plan.
LOW RESOLUTION PICTURES. You spend time on your design, so don’t let low resolution pictures ruin it. Sometimes what appears great on-screen will be pretty lousy in print. Many graphic programs can warn you when you use low res art. We can show you how to turn on those warnings and detect problems early. As a rule of thumb, use the biggest file sizes you have and don’t excessively enlarge pictures. When taking pictures to use for printing, set your camera so that it stores the least number of pictures on the card. That way, you’ll get the highest resolution pictures possible. (See this post.) Get our support downloads for easy-to-follow directions. To setup Spot Colors properly in your layout, see This Post.