Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions about print and mail, we’ve got the answers.
We’ve complied a list of questions we get asked a lot to help you find the answers you’re looking for.
If you have more questions or want more information, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What type of products and services do you provide?
We are a full service commercial printer and mailing shop. We offer a wide range of products and services under digital, offset, web, and large format printing, mailing and fulfillment, and design.
Do you offer political campaign printing and mailing services?
Absolutely! We are a one-stop, no hassle solution to all your political campaign print, mail, and distribution needs.
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How long does it take to complete my order?
Turnaround times often depend on the scope of the project and volume of current work. If you are working with a deadline, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
We go to great lengths to meet even your most demanding timelines.
What is the best file format for submitting a document for printing?
The most common and preferred file format for submitting files for printing is a PDF. Most other file formats such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Microsoft Word are easily converted to PDF format.
What is a proof and why is it important?
A proof is a one-off copy of your document after any modifications and printing setup processes have been completed. It can come to you in either a digital format or a physical copy. Reviewing a proof is your last, and best, opportunity to make sure your print job will be produced the way you envisioned.
Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my monitor?
Sometimes noticeable differences in color can occur from screen to print. This is because printers and monitors produce color in different ways. Monitors use the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, which usually supports a wider spectrum of colors. Printers use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model, which can reproduce most–but not all– of the colors in the RGB Color model. Depending on the equipment used, CMYK generally matches 85-90% of the colors in the RGB model. This is just another reason why proofs are important in our process!
Is white considered a printing color?
Not typically. Since white is the default color of paper, it is simply recognized as the absence of ink. However, if you are looking to print onto a dark colored stock or material, we do have the capability to print using white ink. Please give us a call to learn more about white ink for your next project.
What are different grades of paper and their respective basis weight?
The basis weight of a given grade of paper is defined as the weight (in pounds) of 500 standard-sized sheets of paper. With that in mind, here are different examples of paper grades and their respective basis weights.
Bond – Most commonly used for letterhead, business forms, and copying. Typical basis weights are 16# for forms, 20# for copying, and 24# for stationary.
Text – A high quality grade paper with surface texture. Basis weights range from 60# to 100#, with the most common being 70# or 80#.
Uncoated Book – The most common grade for offset printing. Typically 50# to 70#.
Coated Book – This has a glossy finish that yields vivid colors. Basis weights range from 30# to 70# for web press, and 60# to 110# for sheet press.
Cover – Used in creating business cards, postcards, and book covers. Can be either coated or uncoated. Basis weights for this grade are 60#, 80# or 100#.
What is the difference between coated and uncoated stock?
Coated stock is a premium, high-quality paper that has a smooth, coated finish designed for documents that require sharp details and vivid colors. The most common coated stock has a glossy finish – however, dull and matte finishes are also available. Uncoated paper is porous and best suited for black and white or spot color documents.
What are the types of bindings I can use for multi-page projects?
Some common methods of binding for books or other multi-page documents include:
Perfect Binding – Gluing the outside edges of the pages together to create a flat edge
Saddle Stitching – Using staples along the folds of the pages to bind them together
Spiral Binding – Wires in a spiral form threaded through punched holes along the binding edge of the papers. Allows the document to lay flat when opened.
Plastic Comb Binding – Similar to spiral binding, but uses a tubular plastic piece with teeth that fit through rectangular holes punched into the binding edge.
Three-Ring Binding – Holes are punched into the pages and fitted into a binder.
Case Binding – Sewing the pages together and then attaching them to a hard cover.
What paper types do you offer?
We have a large collection of “house” stocks in our production area. If you have a specific style in mind, we can check our in-house inventory to see if our selection is able to meet your needs or we can procure the stock you have specified. Keep in mind that special stocks or materials may require a longer lead time than in-house stock.
Common Printing Terms
Bind: To fasten sheets with wire, thread, glue, or by any other means
Binding: A name given for any of many procedures used to put pages together
Bleed: Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet. Trimming is required to make the printing run to the edge of the sheet.
Collate: To put pages in a certain order for binding
Color Correction: Methods of improving color separations and definition.
Cover Paper: A heavy printing paper
Side-Stitching: Stapling through the spine from front to back. The publication will not lay flat when opened.
