A. If you are not sure of how to get started, call us or come by our office. Our friendly, experienced staff will be happy to provide you personalized printing solutions by asking you all the right questions. Are you starting a business and need a logo designed to print on all the business stationery? Are you planning a mailing and don't know the largest printed size for a postcard mailing rate? Do you need tickets for a new event? Our decades of printing experience will provide you with the best solution to meet your budget and turnaround time.
Q. How do you go about providing an accurate quote on a proposed project?
A. Each job that comes to us receives very careful attention, and that attention begins with a thorough quote of your project. There are many factors to consider in designing and costing a job. Basic components include size, quantity, the kind of paper stock and its availability, ink colors and registration. Other cost factors include bindery work, such as numbering, perforation, binding, punching, collating, folding, or die cutting. When you call for a quote, we will ask you several questions to determine exactly what the job entails. We then go to work, calculating costs based on the anticipated job design, plus materials and labor. We may offer you a number of options, with varying prices, for your consideration. Your budget will always be a factor in our recommendations. You can expect most quotes within one business day.
Q. Is copying cheaper than printing?
A. You might be surprised to learn that in many instances, you can save money with offset printing, especially for larger quantities and sizes. Carmichael Printing's competitive prices and quick turn around can often save you money over the 24-hour self-service printer or corner copy shop. We can also offer you a wider selection of papers and ink colors to choose from. And you won't have to do it yourself! That being said, there are times that high speed duplication is a better alternative, especially for projects like books or manuals that involve primarily black type and graphics, a large number of originals, and require fast turnaround. When we quote your job, we will offer the most cost-effective options for producing your job, including high speed duplication if applicable. And you still won't have to do it yourself!
Q. What is Thermography printing?
A. Thermography produces raised printing similiar in appearance to engraving but using a different process. In thermography, a special powder is added to the ink printed on the paper. The printed piece is heated and the powder and ink mixture dries to form a raised effect on the paper. Thermography is often used to produce business cards, invitations, and letterhead. Ask us if thermography would work well with your project.
Q. Can you help me design my mailer/brochure/business card, etc.?
A. Carmichael Printing offers in-house graphic design for all your printed materials. We can reproduce existing artwork, or create a brand new printed piece for you. You can consult with our graphic designer regarding your project and we can show you samples of previous work to help generate ideas before you start. Basic cost is $60 per hour, with project-based prices given for larger, more complex projects. We maintain files for a minimum of two years.
Q. What about proofreading?
A. Proofing is a very important step in the printing process. Final rendering of type and artwork will be sent to you by fax, email, or presented to you in person for careful proofing. You are encouraged to carefully inspect the positioning, copy, and design elements. We correct our copy errors at no charge, however we do charge for customer revisions and edits. Proofreading is the responsibility of the customer. We provide a cover sheet with every proof. Work will proceed when we have a signature and approval on your proof sheet. Please return your proofs promptly to ensure that your project is not delayed.
Q. What electronic document file formats do you accept?
A. Although we accept most types of electronic file formats, our preferred file format is an Adobe Acrobat PDF. One of the main issues with non-PDF files is fonts. The fonts used in your document may not be installed on our computer, changing the look and often the layout of your document by re-flowing or re-sizing your text. PDF documents include the fonts to help preserve your original formatting. Submitted files other than PDF format need to be accompanied by a hard copy sample to help avoid formatting issues. We will also send you a final PDF proof to show you what your finished project will look like when it is printed. File formats we are unable to accept include Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Visio, PrintShop and Quark Xpress. Call us at (916) 487-8679 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding your files for submission.
Q. What image file formats do you accept?
A. We accept virtually any type of image file, the main issue is resolution. If you have ever printed out a Web page and seen the "stair-stepping" effect of the jagged diagonal lines of a printed Web graphic, then you have seen some of the problems raised by low-resolution images. The two image file formats that work best for commercial printing are TIF and EPS files. The resolution of most computer monitors is 72 pixels per inch (ppi, often referred to as dpi, or dots per inch), and Web graphics are based upon that resolution. GIF, JPG and BMP image files are generally lower resolution and used for on-screen use and are not suitable for printing. Photos from a digital camera in JPG format may be usable for printing, depending on the resolution setting they were taken at. The recommended image resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch at the approximate size it will be printed. For example, a 4" x 5" photo printed at full size would need to be approximately 1200 x 1500 pixels large (4" x 300 pixels per inch=1200 pixels, 5" x 300 pixels per inch = 1500 pixels).
