Wise words: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" it is no surprise to me that Ben Franklin ran a print shop!!
FEES: Yes, we do need to charge to handle files -- we are in the business of selling our time (service) as well as the end product (the booklets or imprinted shirts, etc). You can help us keep this fee to a minimum by reviewing our information and discussing your project with us BEFORE you start. Some examples are given here, but keep in mind that depending on how many you are getting, method used to reproduce your piece – different file set-ups and formats could apply.
REMINDER: we do have a complete Art Department in-house and several graphic artists on-staff -- we can create the necessary files for you if you aren't sure how to do this yourself.
Call us today at: 906-482-3903 or 800-637-7808
NEW HOURS: Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00 EST
Located at: 224 Shelden Avenue Houghton, Michigan
Guides! click to enlarge...
you can Control-Click to Save As (on a Mac) to print these
1-out Business Card:
8-out Business Card:
3-Panel Brochure, or a 3-out Rack Card (no bleed):
3-Panel Brochure (with bleed):
Example of Vector Art:
More guides and explanations can be made available... input on such is welcomed!
THIS PAGE IS BEING REPLACED BY "Be Savvy" check out that page as well!! Thank you for your patience as we flesh that new one out! This is an always changing and expanding section of our website, and it is never completely full and up to date -- make sure to always discuss your job with us BEFORE YOU START
A quality end-product is our main concern... The right kind of files are a necessary means to this end.
What We Use: We operate in OSX and OS9 (really, it is quite the dependable workhorse operating system), we also have a PC running XP.
On the PC we have: • Open Office • Acrobat 9 (eventually we hope to have MS Publisher again, call or email in advance if that's what you are using)
On the Macs we live and breath in: • Adobe Photoshop (up to CS4) • Adobe Illustrator (up to CS4) • QuarkXPress (up to v7) We also have a copy of InDesign (CS3), but we don't live in it so can only go so far to help troubleshoot if the event arises. There is also an older copy of Word (save your files as .doc though, not .docx) We are also running Open Office on the newest Mac too!
We can access files from many different programs if they are sent to us as high quality Jpegs or properly saved PDF files. If you haven't started your project yet, let me interject: AVOID WORD. It is not stable (even once PDFed) between computers, and it is much more difficult to manipulate a layout in than a real layout program (like Quark) or even MS Publisher. We take Word.doc files regularly, but its more likely to misbehave than not. Open Office appears to be much more stable then Word, even when saving as PDFs.
Properly "Constructed" Files: Regardless if you are working on a small booklet, a larger perfect-bound (paperback) book, a multi-panel cascading fold down brochure, a large foldable trail map, or even a run of business cards -- to a design for t-shirts or vehicle graphics, or perhaps a billboard -- be aware that we have a variety of different file guidelines that need to be followed in order for the layout to become truly PRINT-READY.
How it needs to be constructed will be determined by a number of factors. Examples include: number of pages, final quantity needed (which affects the method of printing used) if it will be black ink only or full-color, or a mixture, is it a rush job we have to do in-house, or might we get a better price for you if time allows us to outsource to one of our associates with a larger press. Every angle needs to be known before we even know how it should be constructed.
Once the detail is known and the final method is determined we can then offer guidance, perhaps even templets that you will need in order to create a fully functioning print-ready file. NOTE: we do offer training, and troubleshooting, in addition to standard consulting - some of it we will waive the time on, but depending on the situation we may to charge for our time. Please consult with us in advance BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR PROJECT as sometimes our "fix-it" fees far exceed what we would have charged to create the print-ready file in the first place.
Bleeds: If you want your image to extend off the sheet, the file must be created with "bleeds". A bleed is the term for overhanging artwork (background color, photos, etc.). Typically we extend our bleeds out beyond the final trim by no less than 1/4" (absolute minimum of 1/8"). Keep in mind that we need extra paper to produce these bleeds – if you want your final piece of paper to be 8.5"x11" we will have to print on larger paper (like 9"x12") which is not as economical as using standard letter size sheets, or, your final piece will be just under 8"x10.5" if trimmed down from a letter size sheet. Besides making sure that your artwork extends beyond the trim, we will need you to provide "crop marks" showing us where to cut the item.
