This section is a compilation of answers to the most-asked questions our clients present to us.

What is a color separation?

A color separation shows us what part of your job prints on which plates on the press. Therefore, all the red will appear on one separation, black on another, etc. In process color (CYMK), four separations are always generated, one for each color: cyan, yellow, magenta and black. We use separations to tell the press what to print where–you use them to ensure that all parts of your document are included and are set up to print in the right color. When checking your separations, make sure no art is lost in the translation (leaving a gap in your design because the graphic is improperly prepared).

Why is graphic file format important?

The high-end output imagesetters that are used in the printing process to produce film treat digital files differently than your office laser or ink-jet does. WMF files are not reliable–sometimes they work and sometimes not. Many of the popular clip art packages and Microsoft products use this file format. TIFF files cannot be color separated but are good for line art, photographs and scanned images that will be printed in one color or full-color (CYMK). If they are printing in one-color, save the file as grayscale or bitmap. If you are printing in full-color, save the file as CYMK. Always save TIFF images at 100% of the size they will be when printed at 300 dpi for grayscale and 600 dpi or higher for line art. EPS images that are vector-based can be color separated and will print fine to CYMK. A word of caution: saving a TIFF file into an EPS file (Illustrator, for example) as part of an image may cause problems if the job is to be color separated. Check your separations to make sure the right colors appear on the right separations.

What about digital cameras?

Digital camera pictures are great, but they are only as good as the camera you are using and the resolution you select. If your camera can give you a true resolution of 300 dpi at the size you wish to print it the outcome will be acceptable.Consumer (as opposed to professional) digital cameras at the highest resolution setting will typically allow printing a full-frame image at a size of up to 5 x 7 inches.

What does it mean to have duplicate colors in spot color jobs?

Graphic programs do not have standard names for Pantone colors. Because of this it is easy to end up with two versions of one color in the same page layout program. We cannot use your file this way as it will cause an extra plate to be printed. That is why it is so important for you to provide color separations with your job and fix these issues before they get to us.

How do I set up my jobs for a printing press?

If your job is printing multiple pages on one sheet (a booklet or business cards, for example), it is always best if you lay out your file so that the pages are grouped on the sheets as they will be on the press. Our design department will be happy to advise you in this area. Files that do not arrive set up in this manner will incur a minimal charge for set-up. And one more important area . . . don’t forget to proofread, word-for-word, letter-for-letter . . . as well as numerals and numbers!

How do I proof my colors?

Every printer and monitor shows color differently. We verify colors on our calibrated systems for pleasing process color. Spot color cannot be accurately represented at the proof stage. That is why it is important to select the Pantone color from a Pantone Color Specifier by number. That is the only way to be assured of getting the color you desire.

A proof is a way of ensuring that we have set your type accurately and that everything is positioned according to your requirements. Typically, we will produce a color proof which will be sent to you online or printed on paper which can be viewed by you at our office or delivered to you.

On multiple color jobs, we can produce a color proof on our color output device to show how the different colors will appear but not the exact PMS color.

Why do I need to look at a proof if I’ve already given you all the graphical elements you need to produce the job?

Remember, people produce your work and people do make errors. Your approval on the final proof is your (as well as our) assurance that you have looked over every aspect of our work and approve it as accurate: for position, color, spelling, grammer, usage, placement, photographs, typestyles, etc. It benefits everyone if errors are caught in the proofing stage rather than on the press or after the job is completed and delivered. Believe it our not, we don’t want to print your job twice. We are certain that you don’t want to pay for the job twice.

How do I go about getting an estimate from you?

Use our online estimate request form. Otherwise, the best way to ensure that we get all the information to do an accurate quote is to give us a call and talk with us directly. We will be happy to ask all the questions necessary and get all the answers needed to give you an accurate price for your job.