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Here are directions and pdf settings for creating PDF files that are optimally print-ready. With Illustrator and InDesign, as long as you have added the bleed area in your file properly, these directions will automatically add crop marks and the bleed area into your file. You'll see those when you open your final pdf in Acrobat. 

 

If you’re using ILLUSTRATOR

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in Illustrator, go to File: Document Setup, and make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then set the "Bleed" area to .125". With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125". And, save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used (Type : Create Outlines) to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF settings:

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Illustrator Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200

Marks and Bleeds: Choose Trim Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. NONE of the other marks are necessary.

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using IN DESIGN

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set-up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in InDesign, make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then go to File: Document Setup, and if you don't see the "Bleed and Slug" area at the bottom, then click on "More Options". Then, in the "Bleed" boxes, type in .125. With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125".

Save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF Settings:

Do "Export" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Optimize for Fast Web View"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200 (it should default to this)

Marks and Bleeds: Check Crop Marks and, if you have a bleed set on your document, Use Document Bleed Settings

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using PHOTOSHOP

Unfortunately, Photoshop is not the best option to use for creating a final pdf for printing, but you can sort of work around that. (Illustrator or Indesign are recommended.) Make sure that your file is set to the bleed size (For instance, 3.75 x 2.25 for a 3.5x2 trim size), and then make sure all objects that you want to show are inward from the 3.5x2 edge by about 1/4". These sizes will be different for different products. Don't worry about ending up with crop marks in your final PDF. Also, make sure your file is CMYK (not RGB). 

If you have text or logos in your layout, see the PDF settings below to keep them crisp. With bitmap files such as those Photoshop creates, more dpi is better if you have any text or graphics that need to have sharp edges, even up to as much as 1200 dpi. Minimally, make sure you have at least 300 dpi (for a photos-only layout), but for most signs and banners meant to be viewed from several feet away, 150 to 300 dpi is fine.) 

Or, you can also choose to not flatten the file to keep the text in a vector state by using these PDF settings:

 

PDF Settings:

Save a copy to preserve your original work if you need to flatten the image in the Layers palette.

If you have transparency in your file, it is highly recommended that you flatten your art work to avoid color issues. But, to preserve vector text, DO NOT flatten your work. This is one reason why setting text in Photoshop is not the best option.

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.) Uncheck the box that embeds a color profile. Click SAVE.

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Photoshop Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: Choose Do Not Downsample, and Compression - NONE

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination", "Working CMYK - U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Here are the types of binding that we offer:

  • Double Loop Coil bindingKnown by a number of different names including twin loop wire, wire-o, double loop wire, double-o, ring wire and wirebind. Documents that are bound with wire binding will open completely flat on a desk and allow for 360 degree rotation of bound pages.
  • Comb bindingThis method uses round plastic spines fitted into rectangular holes. Comb binding is sometimes referred to as plastic comb binding or spiral comb binding.
  • Padding - Creating a pad by gluing a stack of printed or blank sheets on one edge, usually with a chipboard backer.
  • Saddle stitching - For booklets, up to approximately 10 printed sheets folded in half and stapled along the fold to create a spine.
  • Perfect bindingSimilar to a paper-back book. Details about our perfect bound catalogs: Perfect binding gives a catalog a very finished, refined look. A 10pt C1S cover is bound with 80 lb. text on the inside. The cover will be printed full color on one side only, with the inside cover blank. The inside of the booklet will be printed full color both sides. Perfect Bound Catalogs are perfect for catalogs, manuals, presentations, proposals, or annual reports.
  • Three Hole punching - Allows pages to be bound by a 3-ring binder.

A bleed is color going all the way to the edge of the page. Since color can not be printed to the edge of a page, bleed areas must extend farther than the edge (past the cut line), and then the excess is cut off. Please keep all text and anything you do not want cut off the correct distance (margin) away from the cut line.

