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Design Layout

Design Layout

When designing your own files for printing you must setup your file(s) properly for printing.

1.  Document Size - Make sure that your document is sized properly.  While we can print most custom size document, there are some standard sizes for common items such as business cards, postcards, forms, etc.  Here is a list of the 5 most common document sizes which we print:

Business Cards - 3 1/2" wide by 2" tall
Postcards - 6" wide by 4" tall
Letterhead - 8 1/2" wide by 11" tall
Brochures - 11" wide by 8 1/2" tall
#10 Envelope - 9 1/2" wide by 4 1/8" tall

2. Bleed - if your design has color that goes to any edge of the printed piece with no margin, this is called bleed.  In order to print bleed correctly, we recommend your document be designed 1/8" larger on each side than the actual finished piece, which will increase it 1/4" overall.  This allows us to print ink beyond the edge of the document and then cut or trim the bleed area away, leaving you with ink printed right to the edge of the sheet.  Be sure not to put any design element (text, pictures, graphics, etc.) to close to the edge as it could get cut off when trimmed to final size.  We recommend a minimum margin of 1/8" to the inside of the finished trim size for anything that does not bleed.

3. RGB vs. CMYK vs. Spot Color Printing - When you look at your computer monitor you are looking at what is known as and RGB color space (also used by desktop inkjet printers).  This means the colors you see are made up of combinations of Red, Green & Blue (RGB).  When we print in full color we print with CMYK color or spot color.  CMYK is used for full color printing (like the cover of Time Magazine) by printing blends cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, where a business card printed with only 1 or 2 colors use spot colors. 

Spot color printing is where we print just the ink color used.  Typically spot color is generally used mostly for 1 and 2 color print jobs, for example a blue and black ink business card printed on white cover stock would require us to put blue ink and black ink in the printing press and print just those 2 ink colors.  In order to print spot ink colors correctly, your design layout must be set up for spot color printing.  From our experience, most retail packaged Desktop Publishing Software (DTP), such as Microsoft Word, Paint, PaintShop Pro, etc, does not support spot color printing.  We recommend you use Microsoft Publisher, Adobe InDesign, Pagemaker or Quark for spot color files.  There are hundreds of spot colors to choose from the Pantone library and it is excellent for critical ink color matches.

CMYK printing is used for all full color commercial printing.  We strongly recommend you use a professional graphic designer or our design services for CMYK printing.  All graphics, fonts, photos must be build using CMYK not RGB.  Problems will occur with printing CMYK documents which have RGB color profiles or embedded photos or graphics using RGB files.  We are not responsible for errors in printing resulting from files given to us by customers which contain RGB profiles.


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