Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred (or “offset”) from a plate to a rubber blanket, 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 image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (called “fountain solution”), keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. The modern web process feeds a large reel of paper through a large press machine in several parts, typically for several metres, which then prints continuously as the paper is fed through.
Digital printing refers to methods of printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media. It usually refers to professional printing where small-run jobs from desktop publishing and other digital sources are printed using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods, but this price is usually offset by avoiding the cost of all the technical steps required to make printing plates. It also allows for on-demand printing, short turnaround time, and even a modification of the image (variable data) used for each impression. The savings in labour and the ever-increasing capability of digital presses means that digital printing is reaching the point where it can match or supersede offset printing technology’s ability to produce larger print runs of several thousand sheets at a low price.
Inkjet printing is a type of computer printing that recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper, plastic, or other substrates. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer, and range from small inexpensive consumer models to expensive professional machines.
Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received, allowing books to be printed singly, or in small quantities. While build to order has been an established business model in many other industries, “print on demand” developed only after digital printing began, because it was not economical to print single copies using traditional printing technology such as letterpress and offset printing.
Do you wish for each of your documents to be unique and to appeal to your customers individually? Variable-data printing is a form of digital printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or delaying the printing process. For example, a set of personalised invitations, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with a different name and address on each. Research has shown that customers respond significantly better to personalised mail than they do to standardised mail. As a direct marketing tool (one-to-one marketing), the variable data printing technique can also produce higher profits for businesses.
We only accept industry standard print-ready PDF format. Should your file be in another format, a set-up fee is chargeable in order to get the files ready for printing. If your file has bleed to the edges, make sure to include a 3mm bleed in your artwork. It is not necessary to include the crop marks as our technology will set-up the files correctly to print on our system.
We only accept Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Publisher, MS Word, MS Excel, Jpg and EPS Files. Please remember that we might not have all the same fonts or versions of the program on our system and this might cause some unforeseen changes on your document. That is why it is safer to send your file as a PDF so that you can make sure that everything is correct before sending it to us.
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Capture, or similar products. To view and use the files, you need the free Acrobat Reader, which you can easily download. Once you’ve downloaded the Reader, it will start automatically whenever you want to look at a PDF file.
PDF files are especially useful for documents such as magazine articles, product brochures, or flyers in which you want to preserve the original graphic appearance online. A PDF file contains one or more page images, each of which you can zoom in on or out from. You can page forward and backward.
There are many graphic file formats available and each format was developed for a specific use. The file formats developed for use in the printing industry are the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), as well as native Photoshop files. Graphics in other formats will need to be converted to TIFF or EPS.
While it’s true that we have a large font collection in-house and probably have fonts of the same name as those in your project, fonts from different manufacturers may not have the same characteristics even if they share the same name. These inconsistencies can produce unexpected output. The only way to guarantee correct output is for us to use the same fonts as you did, so please include your fonts.
In printing, your products are often printed on a larger sheet than the final product and then cut to size. If you have colours on your product that stretch to the edge of the document, it’s best to let those colours stretch, or “bleed” past the edge of the product size. That ensures your colours go all the way to the edge of your document. This is especially important in digital printing, as there is always a chance that the registration, as the paper goes through the machine will not match up 100% to the next sheet printing.
Let’s have a look at the example below:
A – Trim line: This is ultimately where your final product is going to be trimmed. For example, if we look at a business card, your standard trim size will be 90mm x 50mm.
B – Bleed: This area will be trimmed off your final product, but it is still important that your colours or images still flow over into this area or you might end with a product that has white edges where you did not want them.
C – Text bleed: We want to get the most of our marketing material, especially if the area is small and we have to give a lot of information, but always make sure that your text is not too close to the edges. We advise to never place text closer than 5mm of your final trim edge. For books we even advise at least 10 – 15mm away from the edges.
Resolution is measured in dots per inch (DPI). The more dots per inch, the sharper your image will be. For printed products, the minimum resolution is typically 300dpi. Sometimes your designer will advise you that your resolution is too low and that your images are pixelating. What do they mean by that?
