Browse Our Frequently Asked Questions
What is offset printing?
Offset printing is a technique where the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process (which is based on the repulsion of oil and water), the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing area ink-free.
What are the advantages of offset printing?
- Consistent high-quality images. Offset printing produces sharper and cleaner images and type than digital printing.
- The print quality is generally better then in digital printing.
- Works on a wide range of printing surfaces, including paper, wood, cloth, metal, leather, rough paper and plastic.
- Cheaper for high volume printing. The overall price per printed piece drops.
- Wide color gamut. Offset printing can accurately reproduce colors from the pantone matching system,
- While digital methods only simulate pantone color using four-color printing.
What is digital printing?
Digital printing is a method of printing in which the data and images are printed directly from the computer onto paper.
What are the advantages of digital printing?
- Cheaper low volume printing. While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than with offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for small print runs.
- Faster turnaround time.
- Variable data printing.
- Better for the environment. Digital printing uses dry ink or toner, which doesn’t emit any vocs in printing. Also, this printing method produces much less paper waste then offset, because the set-up time is shorter.
How big is the quality difference between offset and digital printing?
The quality difference can vary from almost negligible to significant. Most photographs and text will reproduce well on our high-end digital press. However, if a job has large solid areas of color, offset printing will achieve much better print quality. Although we print on the best digital presses available on the market, we cannot guarantee offset-quality printing on all short run jobs.
I'm still not sure which printing method should I choose?
We recommend that you use offset printing if:
- Quality is your main concern.
- You require high-volume printing (e.g., more then 250 business cards and 1000 brochures).
- You want to print on paper thicker then 14 pt.
- The size of the finished product is larger then 12″x18″
We recommend that you use digital printing if:
- You need a short turnaround time (shorter then 5 business days).
- You require low-volume printing (e.g., less then 250 business cards and 1000 brochures).
- You need variable data printing.
Will you send me a proof before the printing is started?
Yes, if you order one. We can provide you with a soft proof or hard proof for color critical jobs. The soft proof will be sent via email. For color critical orders, we recommend requesting a hard proof, which is shipped to you via overnight mail.
Can I print with PMS (pantone matching system) or other special inks?
Yes, we can, however, in order to reduce wash ups and vocs, we prefer printing with process inks.
What file formats do you require? How do I set up my files correctly?
We need a 1-up, press-ready pdf file with crop marks and bleed. Please see the “preparing pdf files” section of this web page for information about creating press-ready pdfs.
What are crop marks?
Crop marks are printed or drawn lines indicating where the paper should be cut to produce the correct page size.
Do I have to draw crop marks manually?
No. Any desktop publishing software can create crop marks automatically when you export your file into a pdf. In this case, you have to make sure that the trim size is the same as your document size. For example, if the final trimmed size of your business card is 3.5″ x 2″ then your document size must be the same.
Do I have to impose my artwork myself?
No. All files are imposed automatically by our workflow. If you submit the imposed file yourself, chances are that we will have to break it apart and re-impose it.
What is bleed?
If any element on your document layout makes contact with the document border you will have to use bleed. The trick is to place the element so that it goes over the border where the document will be cropped after printing.
The term bleed is used for all objects overlapping the border of your document.
Should I convert my files into CMYK?
Yes, if possible please convert all colors into CMYK.
What resolution should I use for the images in my artwork?
We recommend that all images be saved at 300 dpi.
Security and Privacy Questions
Do you keep credit card information on file?
No. For your security, we don’t keep any credit card information on file.
Is your website secure?
Yes. Our secure checkout system uses the latest secure server technology. Your order is submitted and retrieved with a secure connection to our server and remains secure at all times.
Will you share my information?
Absolutely not. We keep all customer information internal. Occasionally, you may receive offers and announcements from the print shop via e-mail. You may unsubscribe from these messages at any time.
Custom Quote Questions
How long does it take to receive a custom quote?
This depends on the complexity of your quote request. The vast majority of our estimates are done within 24 hours.
How long are your estimates valid for?
Estimates expire after 30 days. The estimate will be available on our website for that period of time and it will be removed after it expires. After that period we’ll have to re-do the estimate.
How do I proceed after i receive an estimate from you?
Once your estimate is complete, you will receive a link to the web page with your estimate. After you have finished reviewing the estimate, please add it to your shopping cart, upload your files and proceed to checkout.
How do I check the status of my quote request?
Please select “quotes” from “my account” menu to check the status of your quote request.
Can't I just email you all the information instead of using a custom quote form?
Yes, you can. However, we will respond much faster if you fill out the custom quote form. This form contains all the information we need to complete the estimate. If you send us an email, there is a chance that you might forget a piece of information that is necessary to complete the estimate.