Q. What are RGB and CMYK colors?
A. RGB refers to the colors Red, Green and Blue, used in computer monitors, digital cameras, scanners and artwork designed for websites. CMYK refers to the ink colors used for all full color printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and BlacK. RGB is used for work viewed onscreen, CMYK is used for printed work. RGB color was not designed for commercial printing of color graphics, CMYK was. Therefore, for best results, your artwork should be created in CMYK color (not RGB and then converted) from the very start.
If you submit files for full color printing that use RGB or spot / Pantone colors, they will be converted to CMYK colors. This can change some colors from what you see on screen. Some RGB colors displayed on your computer monitor will not reproduce even close to the colors you see on the screen when using offset CMYK printing. The “electric blue” and “electric green” RGB colors you may see onscreen will print much closer to a “Navy” blue and a “Forest” green on a CMYK print.
Q. Can you match the color sample print from my inkjet printer?
A. When it comes to printing color, our presses do very well, but matches are not always perfect. If you provide a printed sample of your full color print job, there is no guarantee your final printed product will accurately match your printed sample. This is due to the widely varying results from different output devices including monitors, inkjet, thermal, dye sublimation and color laser printers, papers, inks, materials and even individual printer models. So, the final product we produce for you is unlikely to exactly match the output from your desktop printer.
There are other factors affecting the color of your final product, including color of the paper stock, and UV or aqueous coatings applied over the inks. If the color of your printed project is critical, please contact us at (916) 487-8679 or email@example.com to inquire about a color press proof to be printed at a nominal fee to be approved before your final product is printed.
Q. What is a bleed?
A. If your printed project requires printing all the way to the edge of the page, that's called a bleed. If your printing project requires a bleed, then your artwork needs to be prepared correctly and professionally with a bleed continuing your artwork slightly over the edge for printing and trimming. If you supply artwork without a bleed, a white border will be placed around your artwork for printing.
Q. What is trapping?
A. Trapping is a method of adjusting areas where two distinct colors meet so that press misregistrations won't cause unsightly white spaces. A trap either spreads (enlarges) the lighter color into the darker color or chokes (reduces) the lighter color into the darker color. Usually, you use the choke trap if the background color is lighter than the object it surrounds; and you use the spread trap if the background color is darker than the object it surrounds. We will set trapping if we design your documents or if you ask us to do so. Otherwise, we will assume you have trapped the file correctly.
Q. How do I set up artwork that trims and/or folds?
A. There can be a trimming variance of plus or minus 1/16 of an inch due to automated cutting systems. Please allow for this when setting up artwork. Allow 1/8 inch bleed (see bleed information above) all around and keep important information at least 1/8 inch in from the outside trim lines. Paper, being made of fiber, can naturally crack ink on the fold line of a print job. This is unavoidable. If this is an issue, we recommend avoiding heavy ink coverage in your design where the folding is to occur. Also, there can be a folding variance of plus or minus 1/16 inch due to automated folding systems. Please allow for this when setting up artwork where information may be close to a fold.
Q. How can I avoid pixelated text?
A. Text smaller in size than ten points created or saved in a graphic (i.e. jpg, tif, gif, bmp) may print in a pixelated or bit-mapped manner. (See also the answer regarding image file formats and resolution on this page). You can avoid the problems caused by bit-mapped text by using programs such as Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator to create text that is composed of lines and fills rather than pixels. There is also a method in Photoshop for exporting text in an image as vector text, composed of smooth curves.
Q. How can I be sure that my file is print-ready?
A. If you're not sure that your file will work, just send it to us and we'll check it out. If we find anything that will keep us from producing your printed piece the way you want, we will let you know. Please remember, we will only look for print-specific problems in your file. We will not make design suggestions, check your spelling or correct your grammar. You, the customer, are responsible for proofreading all documents. There is also a helpful checklist on our file upload page that can help you avoid most problems with print files.
Q. How do I send or upload my files to you?
A. You can always email your files to firstname.lastname@example.org if the file is 15MB or smaller. Anything larger than 15MB, please upload the file to us using our file upload page. Upload time will vary depending on your file size, the speed of your Internet connection, and Internet traffic at the time. Uploads can be as short as a few seconds or as long as an hour. If you are concerned about the size of your file or the speed of your Internet connection, we recommend that you send or bring in your artwork to us on a USB flash drive, CD or DVD.