Let’s have a look at these images.
The first image is a high-resolution image. You can see this by the sharpness and clarity of the image. These images will print very well and can be resized up to a point without losing quality.
The second image is a low-resolution image. The image look a little blurred and the edges aren’t as sharp as in the first image.
The third image is pixelated. Here you can see clearly what we mean by dots per inch. Each image is compiled by millions of pixels. Each pixel contains data that describe whether it should be rendered as black, white, or a level of colour. The more pixels you have, or the higher the resolution, the clearer the image will be.
There is no way a designer can make a low resolution image look better or sharper. That is why it is important to always use high quality images.
A vector graphic is defined in a mathematical nature, which makes it resolution-independent. This means it can be printed clearly at any size. A bitmap image is formed by a rectangular grid of small squares, known as pixels. Each pixel contains data that describe whether it should be rendered as black, white, or a level of colour. Bitmap graphics are resolution-dependent and can appear jagged or lose detail if they are created at a low resolution and then enlarged or printed at a higher resolution.
Here you can see the difference between a bitmap and a vector.
Bitmap graphics are typically created by pixel-based image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop. Additionally, bitmap graphics are generated from digital cameras and scanners.
Yes. Software such as Adobe Illustrator may be able to convert bitmap images to vector images. Vector images can be converted to bitmap images by opening them with Adobe Photoshop. Please note that converting a vector image to a bitmap image is rarely necessary, removes the resolution-independence of vector graphics, and should only be done if you have a very specific reason to convert the graphic.
Photoshop can increase the resolution of a low-resolution image, but increasing the resolution of an image scanned or created at a lower resolution only spreads the original pixel information across a greater number of pixels and rarely improves image quality.
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) files act as a container for transferring graphic information. When illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator creates an EPS file, it is a vector EPS. When pixel-based image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop creates an EPS file, it is a bitmap EPS.
While copy and paste is supported by most software, you will have much more predictable results by creating a link to your graphic. The graphic then remains outside of your document and is referenced as needed. Please refer to your software’s documentation for full details about creating links to your graphics.
When we paste an image into a Microsoft application it immediately compresses the resolution of the image. This means that you lose quality and the image will not be as big and print as sharp as the original image. That is why it is best to send the original jpg or tiff file to your designer.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (actually, the K stands for “key”…which is black). The process involves combining varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to produce a full spectrum of colour.
Yes, the colour mode does matter because everything is printed in CMYK colours. If your files are in RGB mode, they will need to be converted to CMYK. Converting colours is a tricky business because although they both produce colour, RGB and CMYK are as different as apples are to orangutans! There are many formulas for converting RGB colours to CMYK colours, and they all produce results that are very similar, but not spot-on. If colour accuracy is vital to your project, it is best to consult with us early in the process to plan for the best colour conversion possible.
If your files are not in CMYK mode, they will need to be converted. You can convert them yourself, or we can do it for you. Because RGB and CMYK modes are so different, it is common for some colour shifting to occur due to the conversion process, though it is often quite minor. If you convert the files you will be able to confirm ahead of time if the conversion process produces acceptable colours. If you have us convert the files for you, we recommend that you view a printed proof before we complete your order, so you can see ahead of time how the converted colours will appear on the page. Proofing adds a step to the production process, so you’ll need to plan for that if you choose to have us convert your colours for you.
Yes. Light can have a major effect on the appearance of a colour. A printed colour can look quite different when viewed in florescent lighting compared to sunlight. In a similar way, colours on your computer monitor can look different under different lighting conditions. For best results, try to keep your work environment’s lighting as consistent as possible.
The colour on your screen may also differ from the colour on your designer’s screen and even on the final print product. This is because each screen is calibrated differently and the only way to be sure of the correct match is to buy calibration software for your computer. There is also a drastic difference in colour between litho and digital printing, the reason being that there are two different print processes. In digital, the ink generally creates a layer on top of the paper whereas with litho the ink is absorbed into the paper.