Bleed areas can be set up in the document-set-up in most layout programs; it adds a bleed area line to show you how far to add the color. In other programs, you may just need to extend your page size in both directions by 1/4-inch and extend the bleeding color all the way to the edge. Be sure to leave other items, such as words or logos that you don't want cut off, inward from the page edge (cut line) at least 1/8th-inch.

Using Printology's Bleed Templates can help you understand how to create a bleed. Here are some bleed sizes of common products:

Business Card Bleed Size - Landscape    3.75" x 2.25"

Business Card Bleed Size - Portrait     2.25" x 3.75"

Flyer Bleed Size - Portrait     8.75" x 11.25"

Brochure Bleed Size - Landscape     11.25" x 8.75"

Post Card Bleed Size (5" x 7")     5.25" x 7.25"

Post Card Bleed Size (8" x 6.5")     8.25" x 6.75"

Small borders of color are not recommended on most jobs. Since there can be differences in manufactured paper sizes, printing placement, and the cutting area, small borders can cause your job to look off-center. Recommended: either delete the border, or make it as thick as possible.

CMYK is for Printing

All files submitted for printing need to be set to CMYK color space from their source, including all graphics and/or photos that are placed into your layout. This will give a more-accurate rendering of the printed piece. You can then adjust the color or brightness to your liking, and avoid unexpected color results when printing.

CMYK refers to the four colors of ink used in 4-color process printing. 
C: Cyan (a bright blue)
M: Magenta (a bright pinkish red) 
Y: Yellow (yellow)
K: Key (black)
Dots made up of these four colors are used to create full color on the printed sheet. Also called "Process printing," and "Full color printing."

RGB is for the Web

RGB refers to the primary colors, red, green, and blue, used to display color in video monitors. Using the CMYK printing process with a file set in RGB color mode can produce a muddy-looking, washed-out appearance. RGB files are appropriate for web usage.

CMYK Printing

This is our most common type of printing. All graphics and/or photos need to be CMYK color space. This will give a more-accurate rendering of the printed piece. Once your photos or graphics are changed to CMYK, you can then adjust the color or brightness to your liking, and avoid unexpected color results.

 

Spot Colors

Unless you have been quoted for a spot color print job, any files containing a specific PMS color will be converted to the closest possible CMYK match. Exact match cannot be guaranteed. If color match is critical, we suggest using our traditional offering with true spot color printing. Add spot colors where appropriate for 1- and 2-color print jobs. If you need assistance with setting up a spot color job, we can help.

 

Saving Money with Black and White Printing

If your print job is black only, it will be less expensive to print in most cases. However, there are some circumstances that make full color printing the most economical choice, depending on the product type, size, and quantity that you need.

Heavy-weight papers are thicker than text weight papers, and are also called cover stock or card stock. Some common thicknesses of card stock weights from lightest to heaviest are: 65 lb., 80 lb., 100 lb., 12 pt., 120 lb., 130 lb., 14 pt., and 16 pt, 18 pt.

3 different types of die cuts are available for door hangers: Standard, Arch, and Starburst.

standard-doorhanger-cutarch-doorhanger-cutstar-doorhanger-cut

FILE SPECIFICATIONS

Vector based, or 300 dpi graphics

CMYK color space

Crop marks are recommended

1/8th-inch bleed area on most products, 1/4-inch margin for important items

No bleed: 1/4-inch margin

 

SIGNS/BANNERS

Same as general, except:

1/2-inch bleed area on signs

banners - no bleed area, 2” margin for important items

 

BOOKLETS

Same as general, except:

Separate PDF's of each page, with the page number in the file name.

 

We preflight all print job files and warn you of any issues before printing to ensure the highest print quality possible.

See more about what program to use to create crisp text and graphics.

PDF files are preferred, and in many cases, required. When created correctly, PDF's result in the highest quality printing. Most programs can create or export to a pdf. Creating a PDF helps retain the fonts and graphics when transferring your file.

For UPLOADING your own ready-to-print file to our site - PDF is required.

