Content copyright 2016. Hartford Media, Inc. | 2340 Powell Street #319, Emeryville CA 94608 | 510.647.2720. All rights reserved.
Here you'll find answers to common questions our clients ask.
If you don't see what you need, give us a call or contact us online.
1. At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
Resolution should be set to 300 dpi. Pictures and graphics pulled from the internet are often low resolution, typically 72 dpi or 96 dpi. Avoid these graphics, as they will appear pixilated and blocky when printed. Also note that you should save all photos in CMYK mode, not RGB mode when possible. Images saved in RGB mode may not print properly. If you are unable to save your images in CMYK mode, please let us know.
2. How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
One way to ensure that we get all the information necessary to do an accurate quote is to give us a call and talk with one of our customer service representatives. Otherwise, you are most welcome to contact us via email or online.
3. How long does it take for you to complete my order?
Proofs usually take 24 to 48 hours. Printing can average 5 to 10 working days depending on the complexity of the project. If your project deadline requires a faster turnaround, please let us know at the beginning so we can strategize how to ensure success.
4. Is white considered a printing color?
Not typically. Because white is the default color of paper, it is recognized as the absence of any ink. However, when using colored paper, white ink may be used if any text or graphic requires it.
5. What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
PDF (portable document format) is the most common and preferred file format for submitting digital documents. With the installation of a PDF print driver for your computer, virtually any program can generate a PDF file suitable for printing. Both commercial and free PDF print drivers are available online for download from various sources.
6. What settings should I use to generate the PDF?
The application you are using to generate your document greatly influences how much control you have in the creation of the final PDF. Additionally, the type of print method that will be used (digital versus offset) may require different settings as well. A few settings to be aware of include:
Registration marks – definitely select “centered” if we are printing offset.
Bleed options – if your design bleeds, select “symmetrical” at .125 inch.
Colors – if your design requires spot colors selecting “as is” will make sure that all special colors will be respected. If, however, you are printing CMYK only, select “Composite CMYK”.
Export PDF Preset – typically the “PDF/X-1a” presets are used for commercial print workflow and is the best choice for PostScript RIPs.
7. What is a proof?
A proof is a way of ensuring that we have set your type accurately and that everything is positioned according to your requirements. Typically, we will produce a proof which will be sent to you printed on a proof paper. On multiple color jobs, we will produce a color proof showing how the different colors will appear.
8. What is the Pantone Matching System?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color reproduction standard in which colors all across the spectrum are each identified by a unique, independent number. The use of PMS allows us to precisely match colors and maintain color consistency throughout the printing process.
9. Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
This is very important to understand, and may be due to several factors. Monitors use the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, which usually supports a wider spectrum of colors. Printers use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model, which can reproduce most—but not all—of the colors in the RGB color model. Depending on the equipment used, CMYK generally matches 86-90% of the colors in the RGB model.
The environment near your computer monitor can influence your perception of color. Strongly colored objects or walls near your computer monitor can influence your perception of color. The type of light source used in the viewing area is another significant factor. Cool white fluorescent bulbs look quite different from a tungsten soft white bulb.
Additionally, individual monitors and the accuracy of their calibration (if at all) will influence how true the colors “appear”.
10. How do I know if offset or digital is the best option for my project?
The quick answer is that it is usually determined by the quantity; digital is generally best for smaller quantities due to the higher front-end costs associated with offset printing. We usually find that for projects such as postcards and materials with lower page counts, the number is generally 1,000. When dealing with projects requiring a higher page count or an 11x17 sheet, the tipping point is likely to be 500 – 750 and for booklets, up to 500.
Other considerations can come into play as well. Digital offers quicker turnaround and more accurate proofs since what you see is an actual sample of the printed piece. Digital also offers the opportunity to personalize your project through database driven variable data printing.
Offset offers more options if the project is not a standard size, requires special stock, or custom finishing. Additionally, if exact PMS color match is important, offset utilizes actual pantone inks.
Every project is unique and it is always a good idea to ask if you aren't quite sure. Hartford Media can produce printed materials both digitally and offset so your project is always successful.