Anyone who types on a regular basis will understand how easy it is to make a typing error. This happens frequently with proofing. In fact with printing, one thing occurs almost as much as typing errors, and that’s customers not finding them. This is the reason why we insist you see a proof before we proceed with printing. Believe it or not, I once had a client who missed the incorrect spelling of their name on a business card and I’ve lost track of how many people have missed an incorrect phone number. The best advice I can give is to take your time and read everything thoroughly. Asking a friend to read the proof will also minimise the chance of errors slipping through.
When you order 500 business cards, standard costs such as artwork, printing plates and press set up charges are the same as 1,000 cards. Therefore, the only price difference between 500 and 1,000 business cards is the cost of the extra card and a small amount of labour. The same principal applies to most printing jobs.
No problem, if you’re planning to print garage sale leaflets, party invitations or school assignments at home. However, if you want to design a leaflet or business card for a commercial printer to use, forget it. Microsoft programs such as Publisher and Word don’t have the extra features that are required for professional print production, and contrary to how Microsoft promote them, were never designed for this purpose. Microsoft Publisher retails for roughly $180 while Adobe Creative Cloud costs around $80 per month on their deluxe plan, so expecting Publisher to do the same job is unrealistic. Colours in Publisher and Word files are always RGB (web colour), but printing companies use the CMYK format (four colour process). Templates are usually the wrong size (eg American letter instead of A4), with fold and trim lines in the wrong place, while images and fonts are low in resolution. These problems all result in a poor quality print job. When we receive Publisher or Word files, it’s usually faster to re-design the job than to fix the file, and in most cases the problems can’t be fixed. To save a lot of time, money and frustration, my advice is to let a graphic artist do the artwork. After all, I’m not a mechanic so I don’t service my own car.
A job printed lithographically is produced on a printing press, while digital printing is printed on a copier or printer connected directly to a computer. When someone says that a job will be printed digitally, it’s just a fancy term for copying. Digital doesn’t mean the quality is better, in fact it’s usually worse. Most copiers are capable of producing excellent quality, but I’m yet to find a copier that matches the quality of a printing press (except the HP Indigo which costs half a million dollars). Like most printing companies, we have a colour copier for short runs, but I always like to show our customers the difference in quality and the best option for their printing job.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is how do I tell if a job is printed on a press or a copier? We can usually tell straight away, but there are a few tell tale signs. Unlike presses, some copiers have an unstable registration system. This means that the image position can move between sheets. Also, if the copier isn’t calibrated regularly, the result can be unrealistic or overly bright colours. Sometimes the heating process of copiers can warp the printed sheet making it curly.
The best way to avoid disappointment is to always ask this question. Will my job be printed on a press or a copier?
No. Many people have it, but there’s no legal requirement to do so. By law, The Australian Tax Office requires you to have your ABN on letterheads, with compliments slips and tax invoices.
CMYK and RGB are terms used to describe the colour makeup of photos or images. RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (black). Computer monitors emit colour as RGB, while printers use the CMYK process. CMYK is also referred to as four colour process which is the most commonly used printing method worldwide. When images are downloaded from the internet in RGB, the colour can look washed out and faded when printed. This problem can be partly resolved by converting all RGB images to CMYK before printing using a graphic arts program like Photoshop or Illustrator. Some colours in RGB are impossible to reproduce in CMYK. The computer just chooses the closest possible colour match and unfortunately this can be vastly different to the original colour. To make things more complicated, your computer monitor will most likely emit colour differently to mine, which makes it virtually impossible to match colour by eye. Colour conversion problems are very common in printing so when designing your own artwork, make sure you choose all your colours in CMYK format from the start.
Raster images are composed of pixels, while vector images are composed of paths. A raster graphic, such as a gif or jpeg, is an array of pixels of various colours, which together form an image. A vector graphic, such as an EPS or Adobe Illustrator file, is composed of paths, or lines, that are either straight or curved. The data file for a vector image contains the points where the paths start and end, how much the paths curve, and the colours that either border or fill the paths. The images can be scaled to be very large without losing quality, because vector graphics are not made of pixels. Raster graphics, on the other hand, become blurry, since each pixel increases in size as the image is made larger. This is why logos and other designs are typically created in vector format as the quality will look the same on a business card as it will on a billboard. Sometimes, it’s not always practical to use vector images, but in this case we use a mix of vector images for text or lines, and raster images for photos.
There are literally millions of fonts, so the chances that I will have the same font as you are slim. That’s why we ask our clients to convert any fonts to paths before submitting their files. Doing this will alter all your type to images, meaning that what you see on your computer is what we will print. Some Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel have no way of converting fonts which is why we discourage anyone from designing artwork using these programs. If in any doubt, please contact us for advice.
Bleed refers to the images on artwork files that extend beyond the trim marks by at least 2 mm, to ensure a professional look to your printing job. If we don’t have the extra 2 mm, it makes it difficult to trim the job without having white area showing. You can find templates for most print jobs in the templates section. These templates are compatible with most graphic arts programs including Illustrator and In Design. If you’re using the mobile site, please go to the desktop website to download them.
Generally speaking, EPS and PDF files are the best quality. JPEG and GIF files are usually internet quality and are unsuitable for print production. Always remember that if a file is created at low resolution, increasing the resolution afterwards does nothing. Check the image size too. If it’s only 10kb, chances are it’s internet quality.
If you’ve ever done a Google search for images or photos, and you see the perfect one for your business card or brochure, it can be very tempting to take it. The problem with doing this is all images and photos have copyright. So if you use them you run the risk of being sued by the owner of the copyright. It’s much safer (and more ethical) to purchase an image from the many stock image sites such as istockphoto.com. You still won’t own the image, but you get a licence to use it. Much the same as when you buy a book. You don’t pay for ownership of the content, just the right to read it.
That depends on what your standards are. You can get 500 colour business cards online for around $35, provided you’re happy with a smaller than standard business card, which is very thin and with no celloglaze. However, the whole process is usually totally automated, meaning no human being (except you) takes any part in, or responsibility for the job. From the time you log on, you choose a design from one of their templates, you type your information and design the layout, and you take responsibility for the end result. That’s a few too many “you words” for my liking. The fact that you’re using a template means that there’s a chance that someone else will have the same design. I got a fax recently offering colour business cards for $10. I took up the offer and if you’d like to see the finished product, call in and have a look. I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for, and dealing with the lowest bidder can sometimes cost you more than you save, and that’s your business image.
Unlike a mechanic who holds your car until you pay the bill, printers don’t have that luxury. When we design your artwork and print your job, it becomes worthless to anyone but you. We can’t re-sell it to anyone else, and we can’t return ordered printed paper to our supplier. The deposit is your commitment to the order, and our protection if you don’t proceed after the artwork stage. The deposit amount depends mostly on material and design costs.
With printing, there are so many variables, such as quantity, paper, colours, celloglazing, perforating, numbering, die cutting and scoring. We find that one size doesn’t fit all, so we don’t include pricing for all products on our website. Instead, we give fast and competitive quotes tailored to your individual needs.
Yes, our prices ALWAYS include GST. Unlike some of our competitors, who’s prices are ex GST, there are no nasty surprises when you get the invoice.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us.