For UPLOADING art to design on our site - JPG is required.

If you have a different file type and you want to use it, e-mail us. We will supply feedback as to the quality of your printing when using your file as-is, or the costs associated with adjusting your file to print with more quality. 

See more about what program to use to create crisp text and graphics.

Printology offers many finishing operations performed on the printed product, including, but not limited to:

collating, folding, binding, scoring, perforation, die cutting, hole drilling, and envelope conversion.

Many different types of folds are available for your printed piece. When using card stock and needing folding, such as for a greeting or thank you card, scoring is required. Card stock products such as greeting cards are delivered flat, but scored.

Here are a few common types of folds: a half fold, a z-fold, and a tri-fold.

half fold z fold tri fold

Gloss paper is paper that is polished and/or coated during it's manufacturing process that changes it's texture to glossy. C1S paper refers to paper that is "coated 1 side" during its manufacture. C2S is manufactured with both sides coated. Coated paper is paper that is coated when it is manufactured.

Printing on gloss or coated paper reproduces finer halftone screens with sharper definition, improved density, and greater color fidelity than can be reproduced on uncoated papers.

Post coatings are a different type of coating that are applied after printing to protect and enhance the printed piece. Here are a few coatings that we offer: 

  • UV (super shiny)
  • Matte (not very glossy, but protective)
  • Aqueous Coating - (semi-gloss)

Here are directions and pdf settings for creating PDF files that are optimally print-ready. With Illustrator and InDesign, as long as you have added the bleed area in your file properly, these directions will automatically add crop marks and the bleed area into your file. You'll see those when you open your final pdf in Acrobat. 

 

If you’re using ILLUSTRATOR

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in Illustrator, go to File: Document Setup, and make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then set the "Bleed" area to .125". With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125". And, save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used (Type : Create Outlines) to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF settings:

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Illustrator Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200

Marks and Bleeds: Choose Trim Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. NONE of the other marks are necessary.

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using IN DESIGN

If you intend to have a bleed, you need to set the bleed settings in the document set-up of your file before creating the pdf. To add the bleed area in InDesign, make your file size the exact trim size you want. Then go to File: Document Setup, and if you don't see the "Bleed and Slug" area at the bottom, then click on "More Options". Then, in the "Bleed" boxes, type in .125. With this bleed area set, you'll see a red line around the document. That is your bleed area. Enlarge all bleed items (graphics or photos) that you want to go to the edge of the page, extending them to the outer edge of the red lines. Keep in mind that the bleed area will be trimmed off.

Be sure to keep all important text inward from the edge .25", or at least .125".

Save a copy of your file as an "outlined" file, then outline all the fonts used to keep them properly embedded in the pdf you are about to make.

 

PDF Settings:

Do "Export" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.)

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Optimize for Fast Web View"

Compression: the downsampling should be 300, 300 and 1200 (it should default to this)

Marks and Bleeds: Check Crop Marks and, if you have a bleed set on your document, Use Document Bleed Settings

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers)", "U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

Advanced: Choose High Resolution

 

 

If you’re using PHOTOSHOP

Unfortunately, Photoshop is not the best option to use for creating a final pdf for printing, but you can sort of work around that. (Illustrator or Indesign are recommended.) Make sure that your file is set to the bleed size (For instance, 3.75 x 2.25 for a 3.5x2 trim size), and then make sure all objects that you want to show are inward from the 3.5x2 edge by about 1/4". These sizes will be different for different products. Don't worry about ending up with crop marks in your final PDF. Also, make sure your file is CMYK (not RGB). 

If you have text or logos in your layout, see the PDF settings below to keep them crisp. With bitmap files such as those Photoshop creates, more dpi is better if you have any text or graphics that need to have sharp edges, even up to as much as 1200 dpi. Minimally, make sure you have at least 300 dpi (for a photos-only layout), but for most signs and banners meant to be viewed from several feet away, 150 to 300 dpi is fine.) 