Crop: To trim a picture, image, or printed sheet
Crop Marks: Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
Die Cutting: The process of cutting paper in a shape or design by the use of a wooden die or block with positioned steel rules in the shape of the desired pattern
Digital Printing: Fast and high-quality print on a variety of media options allow for personalized messages printed on our digital presses. This service offers flexibility and a fast turnaround time.
Embossing: The molding and reshaping of paper by the use of special metal dies and heat, counter dies and pressure, to produce a raised image on the paper surface.
Foil: Thin metal sheet that is applied to paper using the foil stamping process.
Font: The characters which make up a complete typeface and size
Gloss: A shiny paper coating that reflects light
Gripper: A series of metal fingers that hold each sheet of paper as it passes through the printing press
Gripper Edge: The side of a piece of paper held by the gripper fingers as it passes through a printing press. Nothing can be printed in this area.
Gutter: A blank space or margin between components on a printed piece or press sheet.
Hickey: The effect that occurs when a spec of dust or debris (frequently dried ink) adheres to the printing plate and creates a spot or imperfection in the printing
Kerning: The narrowing of space between two letters so that they become closer and take up less space on the page
Laid Finish: A parallel lined paper that has a handmade look
Laminate: To cover with protective film. Also used to bond or glue one surface to another
Large Format Printing: Large format printing is capable of printing anything from custom vehicle wraps to banners and posters, no matter the size and scope of your project.
Leading: Space between lines of type. The distance in points between one baseline and the next
M Weight: The actual weight of 1000 sheets of any given size of paper
Make-Ready: Paper that is used in the press set-up process before the printing run actually starts.
Matte Finish: Dull paper or ink finish
Offset Printing: Printing which involves a plate that makes an inked impression on a rubber-blanketed cylinder, which, in turn, transfers it to the paper. Offset printing allows for seamless print jobs at the most affordable price. Excellent for high volume and consistent quality.
Pagination: The numbering of individual pages in a multi-page document
Parent Sheet: A sheet that is larger than the cut stock of the same paper
Perfect Binding: An unsewn, flat-spined book binding made with glue
Pica: A typesetting unit of measurement equaling 1/6th of an inch
PMS: The abbreviation for Pantone Color Matching System
PPI: Pages per inch or pixels per inch
Press Check: When a client visits a printing company to view actual printed sheets of their project before the full production run starts
Process Color: This term describes full color printing (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and is also known as four color process.
Ream: 500 sheets of paper
Register Marks: Any crossmarks or other symbols used on a press sheet to assure proper registration.
Resolution: The degree of sharpness of a computer-generated image as measured by the number of dots her linear inch in a hard-copy printout or, the number of pixels across and down on a display screen
Rich Black: Using multiple ink colors in addition to black to produce a deep, dark black color. Common CMYK values used are 30% Cyan, 20% Magenta, 20% Yellow and 100% Black.
Saddle Stitching: A type of binding that uses wire stapling at the center of a magazine or pamphlet
Score: Creasing paper to help it fold more neatly
Sheetwise: The printing of two different images on two different sizes of a sheet of paper by turning the sheet over after the first side is printed, using the same gripper and side guides.
Side Guide: The guides on the sides of a printing press that consistently positions the sheet sideways as it is fed through the press.
Signature: A printed sheet with multiple pages on it that is folded so that the pages are in the proper numbered sequence, as in a book.
Spot Colors: Refers to printing a single color
Trim Marks: Marks placed on the printed sheet to indicate where the cuts should be made
Trim Size: The final size of a printed piece after being cut from the sheet of paper that it was printed on.
UV Coating: A very shiny and durable high gloss coating applied to printed material. It is applied as a liquid then cured with ultraviolet light.
Varnish: A clear coating added to printed material as a protective layer for improved scuff resistance and usually higher gloss
Web Press: A printing press that prints on rolls of paper passed through the press in one continuous piece, as opposed to individual sheets of paper.
Work and Turn: A printing production format that has the front and back of a printed piece on one side of paper, that is then printed the same on the backside, producing two copies of the piece.
Zip File: Zipping a file compresses one or more files into a smaller archive. It takes up less hard drive space and less time to transfer across a network or the internet.