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Tips & Checklist

Printing Guide & Design Tips

Design Tips
Printing Checklist
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Process Colors (CMYK)

CMYK is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black), which is the standard color mode used in four-color printing. These colors are combined to create a wide range of accurate colors that produce high quality printed products.

This process is similar to what you see on your computer screen. The main difference is that your computer only uses RGB (Red, Green, Blue) while we use CMYK. In RGB, white is the additive combination of all colored lights, while black is the absence of light. In the CMYK model, it is just the opposite: white is the natural color of the paper or other background, while black results from a full combination of colored inks.

In order to obtain a high quality printed product, every image must be converted from RGB to CMYK before printing. This will ensure the best color combination and final printed product.

Spot Colors

In offset printing, spot colors are used to match a specific color that you want to more accurately represent, such as a logo on a business card or letterhead. The most widely used system in the marketplace is the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The Pantone System boasts thousands of colors for you to choose from on a variety of substrates so that you can accurately select the color you desire.


Choosing the appropriate paper for your project can be overwhelming. Who knew that a single sheet could have so many options? We put together a detailed list of paper features to help you during your selection process.

Gloss vs. Silk
The main difference between gloss & silk is the type of coating on the paper. Gloss will accentuate your colors while Silk will dull your color.

The property in which an image shows through the paper on the back side of a piece. The lower the opacity of paper, the more the reader will see what is underneath. A more opaque paper will prevent the latter from happening.

Stock Thickness
Some projects require a thicker stock, such as postcards and business cards. Generally speaking, thick paper is more resistant and can be perceived by the recipient as being higher in quality. The right paper thickness depends on your specific project, but as a rule of thumb, postcards, business cards, club cards and brochures will need paper that is thicker than a stock used for a flyer.

The brightness of a paper is a measure of how well it reflects ambient light. The right brightness will help your printing appear more vivid. Generally, the brighter the stock the more expensive it is. Beware of light weight stocks, due to the fact that the brighter the paper the worse the opacity.

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Design Tips


To ensure that an image or background extends to the edge of your piece, the image must extend at least 1/8’’ (0.125) beyond the final dimensions.

Type Safety

In order to guarantee that type or pertinent information will not be cut off in the finishing process, please give yourself 1/4’’ (0.25) safety from the edge of the final dimensions of your piece.


Is the process of applying a protective coating to your printed product. Varnish also makes your print brighter, and more durable. Just like paper, there are various types of varnish (gloss & satin). When used properly, they can make the end product more visually appealing.

Finishing Methods

Depending on the nature of your project, you may want consider additional methods that will make your product appear more professional and often useful.

Saddle-Stitch: This binding method features one or more staples in the spine of the book or booklet, and is usually applied to booklets, calendars, notepads and catalogs

Perforation: This method, which takes place on a binder machine, creates a line of small dotted holes that will allow a portion of the printed piece to be torn off (usually along straight line).

Hole Drilling: This process is used on materials that are intended to be stored in binders, and is typically used on personal planners, inserts and calendar.s

Die cut: This process of cutting paper in non-traditional shapes (i.e. Oval) is often used in books, brochures, direct mailers and folders.

Foil Stamping: This method adheres foil to the paper to create a design on a printed piece. Foil stamping can be combined with embossing to create a more striking 3D image. Business cards and pocket folders are generally foil stamped.

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Printing Checklist

Before submitting your project, we recommend that you review our checklist. This will ensure that your final product will be processed properly and delivered to you on time.

Extend Bleeds: Bleed is a printed image, graphic or background that extends beyond the trim edge. For cutting purposes, bleeds must extend 1/8’’ beyond intended trim.

Type Safety: Text must be at least 1/4’’ (0.25’’) inside the trim edge.

Image Resolution: All color & grayscale images are 300 dpi at 100% of actual size.

Color: Images must be saved as CMYK. Please note that not converting an image from RGB to CYMK may produce unsatisfactory results.

Rich Black: Black backgrounds run best with a mixture of 40% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 20% Yellow and 100% Black.

Booklet work: Files must be arranged in printer spreads.

Color Proof: Every computer monitor is calibrated differently, which is why we recommend a hard copy proof for every piece that is color critical.

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