Or, you can also choose to not flatten the file to keep the text in a vector state by using these PDF settings:

 

PDF Settings:

Save a copy to preserve your original work if you need to flatten the image in the Layers palette.

If you have transparency in your file, it is highly recommended that you flatten your art work to avoid color issues. But, to preserve vector text, DO NOT flatten your work. This is one reason why setting text in Photoshop is not the best option.

Do "Save As" and choose pdf (name the file, etc.) Uncheck the box that embeds a color profile. Click SAVE.

Preset: Press Quality

Compatibility: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

General: Check only "Preserve Photoshop Editing" and "Optimize for Fast Web"

Compression: Choose Do Not Downsample, and Compression - NONE

Output: Choose "Convert to Destination", "Working CMYK - U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2" and "Include Destination Profiles"

EVERY DOOR DIRECT MAIL

Post office mail that allows you to saturate neighborhoods based on postal carrier routes, not a costly mailing list, and for a reduced postage rate. There are a few size requirements, but the least expensive size post card/flyer that we print and that qualifies for "EDDM" postage pricing is 8" x 6.5". 

Here are standard sizes:

4.5" x 12"

6" x 12"

6.5" x 12"

6.5" x 9"

8" x 10"

8" x 6.5"

8.5" x 11"

8.5" x 14"

8.5" x 7"

9" x 11"

9" x 12"

 

• $0.183 postage per piece. That's much less than the price of a regular postage stamp. (Info updated 8-15-15)

• No Mailing Lists, or Postage Permit required.

• You have complete control over where, when and how many pieces you send out.

• Easy to mail with very few specifications required by the United States Postal Service.

 

The maximum that the post office allows through EDDM per post office per day is 5000 pieces, minimum 200. You must be sending to at least one full carrier route in a given zip code. See the USPS EDDM site for more information and to use the handy calculation tool:

https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm

Just click on "Get Started," and then put in the zip code you want to search. Once that area comes up, you can select routes (click on "show table"). To choose routes, you can either put a check in a route box on the table, or you can hide the table and click on an area on the map. As you choose routes, it will calculate the postage for you in the box on the right. That way you can decide which route's you want to choose, and decide how much postage you want to spend.

 

We offer bundling services that the post office requires for EDDM. That price is based on how many pieces per bundle and how many total pieces. If you are ordering a large amount, bundling makes it easier to count out how many you need to send to each route. Bundling may add 1 or 2 days to your printing time frame of approximately 1 week.

 

We also offer EDDM Processing services. This includes ordering it from the post office site, adding the required paperwork on each bundle, paying for your postage, and delivering it to the post office for you. You just need to choose your route numbers, and send us those with their corresponding zip codes. 

Not including the many special types of printing and other processes we offer, Printology offers basically two different types of printing. These two types differ mainly based upon their time frames and minimum quantity rules.

Offset Printing - Time frames are generally approximately 1 week for most offset printed products. Minimum quanties usually start at 100, 250, or 500, and the prices break greatly per piece for buying higher quantities. Offset printing is the transfer of an inked image from a plate to a blanket cylinder to paper on a printing press.

Digital Printing - Time frames are generally approximately 1 to 2 business days for most digital products. Minimum quantities start at approximately 1 to 10, and the prices break per piece for buying a higher quantity only to about 250 or 500. Digital printing is the transfer of toner to paper with a heat process on a digital output device.

It is recommended to "Outline" all fonts before creating your final PDF for printing. Creating outlines essentially changes your fonts to objects so that anyone else that opens your file will not need the font on their system to be able to see and print the correct font. Outlining is recommended for both In Design or other layout programs, as well as for Illustrator or other drawing programs.

On every print job over about a quantity of a dozen, we print more of your product than you asked for. This is a measure that helps us to do our best to see that you get at least the amount you asked for. However, printing is only exact to a certain extent. We reserve the right to be 5% to 10% over or under on any printing order quantity, which is the industry standard. If you request a guarantee of the exact quantity you have asked for, it can affect your final price. All initial quotes or estimates use the industry standard over/under-run rules.

