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FAQ of offset printing service

Published Time:2016-03-17 Original Source:printing FAQ
FAQ of offset printing service
 
How do I Convert to CMYK if my document is RGB?
 
 Commercially printed documents must be submitted in CMYK. Unfortunately many design applications available to the general consumer do not have a way to convert images from RGB to CMYK. This is especially true of those programs that come prepackaged with most computers. Some printers can convert the document for you when it reaches the printing stage, but with color shifts bound to happen it’s best to send your files in CMYK so there isn’t a color shift issue (See example below). The most significant differences will be noted in blocks of color – photographs can usually convert after the fact with little noticeable difference to the untrained eye.
 
 Professional programs from Adobe – like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign – as well as brands like Quark and Corel can convert to CMYK. Using consistent color settings and the right profiles, Photoshop can convert images from RGB to CMYK successfully.Other image editing applications geared toward professional designers can also complete the task. 
 
If you don’t own a program that converts to CMYK ask around. Perhaps a friend or business associate has a program. We’re not suggesting you pirate software but perhaps your friend wouldn’t mind converting an image or two for you. If that doesn’t work then we suggest you talk to a graphic designer. If you’re only planning to do a couple of projects the expense of having a designer set your file is much better than the aggravation you’ll face trying to be a designer without the right tools. Save yourself the time and hire a pro.
 
How do I Convert to CMYK if my document is RGB?
 
 Commercially printed documents must be submitted in CMYK. Unfortunately many design applications available to the general consumer do not have a way to convert images from RGB to CMYK. This is especially true of those programs that come prepackaged with most computers. Some printers can convert the document for you when it reaches the printing stage, but with color shifts bound to happen it’s best to send your files in CMYK so there isn’t a color shift issue (See example below). The most significant differences will be noted in blocks of color – photographs can usually convert after the fact with little noticeable difference to the untrained eye.
 
 Professional programs from Adobe – like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign – as well as brands like Quark and Corel can convert to CMYK. Using consistent color settings and the right profiles, Photoshop can convert images from RGB to CMYK successfully.Other image editing applications geared toward professional designers can also complete the task. 
 
If you don’t own a program that converts to CMYK ask around. Perhaps a friend or business associate has a program. We’re not suggesting you pirate software but perhaps your friend wouldn’t mind converting an image or two for you. If that doesn’t work then we suggest you talk to a graphic designer. If you’re only planning to do a couple of projects the expense of having a designer set your file is much better than the aggravation you’ll face trying to be a designer without the right tools. Save yourself the time and hire a pro.
 
What if my file type is not acceptable according to the printers guidelines?
 
 Most printers accept files created with professional design programs and many can even accept desktop publishing programs like MSPublisher, MS Word, MS Excel, and others. Check with the printer first and if they can’t take your file as is find out what they can use and see if you can convert it. Most printers have a design staff that as a last resort can reset the file for you.
 
My images are only 72 dpi, not 300dpi, can I use them in my file?
 
 Images less than 300dpi are not commercial print quality, therefore do not use any images or graphics at a lower resolution than 300dpi. Images from websites are usually 72 dpi, not 300 dpi. When you increase the dpi of an image you decrease the size so it is possible to resize your object to 300 dpi as long as your original image is large enough.
 
If your image is only 72 dpi but you want to use it anyway, be aware that the end result will be fuzzy, pixilated and the edges will be jagged. When you submit your file with 72 dpi images you may – depending on the printer – receive a notice that your file contains low resolution images and needs to be resubmitted. Some printers will process your file anyway so be aware of what you’re sending.yellowprinting.com
 
How will coated stock affect my mailing / mailing company?
 
 If you are planning to mail or write on one of the sides – such as the back of a business card or postcard, do not have that side coated. Check with your mail house if you are planning to have your project mailed as some mail houses cannot address properly due to their inkjet labeling process. Ballpoint pens will also not write effectively on gloss products so if you are mailing the project yourself you will need to use a label instead of hand addressing.
 
What paper stock should I select when ordering?
 
 There are so many stock choices available it can be overwhelming if you don’t know which one to use – here are some recommendations.
 
Business cards, postcards, door hangers, presentation folders, greeting cards, and rack cards. Always a nice heavy 14pt! A lot of printers will produce these items on 12pt or even as low as 10pt but when the price is right for a heavy 14pt you can never go wrong.
 
Brochures, flyers, bulletins and inserts. 80lb text (also called book) is the traditional weight most customers order, so we suggest 100lb text whenever possible to make yourself really stand out.
 
Letterhead – Think of a 60lb like a “copy paper” while a premium 24lb or a nice linen will show better. If you really want to impress go for a full color letterhead on a 24lb premium white stock.
 
Envelopes – A premium 24lb smooth is great or try a nice linen finish. If you really want to stand out order full color envelopes to match your full color letterhead.
 
Posters – the end use will dictate how heavy you should go. 80lb text – if they are going to hang inside, not subjected to weather, won’t have lots of light going through them or you’re mailing them. 100 lb text if light will be an issue or you’re printing both sides. The thickest is the 80lb or 100lb cover which is perfect if they are going to be mailed (but not folded), passed around a lot, or placed in high traffic or dirty areas.
 
Catalogs – interior pages should be 100lb text and the cover can be a “self cover” of 100lb text or you can customize a job and do a thicker cover stock and even add UV coating. Depending on the nature of the project most catalogs are perfect using 100lb text and aqueous coated for a nice shine.
 
If you’re ever in doubt about what stock to use contact your printer and ask for recommendations. Most reliable printers won’t try to sell you more than what you really need to do the job – they want to keep you as a customer and they know eventually you’ll find out there are other options!
 
How do I send my file to be commercially printed?
 
 First, check the graphic guidelines for the printer you want to use. Know if you’re selecting digital or offset printing, review their submission guidelines and know your file is ready – graphics are 300 dpi, file is the right size, .pdf has been prepared correctly, etc.
 
Know what the turnaround times are, cancellation policies and have your questions answered before placing your order.
Once you have placed an order you usually receive an order confirmation via email and you can usually track your order right from within your account.
 
How do I calculate shipping?
 
 Most online printers have a way to go through the check out process before ordering to get shipping charges. It’s usually a simple process and something you should know before you order. Remember express shipping charges can be expensive so review turnaround times, shipping times, proof times, etc., so you aren’t expecting a project to arrive when it won’t be coming for days.
 
What should I do if I need it faster than stated in the turnaround times?
 
Most if not all printers have some sort of rush services available for either the production end, shipping end, or both. Just remember these do cost extra and can get expensive so know the standard turnaround times and be prepared in advance.