Frequently Asked Questions About Printing
If you are not sure that your file will work, you can send it to us and we will examine it to see if there are any major flaws that would prevent us from printing your job.
Standard in House Paper Stocks
Uncoated Paper: 58, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 120, 140 GSM
Coated Paper:80, 90, 100, 130, 170 GSM
Coated art Card: 210, 250, 300, 350 GSM
Bleed is the term for printing that goes right to the edge of the paper. The way to do this is to make your document.125″ too big in both dimensions. For instance, if the final size is 8.5″ x 11″ then make your document 8.75″ x 11.25″. Draw guides on the layout that are .125″ from the edge all the way around. Now create your design with the idea that the layout will be cut off where those guides are….because that is precisely what is going to happen. Make sure that any photographs or backgrounds that you want to bleed go clear out to the perimeter of the document, past the guidelines. Then after we have printed your piece we will trim off that extra .125″ all the way around and voila! You have colour all the way to the edges of your piece. It looks professional….
Be careful about using photographs for backgrounds. If you put text (anycolour) on top it can be very hard to read. So the secret is to lighten the photograph a lot–more than you may think is necessary. Use a photo editing program like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Elements.
Small text magnified
It’s best not to colorize small text. What happens is that all printing presses have a little bit of variance in the consistency of the position of the different colour plates. This is called misregistration. The cyan, magenta, yellow and black portions of the text characters don’t line up exactly. So the result is little coloured halos around the characters. It’s ok to use coloured text on large, headline type, or smaller sizes down to about 12 point size, but much smaller than that will be too noticeable and you won’t like it. The same thing holds true for white (knock-out) text on a dark or coloured background. You can do it but don’t use point sizes smaller than about 12 point. Otherwise the words may be hard to read and it will look unprofessional.
If you use any other fonts from other sources then we most likely do need you to gather up copies of them and archive them together using a program like Winzip and send them to us with your layout file.
If you don’t know how to do this then just carefully go through your document and make a list of the fonts used. Send that list to us in an email along with your order reference number so that we can see if we have your typefaces.
Alternatively, you have facility to convert the fonts into curve while using software such as CorelDraw. In this case changing / correcting the text will not be possible, in case need be.
- Will my printed piece look exactly like it does on my computer monitor?
There are some small differences. Scanners and digital cameras create images using combinations of just three colours: Red, Green and Blue (called “RGB”). These are the colours that computers use to display images on your screen. But printing presses print full colour pictures using a different set of colours: Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black (called “CMYK”). So at some stage your RGB file must be translated to CMYK in order to print it on a printing press. This is easily done using an image editing program like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint.
- Caution: It’s Best If You do the RGB-to-CMYK Conversion of Your Images!
You will have more control over the appearance of your printed piece if you convert all of the images from RGB to CMYK before sending them to us. When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking. We want you to be happy, so please, take the time to prepare your file properly. We cannot be responsible for sub-par results if you furnish low-res images or RGB images.
Be aware that it is possible to make colours in RGB that you can’t make with CMYK. They are said to be “out of the CMYK colour gamut”. What happens is that the translator just gets as close as possible to the appearance of the original and that’s as good as it can be. It’s something that everyone in the industry puts up with. So it’s best to select any colours you use for fonts or other design elements in your layout using CMYK definitions instead of RGB. Please see our RGB – CMYK Information page for important instructions on getting the results you want.
- You most likely won’t notice this kind of colour shift in a colour photograph.
It is more likely to happen if you pick a very rich, vibrant colour for a background or some other element of your layout. It probably won’t look bad, it just won’t look exactly the same. But it may not be noticeable at all either. In any event it will look spectacular compared to a piece printed on an inkjet printer.
Color photos don’t suffer much from CMYK translation
- What types of storage media do you accept?
We can take your files on a CD, DVD or flash drive. Alternatively kindly mail us your files to email@example.com
Design Tips for Commercial Printing
- What types of images will work ok?
If you are scanning the images yourself from photographs it is better to save them in either tif, or eps format. These image formats will preserve the colour and sharpness of your pictures the best.
File formats like gif or jpg compress the pictures colour and pixel resolution and this can cause colour shifts and blurriness. Since jpg and gif are the most predominant image formats on the web, it follows that it’s not a good idea to simply lift an image from someone’s website and use it in your layout.
You should scan your images using a resolution of 300dpi at the final dimensions you intend to use them so that your colours will look smooth, and hard objects will look sharp. In other words don’t scan at 300dpi and then enlarge the picture by 200% in your layout program! This is another reason why you should not use images that are lifted from websites; they are probably only 72dpi in resolution and will look very blurry if printed on a printing press.