Proofs for Designing Online - Proofs are electronic, displaying as you design.

Proofs for Uploading or sending in your file - No proofs are provided. The print job should look like the PDF file you sent.

Proofs when we make changes or design - If you have paid for a design service no matter how small, there will be a proofing process, sending PDF proofs through e-mail until you are satisfied, up to approximately 3 rounds. We are not responsible for typos in your camera-ready printing files. Please proof them carefully.

Printed Proofs - If you need to see a printed proof before printing your complete job so that you'll know how your design will look on your chosen paper, this is available for additional fees. We offer digital proofs that are 80% – 95% accurate as to color and quality as compared to offset printing results. Printed proofs can be cut to size or left uncut, depending on your needs. 

Samples of our Work - If you'd like to make an appointment to see samples of different papers, different products, and the quality of our print jobs, please let us know. We're happy to have a free consultation with you to help you decide what you really need.

There are two basic types of images that make up all graphic files: Bitmap and Vector.

Bitmap - Images that are made up of dots or pixels. (Pixel - The smallest unit of a digitized image created by a digital device, such as a computer, camera, or scanner; short for "picture element.") Bitmap images appear blocky when you zoom in and look at them closely. Also called "raster" images. Photos are bitmap images.

Vector - Images made up of mathematical equations that create solid shapes, lines and curves. Since vector images use math instead of dots, they can be scaled to infinite sizes without affecting image resolution, can be edited easily, and stay very low in file size.

 

If you're not sure how to check file types . . .

Vector would be files such as "AI", "EPS", or even "PDF" if it's saved as vector. Vector files are the most crisp and clear when printed. If vector is not possible, then look for a large file size, at least 1 or 2 MB's or more. Feel free to send us all your files, and we'll let you know what's best to use.

See more about what program to use to create crisp text and graphics.

For the most-crisp print job possible:

GRAPHICS such as logos, text or other shapes need to be vector-based or AT LEAST a 600 dpi bitmap image to be the most-crisp they can be. This will prevent them from looking blurry or pixellated.

PHOTOS need to be 300 DPI to look their best. With less resolution than 300, photos can print blurry, and with more resolution than 300, photos can become oversaturated with ink and print too dark. Most photos or graphics that you find on the web are 72 DPI, which is NOT suitable for printing. 

We recommend using Photoshop for photos, but when creating your final layout, use Illustrator or InDesign to create your PDF files for printing. See more about what program to use to create crisp text and graphics.

Here are some instructions for creating the Best Print-Ready PDF for Printology.

Using rich black, which is a mixture of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to achieve a darker black, is recommended on large areas of black. The recommended values to achieve rich black are C: 60, M: 40, Y: 40, and K: 100. However, using rich black is not recommended on small areas of black or some text objects. For smaller areas of black, use only 100% black set to overprint.

Using black set to 100% prints as a very dark gray. Rich black is used to create a very dark black.

Standard sizes for rounded corners are 1/4" radius and 1/8" radius. Both sizes are shown below for comparison. Also, you can choose from 2 corners rounded or 4 corners rounded.

Corner Rounding

All products purchased online include UPS Ground shipping to one location in the contiguous U.S. only. UPS will not ship to PO Boxes.

Pre-Designed Online Templates - These templates are designs that are categorized for easy searching and already created at the right size and waiting for you to complete. These can be customized with your contact and company information or JPG or PNG photos. Then, upload and order your printing online.

 

Blank Online Templates - These templates are created at the right size, but are blank. They show only the margin, the cut edge of the page, and the bleed lines. You can design online from scratch with your own contact and company information or JPG or PNG photos. Then, upload and order your printing online.

 

Blank PDF Templates - DOWNLOAD PDF TEMPLATES - If you are designing your own materials in your own program, following a template can add accuracy to your final graphic file. Download blank templates here.