Frequently Asked Questions
Have you ever had a print related question and either didn't know where to find the answer or were too afraid to ask?
If so, you've come to the right place. As the name would suggest, this section is a compilation of answers to the questions our clients commonly ask.
What type of file should I send for final print production?
We recommend sending a high resolution, print-ready PDF. A print-ready file, with embedded or outlined fonts, allows us to produce your project quickly and efficiently. Vector artwork is preferred whenever possible; and remember to add crop marks, include a bleed if necessary and flatten your files when saving. Though it is not ideal, if you are not able to save as a PDF, we can also accept following formats: eps, jpeg, tif, and png.
What resolution should my file be?
For quality printing, it is essential that all of the photographs and images in your files be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). Lower resolution files may result in printed material that contains blurry or blocky images. To ensure a high quality printed job, you must make sure all photos and images in your digital files are high resolution to begin with and not just resized to 300 dpi. When you resize and make a low resolution image larger to meet commercial printing specifications, all you are really doing is stretching the image. Since high resolution images are based upon the number of pixels an image contains, resizing will not create new pixels, but will only make each pixel larger by stretching it.
Please note: 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 when printed.
What is the difference between RGB and CMYK?
RGB (red, green, blue) is a color space that represents the emittance of light. It is an additive color spectrum that forms white when all the primary colors are combined. Displays (such as computer monitors) use the emittance of light to create colors, and thus use the RGB color space.
The CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color space represents the absorption of light. CMYK is a subtractive color system that forms black when all the primary colors are combined. Whereas monitors emit light, inked paper absorbs or reflects specific wavelengths. Therefore the CMYK color space is used for commercial printing.
What color mode should my files be?
You should always start and finish your print designs in CMYK color mode. If you print a file saved in RGB, a color shift will occur and you may not be satisfied with the end result.
What is a bleed and why is it necessary?
Bleed is a term that is used to describe when artwork touches or extends beyond the edge of the page, leaving no white margin. A standard bleed is 0.125". On press, artwork is printed on a large sheet of paper and then trimmed down to the final size. If you do not extend a bleed beyond the final trim size, even the smallest misalignment while printing or cutting can result in the artwork not running to the edge of the paper.
For example, if you have designed a standard 3.5" x 2" business card with a red background covering the whole area, you will need to enlarge that red background to 3.75" x 2.25". This will make the red background extend .0125" on every side of the business card.
How can I avoid transparency issues when printing on a digital press?
All transparency issue can be resolved before saving your file. To prevent any problems, never use shadows, glows, or any other transparencies (image or otherwise) on top of a spot color. Always convert your spot color to CMYK and then remember to flatten before exporting your final PDF file.
How do I choose between offset and digital printing?
Many variables determine the best print method for a specific job; but the most common are the quantity of the print run, the desired turnaround time and the size of the finished product. Typically, quantity is the most deciding factor between digital and offset because it directly influences the cost. The experts at MPC will gladly help you decide the best press to print on, but the below list describes when and why one press is recommended over the other:
More economical method to produce high quality printing in large quantities
When a specific Pantone color or metallic ink must be used
When the stock sheet size exceeds 13” x 19”
Necessary if the chosen stock is heavier than 130#
Suggested if the printed piece must go back through a customer’s laser printer
Many products, such as envelopes, are produced most efficiently and cost effectively via offset printing.
Less expensive for low volume printing
Faster turnaround for when a short deadline must be met
Perfect for shorter runs with multiple originals – even with different quantities of each
Ideal for when a job uses variable data, where text and/or graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press