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What is “full-bleed” & how does it affect my design?
In printing, the term “full-bleed” means background color that goes beyond the edge of the document, then gets trimmed away, so your document has a borderless, color-to-the-edge appearance.

In order to make sure that no text gets trimmed off during the finishing process, always make sure your text stays at least 1/4” from the document bounds, just like you see on the example at right.

If you have any doubt whether your text is safe, make sure and visit our design resources section and download a template for your printed piece.

What is “rich black”?
Rich black, is an ink mixture of 100% solid black (K) over a percentage of the other CMY colors, resulting in a darker tone than black ink alone generates in the printing process.


How do I make “rich black”?
Our color build for rich black is C: 60 M: 60 Y: 60 K: 100 (see right)

So, how do I use “rich black” in my artwork?
Rich black is often regarded as a color that is "blacker than black". Rich black should not be used for text, because slight mis-registration between printing plates can produce a white or colored halo around the text, making it much harder to read. Rich black is the right black for large solids, or backgrounds. Excessive amounts of ink may not have a chance to fully dry before the printed result comes into contact with other pages on the press. To keep text crisp and clean, always set at 100% K.

What if I want to print a grayscale image?
When your black and white image is converted to the CMYK color mode for printing, you may see a slightly yellow-tinted result if you don’t follow these instructions:


Eliminate all colors in your grayscale image layer other than black (K), use your Channel Mixer in Photoshop, click Monochrome, then adjust accordingly. (see Channel Mixer panel at below)
How do I set up a 5th Color, or Metallic Ink Printing Job?
If you decide to use a 5th color (like silver or a metallic ink) in your print project, here are a few things you need to know when setting up your art: A 5th color is best used on large areas of color, and not well suited for the small details and effects, like drop shadows, small details or thin text. Below you’ll find instructions on setting up your artwork.
1. Design your art normally, at 300dpi, in the CMYK color mode. In the example above, a silver gradient has been applied to the border, to show where the silver 5th color will be printed.
2. Next, select the Channels Palette. In addition to your CMYK channels, you must add a spot channel for the 5th color/foil that has only black and white, with 100% K only showing where the 5th color or foil will be printed. This will result in you having FIVE channels in the Channels Palette (CMYK+Spot).

How do I prepare art for banner or poster printing?
You don’t have to design artwork for oversize printing at full size. Our equipment has RIP software built in, which takes your smaller, easier to design and upload artwork, and enlarges it to print on our oversize printers. Designing your artwork at 25% is acceptable. See the chart below for a size guide.

3’ x 5’ = 9” x 15” @ 300dpi               3’ x 6’ = 9” x 18” @ 300dpi
3’ x 8’ = 9” x 24” @ 300dpi               3’ x 10’ = 9” x 30” @ 300dpi

Banners come with grommets unless specified otherwise.

18” x 24” = 4.5“ x 6”@ 300dpi          24” x 36” = 6“ x 9” @ 300dpi
11” x 17” and under can be submitted at full size.

Posters come with a small white border unless specified otherwise.


What do I need to know about Die Cut printing?
A die cut printed piece is one that gets printed on a press first, then cut, using a metal die, that has been crafted into a custom shape. Some examples of this can be seen in rounded corner flyers, or circles and other shapes. Preparing your artwork is the most important part of setting a job up that will be die cut.

First and foremost, you must always have at least a 1/2” “gripper“ (the bleed area that extends past the area that will be cut off). Often times, this requires you to order one size larger than the piece you actually intend to use. For example, if you want a custom-shaped business card, you need to order it as a quarter-page flyer. This will give you the additional 1/2” around your business card, for the press to hold your printed piece in place, as the die cuts it into shape.

Next, make sure the die graphic you submit for your shape is a vector object, in .EPS or .AI format, using a single line shape (shown at right with a black fill for display purposes.. In this case, we chose a dog bone as an example. Just like with any of our other printed products, make sure your text stays at least 1/4” away from where the die will stamp out the card shape.

Finally, upload 4 files to your order, zipped together as one, with the following: Front and back artwork, the die file in .EPS or .AI format, and a sample image of how it is supposed to look when finished.


Metal Foil? What extra steps do I need to take?
Metal foils can add the perfect accent to your business card, pocket folder or printed piece, but can be a little tricky to set up if you don’t know what you’re doing. In this example, I’ll use a business card with silver metal foil accents represented by gray.

The business card needs to be sized to include the bleed (3.625 x 2.125). Then add the 1/2" gripper the press needs (see above), so the final business card art will print on a quarter page  (5.5 x 4.25) with a blank white background. Leave the foil graphics off the print file. The foil will be applied in a separate process after it prints.

The silver foil will go on an .eps or .pdf file all by itself, with your 100% K (black) paths expanded to include stroke and fill. (See the .eps thumbnail to the right.

So, you will have a .jpg that goes to print on an oversized piece so the press can hold it in place, then an .eps file that shows where to die press the foil onto the oversized card.

Remember to supply 3 things: The Print files - front and back (.jpg), Die paths (.eps/.pdf), and the .jpg Sample, all zipped together in one .zip file.