FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve worked hard to generate a list answers to make your printing experience the best possible. We encourage you to take a look through these FAQs. If you don’t find what you are looking for, contact us, we’d be happy answer your questions.

What is FTP? When should I use it?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, and it is used to transfer files over the Internet direct to a server. While using FTP will not speed up the time it takes to transfer your file to us, it will allow you to send larger files that your ISP will not allow. Using FTP is just like copying your file from one computer to another. If you plan on sending a lot of graphic files over the Internet, use an FTP program. However, if you do use it, you have to let us know that you submitted a file to the FTP site – most FTP servers do not automatically send the owner a notification every time a new file is uploaded.

Why can't you use a PDF file that is created for use on the Internet?

While anyone can create a PDF file that looks good on the Internet, printers require a much more detailed PDF file in order for it to reproduce correctly on commercial presses – whether they are digital or conventional. As always, the most common problem is font substitution – if your file does not have the fonts embedded, anyone else who views your file might see fonts other than the ones you intended. Also, while the Internet is fine if you only want to see 256 different colors, your file may look vastly different when it is imaged on an offset web press that produces literally several million different color gradations. Just remember that the image you see on your screen or coming out of your desktop color printer will not be the same as one coming off the end of a commercial-grade offset press. To prevent this from happening use the correct job option settings when creating PDF files(check with us if you are not sure which settings to use), and be sure to only use high resolution graphic files when designing print documents.

Why can't you use our logo from our web site?

Websites are designed to load fast, and any graphic images on them need to be just good enough to look fine on a computer screen. Printers need files that have a much greater resolution than what is common on the web. While you may be able to print a decent quality image of a web site on your ink jet, if you try to print that same file on a typical high resolution offset or digital press, the results will be a poor quality output.

I use Quark. Do you still want a PDF or EPS file?

Adobe InDesign, Quark, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop are the most common graphic design programs in use by the printing industry. If you use any of these programs, you could send us native application files as long as you include any fonts and high resolution graphic images – also be sure that your color Management settings are correct. If you can send us a complete native application file in one of these common formats, then do so. Otherwise, stick with a PDF or EPS file.

E-mail Guidelines

When emailing files to Us, you need to include certain information in order for us to be able to use your file: Name and version of the software you used to create the form. List of the files you are sending. Indicate the fonts used and include them in your transmission. Indicate the file format – EPS, PS, PDF, Quark, etc and wheather it is a Mac or PC file. Mail or fax a hard copy of the document to us when the order is placed – we prefer the mailed hard copy as fax machines will distort the image (FAX 413-283-4403). Reference a quote number or job number if you have it. Use either WinZip , PKUnzip or StuffIt to compress the files before you send them. While we can handle large files on our email server, many commercial providers (i.e. Comcast, Verizon, AOL, MSN. etc) limit the size of the email file you can send.

Graphic Design Guidelines

Create your job with the zero point at the overall upper left of the form. Forms should include perf widths, stub widths and line holes in the overall dimensions of the form. Reference your PO number or our job number with each file. Your job must be entered before we can process the artwork. Make sure that you attach the file to the email you are sending. Do not paste your images into the email message as this will render it useless to us.
Some of the more common graphic design programs we support are

  • Adobe InDesign
  • Quark Xpress
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Word
Cross platform issues with Mac versus PC files

While many file types have no problem going from a PC to a Mac environment, there are a few things you should know about transferring files across platforms. File associations will not transfer automatically. Windows knows which program to open up a file with because of the filename extensions – .doc, .jpg, .tiff, and so on. Macintosh computers do not use this extension – they use an internal part of the file known as the resource fork. Therefore, a Mac user may not know which program to open a PC file with, and vice versa for a PC user. When you name a file on a Macintosh that is going to a PC, add the appropriate file extension. However, we see many more PC created files sent to us that we need to open on our Mac system. That is why it is imperative that we know what software was used to create the file – we might not be able to tell what kind of file it is just by the name. The best way to avoid cross-platform issues is to use PDF files. PDF files, when correctly created, will give you a consistent print image regardless of what type of system is being used. They also are easily recognized by both PC’s and Mac’s. While PDF files are an ideal solution for the print industry, there are wrong ways to create them – see our How to create PDF files page for detailed information.