Crop Marks: If you have a postcard or business cards that we will run multiple cards on a sheet (depending on quantity desired, etc.), and if you want to save our time in doing the multi-up layout, you will have to be sure to allow "trim space" of 1/2" between items. You will also need to learn what size sheet we will be printing onto and how many out we want the file set up for. Please refer to our Business Card Guides to get a better idea of what we require.
PowerPoint: If you don't have a copy of Photoshop you can submit high resolution Jpegs to us from PowerPoint, however, there are a few cautionary notes we advise you follow. Do your layout to actual print size (if you want a 36"x48" do not send us an 8.5"x11" layout as enlarging that will automatically, proportionally drop your resolution). Do not send us a PDF from PowerPoint (they tend to hiccup). Screen resolution is 72dpi (PowerPoint's default), print resolution is 300dpi to 600dpi. Once you've "Saved As, Jpeg, 300dpi" - open that Jpeg to make sure the fonts are not choppy, that the colors didn't weird out, etc.
InDesign Tints: When you want to soften/tint a color, avoid layering white over the color to achieve this, instead simply tint screen the color itself (white transparent layers don't always PDF correctly and can be "lost" when rendering to various output devices, making the color underneath come out full strength, no longer softenend, or the top white layer will come out 100% opaque white, completely blocking out the image that is under it).
Illustrator Fonts and Layers: Make an extra copy of your file with "OUT" on the end of the name (prior to the .eps or .ai) to indicate that fonts have been "outlined" - and then in this copy select all text and do "Create Outlines". This way we won't require your fonts. If there is any chance that we may need to do future edits on this file, send us the outlined file, along with one labeled "TYPE" which is still text, and include all the fonts used in the job (both screen and print versions). When you send us files make sure the document is NOT LOCKED, not write protected, and that the layers are all active (please use as few layers as possible, and avoid transparent layers if you can).
Pantone Colors: If we are printing your item using a CMYK output method (majority of full-color printing is done this way) it is recommended that your logo's Pantone Colors be converted to CMYK color mode (in Adobe Illustrator select one color at a time during conversion). Make sure to let us know what Pantone number was originally assigned to the different elements of your logo too.
Black Text and Art: In order to achieve a true black with crisp clean type and art (within a full-color print run) your artwork must use: 0% Cyan, 0% Magenta, 0% Yellow and 100% Black. Otherwise if your "black" is a mixture of colors, it could turn warm, looking brownish, or cold, with purple or blue hues, instead of true black, plus it will look a bit blurry as fine elements will be impossible to perfectly register.
If you have a large area of black, (say the background of your cover is all black with a small inset photo), then you MAY need to use "Rich Black" instead. If we run on our Xerox stay with 100% true black, but, if your job will be run using inks on a press, it should have the following values: 30% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 10% Yellow and 100% Black (this will allow for uniform ink coverage, using only black in this situation can result in uneven ink coverage, and a background that is not as dark as it could be).
Gather ALL Related Files: Make sure all related files are put into a folder for us. Most programs have a "Pack and Go" or "Submit for Print", "Collect for Output" feature. Make sure once you've used this, that it indeed collected all of your photos, logos and fonts. Check your links palette to make sure that all images are updated and not missing. CAUTION: Anything imported must have the original LINKED ITEM in the folder before it can be sucessfully moved from your computer to another, otherwise this linked data will be missing once on a different computer. Spreadsheet and Database imports are the most likely to fail (as we obviously don't have your company's Database on our computer) – for these items it is better to create screen shots of the desired chart. If you cannot create a screen shot, make a PDF, and then open that PDF into PhotoShop or another raster based photo program, then save it as a high resolution Jpeg that you would then place into your layout.
