Creative Image Experts FAQ
Products and Ordering
Can I order PMS color printing from you?
We suggest you get the best value for your dollar and go for full color. Since we are so efficient at producing high-quality 4-color work, 2-color pieces will be priced the same as 4-color. 2-color postcards and business cards will be converted to 4-color process equivalents before printing. We suggest that if the card is currently set up using PMS colors that the client make the correction themselves because colors tend to shift when converted from PMS to Process (CMYK). We generally would like the client to decide what color works for them.
Is there an extra charge for bleeds?
No. Unlike many other companies, all our prices include full bleeds free of charge.
What kind of paper will my job be printed on?
We use 14PT or 16PT premium stock with UV coating on full color side(s).
How well will my job match what I see on my monitor?
Most people are surprised at how well their job matches what they see. But because of wide differences in monitor calibration, personal preferences and the different technologies used, some printed colors may not exactly match the colors on a specific monitor.
Will you match a sample I print out on my own printer or a previously printed sample?
We offer fast turnaround and low pricing by printing to a "pleasing color" standard, using standard ink densities. Therefore, there is no guarantee that your finished piece will approximate your printed sample. This is due in part to the widely varying results from different output devices including inkjet and laser printers, continuous tone proofing devices, high-resolution film-based proofs and offset lithography. Even from one commercial printing firm to another, there can be significant differences in results. In particular, inkjet and laser prints are known to look substantially different than true offset lithography.
How long does it take for me to get the proof of my job?
Once you have placed your order, you should receive a PDF of your file within 24-48 hours after we receive your completed order.
What is your turnaround time on business cards or postcards?
Approximately 3-5 business days from date of approval from the client.
What is meant by bleed?
Bleed is the area outside the trim area of a document in which graphical elements are printed. This area is then trimmed off, resulting in color going all the way to edge of the piece. If you didn't bleed elements and instead placed them up to the boundaries of the trim area, irregularities encountered during cutting might produce a piece where a thin line of unprinted stock shows along one or more edges. And that could ruin the overall effectiveness of the card's design. Standard bleed is 1/8 inch.
I need cards but I can't design them myself. Can you help?
Yes, we specialize in custom design cards. We offer design services for an additional fee. Additional text changes in the future are not included with the initial design setup charge.
What is meant by linescreen?
Simply put, linescreen is how tightly the individual printing dots that make up a printed piece are placed on the paper. A fine linescreen, like we use, minimizes the appearance of the dots resulting in a smoother image.
What is meant by CMYK?
Full color printing is generally done with only four colors; cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. CMYK is just another way to say process, or full color, printing. All elements to be printed must be separated into the four color channels. Scanned color images are RGB. At some point , they must be separated; either automatically on the scanner or manually in an image editing program.
How do I view my proof?
Essentially, we email a PDF proof to the customer and they can view the proof to be sure they are designed to the customers request. We also assume they will proof all information and type are all correct. They then approve or request any changes throughout the process. Like we mentioned earlier we cannot guarantee that the color is going show correctly on your monitor. Therefore, if that is an issue we do offer to mail out a color sample that matches very closely to the final output.
What is the difference between the RGB and CMYK color space and why does it matter?
RGB refers to the primary colors of light: Red, Green and Blue, that are used in monitors, television screens, digital cameras and scanners. CMYK refers to the primary colors of pigment: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. These are the inks used on the press in "4-color process printing", commonly referred to as "full color printing".
The combination of RGB light creates white while the combination of CMYK inks creates black. Therefore, it is physically impossible for the printing press to exactly reproduce colors as we see them on our monitors.
Many programs have the capability to convert the layout/images from the RGB color space to the CMYK color space. We request that you convert your colors from RGB to CMYK if your tools allow you to. By doing it yourself, you have maximum control over the results.You may notice a shift in color when converting from RGB to CMYK. If you do not like the appearance in CMYK, we recommend that you make adjustments while working in CMYK (usually lightening). Generally, you should specify CMYK color builds that look a little lighter than you want since the dots of ink "fatten up" on press, giving you more pigment on paper than you see on your monitor. Be especially careful to keep backgrounds light if there is black or dark colored text over it so that the text remains readable.
How do I check for proper imposition or backup?
"Imposition" and "backup" refer to how the front of a printed piece is oriented to the back. In the case of a brochure, you normally turn it over right-to-left (like you turn the page of a book) in order to have the back side read correctly -- not upside down. Seems simple until you get to a postcard where one side is layed out in landscape (horizontal) orientation and the other side in portrait (vertical) orientation. We use our best judgement when imposing a job so that it backs up in the most natural or normal manner. Some designs, however, contain both portrait and landscape elements on both sides making it difficult to make a clear call. When reviewing your proof online, we will always post the front and the back in the orientation that they will print in relation to each other. So, if page 2 appears upside down, that is how it will be printed on the back of page 1. (Some people want it that way so that the recipient of the piece must turn it over top-to-bottom in order to read it correctly.) Be sure to print out a copy of your online proof and attach the two sides to each other to create a "mockup" or "dummy." This is especially important when a job will be folded.
Do I need to impose my business cards 8-up or 10-up if they will be printed more than 1 to a sheet?
No, send us a single layout for each card of your job unimposed. We will handle any imposition needed on our end.
How should I take pictures with my digital camera?
Digital cameras are wonderful tools that allow us to capture our images in many different ways. The camera is designed to actually take three pictures; one in red, one in green and the other in blue (similar to the way a projection TV works). It then combines the colors together and saves the image onto the picture card. It is very important to make sure that the camera is set to the highest quality setting possible. This means that if you can only save one image on the picture card instead of 12, 64 or 128 images, then this is good! You want to create the best quality picture that the camera can make. This will mean large file sizes and slow downloads from the camera itself, but it will get you the best possible results from your camera. Remember, images should be at 300dpi in their final size in the layout!
More often than not, we notice that images that come from digital cameras print darker than expected on the printing press. Check to see if you have a brightness option in your image editing program to lighten the entire piece. If you have the opportunity to change the color space from RGB (red, green, blue) to the printing press colors of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), then do so! It is always better to have you change the color space if you can than for us to do it. Remember, not all colors that you can see that are created by elements of light (RGB) can be created by the elements of ink (CMYK) on press. If you do not have this capability with your software, do not worry about it. We can change it for you. Finally, we recommend that you apply a little sharpening to the image. This will make the image a little crisper and will print better on press.
How can I tell what resolution the image from my digital camera is?
Some digital cameras will let you know what the image resolution is while others will tell you what the pixel dimensions of your image are. If you know what the pixel dimensions of your images are, either from the camera itself or through the image editing software, you can do a little math to determine the resolution and the size you can print the image at for clear and crisp printing.
Simply write down the pixel dimensions of your image and divide those numbers by 300, if the image does not include text, and 400 if the image does include text. For example: An image without any text has a pixel dimension of 600 x 900 pixels. Once each dimension is divided by 300 the result is 2 x 3 inches. This means that you can use this image at 2 x 3 inches or smaller in your layout for quality printing results.
If your image editing software does not tell you what the pixel dimensions are but it does tell you what the resolution is, then you know the maximum size you can use that image in your layout. We recommend that images be at 300dpi in their final size in the layout and 400dpi if the images include text. Please keep in mind that resolution and physical dimensions are in direct proportion to each other. If you have an image that is 2x2 at 300dpi and increase its size in the layout to 4x4 the new resolution is now 150dpi. So remember, when you bring an image in to your layout you can shrink it down in size (because the resolution will increase) but you will be limited as to how far you can increase it in size.