If you are using pictures from your digital camera they will work just fine if they are jpgs; the quality of jpg images from digital cameras seems to be much better than jpgs that are used on the web. You must do the math to make sure that it is high enough in pixel resolution though. For instance, if your camera puts out a typical image of 1280 x 960 pixels at 72dpi you get about 17″ x 13″ of photograph (at 72dpi); this is the same amount of detail as an image which is 4″ x 3″ at 300dpi so it’s safe to reduce or enlarge that image in Publisher up to about 4″ x 3″ in dimension.
- Can I send you documents created in MS Word or PowerPoint?
Absolutely! If you have created documents in Word or PowerPoint that contain photos, clip-art, or other colour images, send them in.
- What other file formats can you take?
We can take any Mac or PC version of Quark, Pagemaker, InDesign, CorelDRAW!, Illustrator, Photoshop, Freehand, Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, any file output as a PDF. If you have other file formats, we may be able to handle them, too. Just ask!.
- What types of storage media do you accept?
We can take your files on a CD, DVD or flash drive or pen drives.
- What is the difference between the RGB and CMYK colour space and why does it matter?
RGB refers to the primary colours of light, Red, Green and Blue, that are used in monitors, television screens, digital cameras and scanners. CMYK refers to the primary colours of pigment: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. These are the inks used on the press in “4-color process printing”, commonly referred to as “full colour printing”.
The combination of RGB light creates white, while the combination of CMYK inks creates black. Therefore, it is physically impossible for the printing press to exactly reproduce colours as we see them on our monitors.
Many programs have the capability to convert the layout/images from the RGB colour space to the CMYK colour space. We request that you convert your colours from RGB to CMYK if your tools allow you to. By doing it yourself, you have maximum control over the results. You may notice a shift in colour when converting from RGB to CMYK. If you do not like the appearance in CMYK, we recommend that you make adjustments while working in CMYK (usually lightening). Generally, you should specify CMYK colour builds that look a little lighter than you want, since the dots of ink “fatten up” on press, giving you more pigment on paper than you see on your monitor. Be especially careful to keep backgrounds light if there is black or dark coloured text over it, so that the text remains readable.
- How can I know what a particular CMYK colour combination will look like?
To purchase a colour guide with over 3,000 process colours with their CMYK screen percentages, please visit Amazon.
- How do I check for proper imposition?
“Imposition” refers to how the front of a printed piece is oriented to the back. In the case of a brochure, you normally turn it over right-to-left (like you turn the page of a book) in order to have the back side read correctly — not upside down. Seems simple, until you get to a postcard where one side is layed out in landscape (horizontal) orientation, and the other side in portrait (vertical) orientation. We use our best judgement when imposing a job, so that it backs up in the most natural or normal manner. Some designs, however, contain both portrait and landscape elements on both sides, making it difficult to make a clear call. When reviewing your proof, we will always post the front and the back in the orientation that they will print in relation to each other. So, if page 2 appears upside down, that is how it will be printed on the back of page 1. (Some people want it that way, so that the recipient of the piece must turn it over top-to-bottom in order to read it correctly). Be sure to print out a copy of your online proof, and attach the two sides to each other to create a “mockup” or “dummy.” This is especially important when a piece will be folded.
- How much bleed should I have for an envelope?
1/16 inch is the correct amount since it will wrap a little to the back of the envelope. Learn more from our Design Tips for commercial printing page.
- Do I need to impose my business cards 8-up or 10-up if they will be printed more than 1 to a sheet?
No, send us a single layout of your design unimposed, we will handle any imposition needed on our end.
- How should I take pictures with my digital camera?
Digital cameras are wonderful tools that allow us to capture our images in many different ways. The camera is designed to actually take three pictures; one in red, one in green and the other in blue (similar to the way a projection TV works). It then combines the colours together and saves the image onto the picture card. It is very important to make sure that the camera is set to the highest quality setting possible. This means that if you can only save one image on the picture card instead of 12, 64 or 128 images, then this is good! You want to create the best quality picture that the camera can make. This will mean large file sizes and slow downloads from the camera itself, but it will get you the best possible results from your camera. Remember, images should be at 300 dpi in their final size in the layout!
More often than not, we notice that images that come from digital cameras print darker than expected on the printing press. Check to see if you have a brightness option in your image editing program to lighten the entire piece. If you have the opportunity to change the colour space from RGB (red, green, blue) to the printing press colours of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), then do so! It is always better to have you change the colour space if you can, than for us to do it. Remember, not all colours that you can see that are created by elements of light (RGB) can be created by the elements of ink (CMYK) on press. If you do not have this capability with your software, do not worry about it, we will change it for you for free! Finally, we recommend that you apply a little sharpening to the image. This will make the image a little crisper and will print better on press.