Portable Document Format (PDF): Or as I have called it for decades now: Possessed Document Format - it's not always foolproof and some files behave like there's a gremlin inside (one day printing okay, the next day not)!! Behavior of your PDF will be dependent on many factors: Do you have fonts that may be corrupt? (Copies of copies, or free fonts are the most misbehaved.) Did you choose "embed fonts" option? Did you use Tiffs versus Jpegs? (Tiffs can be moody within a PDF, Jpegs are usually stable). Do you have transparent layers in your document? (See note under InDesign.) Did you try to use imported Spreadsheet info in your layout? Did you use filters in Word and then dragged these images into the other program? (These last two items would look okay on your computer but not be supported once it leaves your computer.) Did you move items in and out of folders at the last minute?? (Links will be lost.)
Once you have happy files ready to PDF, there are a few ways you can create one... first look in your program for a "Save As" or "Export"... or "Print to Distiller". If none of those are available, you can use one of the items linked below. Note: if you are making a PDF for a large quantity, full-color piece, choose "PDF/X-1a:2001" where possible (and in Quark, turn off OPI). Once you've made your PDF we highly recommend trying a little "pre-flight" test of your own - by opening your PDF on a different computer. This way if there are hiccups you may discover them before submitting file for printing, saving time and money. www.primopdf.com www.freepdfconvert.com or try Adobe's trial
CAD: We can take CAD files in place of Adobe Illustrator files for vector based art. Some CAD programs have a "Save As" or "Export To" feature, choose Adobe Illustrator or .eps or .ai (then if you have Illustrator, open your converted file into Illustrator to double check that it converted okay). At this point please refer to comments on Adobe Illustrator above.
With some software you maybe have to go through more steps, especially true with mapping software. Be sure to make a copy of your CAD file, and in this copy remove all unnecessary layers and surrounding information, then save to (perhaps as Export under File) Adobe Illlustrator v3.0 -- this extremely low version saving will remove nearly all programming information, giving us a well behaved file (any versions larger then this will retain information that Illustrator can struggle to interpret). Be aware that hidden layers in these types of programs can "pop up" (in whole or in part) even once a PDF has been generated, and aren't always seen on screen or in test prints (they will come and go at will), therefore it is recommended that you provide Jpegs (resolution no less then 300 dpi if you have type smaller then 12 pt) especially for large format output of architectural renderings
Proofs: We prefer that you proofread a hardcopy sample before we begin production, so you can double check that the PDF (or other file type you send us) has stayed stable before we run off your order - this also affords you the opportunity to make sure the colors, clarity, etc., are as you expect them to be. NOTE: laptops and other flat screen monitors do not show a true picture of how a piece will look once printed. Also note that your office printer, especially if it's an inkjet, will not give the same output as a PostScript output machine (whether digital or traditional lithography methods are used).
Color is Relative: What you see on your monitor will not look the same once the design hits the paper... what is printed in your office may not be representational of how the final pressrun will look. Images may come out looking lighter on an actual press, or darker if run on our Xerox -- if you have a very large project (especially if it's thousands of copies of hundreds of pages with many photos), you might want to have a consulting/test-print done via our Art Department when you first begin your project. This way you will learn what adjustments you might need to make to get the results you hope to achieve.
Getting Files to Us: Well if we haven't scared you away by now - wonderful!! You passed the first trial of a layout person's endurance test!! If your final file is less then 5mb it should be easily emailable (email addresses can be found on our CONTACT page). If your file is larger you can bring it in on a thumbdrive/flashdrive/keychain drive (all the same gizmo) making sure to have one obvious folder just for us. You can burn a CD (just make sure to close session when doing so, "Burn CD", not just "Burn Files" or "Burn Session" as the latter two do not close out the CD so another computer can read it). You can also use one of the following options: www.wetransfer.com www.dropbox.com www.dropsend.com