FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Can you print from my computer files?
A. Usually, however this answer is largely dependent on the application being used. We can generally accept files created in any of the prominent graphics applications (Adobe, Macromedia and Quark). Many programs are ill suited to a digital workflow and don’t always work. Many Microsoft products (like Word) don’t have or don’t support functions that are needed for print. Please contact us before starting a new project and find out if we can support your chosen application.
Q. How do I know which paper is right for my printed piece?
A. Consult with us early in the process of choosing paper for your printed pieces. Ask about the economies of using house stocks. It’s also good to have an understanding of how paper and its characteristics affect your finished product. Here is a list of paper terms you should know:
Grain refers to the position of the fibers in paper. This is most important in printing and binding. Paper folds smoothly with the grain and is stiffer. When folded across the grain, it can crack or become rough. For example, grain direction in books and catalogs should be parallel with the binding edge to reduce curl and make the pages lie flat and turn easier.
Basis Weight is a way of identifying paper. In the U.S., it refers to the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) in the basic size for that grade. The basis size in the U.S. is not the same for all grades of paper. Book paper, cover paper, bond paper, newsprint, etc. all differ.
Color affects the color reproduction of lighter tints. Paper colors vary with advertising fads from cool to warm shades. Type is more easily read against a soft or yellowish white, while process colors reproduce most accurately on neutral white paper.
Gloss affects the appearance of the ink film.
It’s wise to ask for printed samples of paper, not just mill samples or swatch books.
Smoothness is a very important property for letterpress and gravure, but has little effect on offset. Smooth surfaces have irregularities that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be detected by a magnifying glass. As smoothness decreases, solids and halftones become grainy in appearance. Type is not affected to that degree.
Certain papers meet the 7 pt. minimum of postal requirements. These include 80 lb. coated cover, 65 lb. uncoated cover, 7 pt. hi-bulk matte or uncoated, double thickness of 70 lb. coated text and double thickness of 60 lb. uncoated text.
Refractiveness relates to light absorption in the surface of the paper, causing halftones to appear darker than they should.
Strength of paper is more dependent on the nature of its fiber content than its thickness. Papers that are subjected to considerable tension in use, such as those printed on web presses, should have high tensile strength as well as high tear strength.
Q. How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
A. Since you are here, we would suggest you use our online estimate request form. Otherwise, the best way to ensure that we get all the information necessary to do an accurate quote is to send us a fax with your complete specifications to (510) 640-0151
Q. How long does it take for you to complete my order?
A. The average job takes approximately 2 to 7 days to complete once all proofs are checked and returned. Your job may require more or less time, depending on several factors such as the number of production processes involved, the quantity ordered, and the availability of materials.
Q. What is a “proof”?
A. A proof is a way of ensuring accuracy of layout, type matter, tone and color reproduction. Typically, we will produce a proof which will be sent to you online or printed on paper which can be viewed at our facility or delivered to you in person. On multiple color jobs, we can produce a color proof on our color output device to show how the different colors will appear.
Q. Why do I need to look at a proof if I’ve already given you everything I need to have done?
A. Your approval on the final proof is assurance that you have looked over every aspect of our work and approve it as accurate. It benefits everyone if errors are caught in the proofing process rather than after the job is completed and delivered.
Q. Do I still need to approve a proof if I bring my work in on disk?
A. It may seem like a proof wouldn’t be needed in this case but it really is. Output devices process digital information using a variety of processing languages. Your approval of the proof which we will provide assures that the output device used has correctly interpreted and processed the information you have provided.