Frequently Asked Questions, Tips and Tricks

Should I use a white color swatch in my design?

If the paper being printed on is white, and you want white to appear in your design, all you have to do is leave that area blank (or use the "paper" color swatch if your design program comes with one) - the white paper will show through. Adding a white colored swatch to your design in this case, may actually interfere with the way it prints.

If the paper is not white

If the paper is not white and you wish to have white in your design, we may be able to make special accommodations. Please talk to your Customer Service Representative if this is the case.

What values should I use to make a "rich black"?

If your goal is to create a "rich black", please use our standard process build of C=40, M=30, Y=30, K=100. For regular black, please set the values to C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=100. Please do not change black or rich black to a spot color.

Black text, and Registration black

Please use regular black for text. As only one color (not a 4 color build), it is both faster and easier to print accurately. Most text is small enough that the difference in color between regular black and rich black is not noticeable.

Avoid using the "Registration" black swatch that comes in the color pallette of most design applications. Registration black is built from 100% of each of the four process colors, and uses more ink than necessary to achieve a deep black color. The more ink used, the longer it takes the paper to dry after printing.

100% blackrich black

Be careful when naming spot colors

When a spot color is named differently in one file than another (i.e. “PMS 021 CVC” in one file, and “PMS 021 CVU” in a linked file), the software interprets the color names as two separate colors and attempts to print them that way. Please name spot colors exactly the same across all files to avoid delays.

Does your document bleed?

What is bleed and why is it so important?

For documents that bleed, we ask for a minimum of 1/8 inch bleed beyond the final trim to meet our press and bindery specifications.

Why 1/8 inch of bleed?

Inadequate bleeds may cause your job to be put on hold. 1/8 inch is an industry standard and generally the minimum size for quality work. Some elements can be easily extended to meet the bleed requirements, but if not we will consult you to find a solution.

document with bleed

Should I add trapping and overprinting to my files?

Our RIP system automatically handles trapping during processing, so you don't have to think about it. If you have special trapping requirements, please talk to us and we will accommodate your needs.
Please do set overprints in your files if needed, including in any links.

Overprinting tips

Small black objects, black text, and die-lines should be set to overprint. Otherwise the black may look uneven due to trapping with the background colors. Be careful not to set any white or "paper" colored elements to overprint, because they may disappear! It is helpful to use the overprint preview feature in your design program if it has one. For more details about overprinting, feel free to ask your Customer Service Representative.

document with bleed document with bleed

Submitting PDFs

If you send us PDFs, please embed all fonts (not subset), leave images uncompressed, and remember to add at least 1/8 inch of bleed if the job has bleeds. If you have any questions about making PDFs, contact your Customer Service Representative.

Please double check your files

To reduce delays and extra costs from troubleshooting, please check your files one last time before you send them in. You may use a preflighting tool to catch any missing graphics, files or fonts, material not intended for printing, mistakes, or any other issues that could prevent the file from printing the way you want.

click here for helpful Preflighting tools

Indesign and Acrobat Professional have preflighting tools built in. We also recommend Flightcheck as a preflighting tool. If you have any of these programs, you may download our preflight profiles below (.zip files). We also have a basic Preflighting check list available which can be printed out or bookmarked for checking your files manually.

FlightCheck Preflight InDesign CS4+ Preflight Acrobat Pro Preflight


How to submit your finished files

Send us your files via FTP (at the top of this website), email (up to 5MB), or removable media such as CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, and USB/Firewire hard drive. Notify your Customer Service Representative or Sales Associate of which method you choose so that we know what to expect. Your removable media will be returned to you.

Compressing your files for transfer

Please compile your files into one folder and use a compression utility such as Stuffit or Zipit. Compressing your files reduces the size for faster upload, and protects them from corruption in the transfer. Please avoid sending compressed SITX files. Your Customer Service Representative will give you a user name and password to use the FTP.

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