Microsoft Publisher users

Microsoft Publisher has become a very common program for print designers. While Publisher does have some limitations, it can still be used to create print ready files. Though Publisher does allow for a “Pack and Go” option just for sending your file to a printer, you can also create very good quality EPS files that any printer can readily accept. A few items to remember – you must embed any graphic images as you create your piece, and you must embed the fonts as well. The fonts should automatically embed – just be aware that some fonts cannot be embedded and some font substitutions may occur. Publisher comes with the MS Publisher Imagesetter printer driver that works very well for creating EPS files. Use this driver to create your EPS file – for detailed instructions see our Creating EPS files page.

What is Variable Imaging?

Variable Imaging, by definition, is the printing of documents in which each one is personalized for the intended recipient. It can be as simple as just a name and address, but the real impact comes when other information is added to create a piece that includes information specific to the recipient.

Levels of Personalization
Variable Imaging can be divided into four distinct levels of personalization. The first and most basic level is the use of a name and address on the printed piece. The second level adds a certain amount of versioning, meaning each piece has other text or images that vary based on data specific to the recipient. The third level would include transactional information or data driven graphics (like a pie chart or graph illustrating data specific to the recipient). Lastly, the fourth level of Variable Imaging would be a document that was 100% variable – the layout, graphic images, and text would all change from piece to piece.
 
Levels of Personalization
Variable Imaging can be divided into four distinct levels of personalization. The first and most basic level is the use of a name and address on the printed piece. The second level adds a certain amount of versioning, meaning each piece has other text or images that vary based on data specific to the recipient. The third level would include transactional information or data driven graphics (like a pie chart or graph illustrating data specific to the recipient). Lastly, the fourth level of Variable Imaging would be a document that was 100% variable – the layout, graphic images, and text would all change from piece to piece.
 
Common Printing Terminology
Bleed – Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet after trimming.

CMYK – Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These are the four process colors used to produce full-color images.

Comb bind – To plastic comb bind by inserting the comb into punched holes.

EPS file – Encapsulated Postscript file, a standard format for importing and exporting PostScript language files in all environments. An EPS file can contain any combination of text, graphics, and images. An EPS file is the same as any other PostScript language page description, with some restrictions.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a method of transferring files directly from one computer to another via the Internet. Usually used in place of emailing graphic files to preserve integrity and insure transfer.

Halftone – Converting a continuous tone to dots for printing.

Indicia – Postal information place on a printed product.

PDF – Portable Document Format, a universal file format that can preserve all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. Adobe PDF files are compact and can be printed across various systems with no change in image integrity.

Pagination – How the individual pages in a document are separated into each page.

Perfect bound – When the pages of a book are held together by a cover glued to the spine and wrapped around to form the front and back covers – i.e. paperback books.

PMS – The abbreviated name of the Pantone Color Matching System.

Register – To position print in the proper position in relation to the edge of the sheet and to other printing on the same sheet.

Register marks – Cross-hair lines or marks on film, plates, and paper that guide strippers, platemakers, pressmen, and bindery personnel in processing a print order from start to finish.

Saddle stitch – Binding a booklet or magazine with staples in the seam where it folds.

Score – A crease put on paper to help it fold better.

Self cover – When the cover of a book is of the same stock as the text – implies that the cover is printed in the same process as the text. A self cover is included in the number of text pages, and are printed on the same stock and in the same color.

Spiral bound – Books bound with plastic or wire coils.

Trapping – The ability to print one ink over the other.

Trim marks – Similar to crop or register marks. These marks show where to trim the printed sheet.

Wire O – A bindery trade name for mechanical binding using double loops of wire through a hole.

Get Started on a Project

You can contact us by phone at 413-283-9356 or 413-583-5220, fax at 413-283-4403 or send message through our contact page. Visit us at 1791 Boston Rd, Springfield, MA and see for yourself who we are and what we can do for your printing needs.