- How can I tell what resolution the image from my digital camera is?
Some digital cameras will let you know what the image resolution is, while others will tell you what the pixel dimensions of your image are. If you know what the pixel dimensions of your images are either from the camera itself or through the image editing software, you can do a little math to determine the resolution, and the size you can print the image at for clear and crisp printing.
Simply write down the pixel dimensions of your image and divide those numbers by 300 if the image does not include text and 400 if the image does include text. For example: An image without any text has a pixel dimension of 600 x 900 pixels. Once each dimension is divided by 300 the result is 2 x 3 inches. This means that you can use this image at 2 x 3 inches or smaller in your layout for quality printing results.
If your image editing software does not tell you what the pixel dimensions are, but it does tell you what the resolution is, then you know the maximum size you can use that image in your layout. We recommend that images be at 300 dpi in their final size in the layout and 400 dpi if the images include text. Please keep in mind that resolution and physical dimensions are in direct proportion to each other. If you have an image that is 2 x 2 at 300 dpi and increase its size in the layout to 4 x 4 the new resolution is now 150 dpi. So remember, when you bring an image in to your layout you can shrink it down in size (because the resolution will increase) but you will be limited as to how far you can increase it in size.
- Where can I get more information on file and image resolution?
Here is some help for you on file & Image Resolution
Resolution is the measurement of how many dots/pixels fit into one inch.
The higher resolution, the sharper the image will be. United Multi colour Printers recommends resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) for crisp, clear results. Lower resolution images appear fuzzy, jagged and blurry.
Resolution = 300 dpi
Will print well
Zoom of 300 dpi image
Will print well
Resolution = 72 dpi
Will not print well
Zoom of 72 dpi image
Will not print well
- Images should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size in the layout.
- Images which include text should be 400 dpi at the final size in the layout.
- Resolution and image size are inversely proportional to each other. Enlarge an image, the resolution decreases; reduce an image, the resolution increases. Example: a 2 x 2″ image at 300 dpi (acceptable) enlarged to 4 x 4″ has a new resolution of 150 dpi (unacceptable).
- Low resolution images print fuzzy, jagged and blurry.
- The settings used during the original “capture” of an image (i.e.- scanning, digital camera, etc) determine its base resolution. Resolution can only be improved by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.
- Recommended minimum resolution for printing is 300 dpi; computer monitors generally have a display setting of 72 dpi or 96 dpi. If we indicate that some of your images have low resolution, they may not look bad on your monitor but will likely print blurry or jagged.
Things to avoid:
- Web images are predominately low resolution (72-96 dpi) GIF or JPEG files. This resolution is good for quick transmission over the internet, but is not acceptable for use in printing. Do not save images or graphics from a website to use in your print project!
- Up sampling is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. Up sampling adds more pixels/dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry images, ugly blocks of colour, and high contrast in images. The only way resolution can be improved is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.
- Do you have templates to help me correctly design my project?
Templates can be made available on some of the product offerings. Please free to get in touch with us.
Where can I get more information on file preparation?
Our technicians are always available to assist you during business hours. You can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at +91 20 24453862 or +91 20 24432280 from 10.00 am to 7pm IST Monday through Saturday.
- Can you mail my postcards, brochures etc. if I send you a mailing list?
Yes! For postcards, brochures and newsletters, United Multicolour Printers will be glad to mail your material to a list of mailing addresses that you supply. Please indicate the same well in advance for getting pricing for shipping or mailing on behalf of you and email us your mailing list when placing your order separately.
- Can I have you mail some of my order and ship the rest?
Simply set the full print quantity in the order and set the Mailing Services quantity to the number of addresses in your mailing list. We’ll ship the quantity which is not mailed to the shipping address you provide on the order form.
- Can I order 2-colour printing from you?
We suggest you get the best value for your money spent is to go for fullcolour, instead of two-colour!
Nonetheless, you may use any of our product pages (with the exception of postcards, business cards, presentation folders, catalogues and calendars) to order two-colour printing. Simply place your order as usual, then specify in the comments section that it’s a two-colour job and what PMScolours you have selected. Since we are so efficient at producing high-quality four-colour work, two-colour pieces will be priced the same as four-colour pieces. Two-colour postcards, business cards, presentation folders, catalogues and calendars will generally be converted to four-colour process equivalents before printing. If you need to produce 2-colour business cards or postcards using spot inks, you can request a printing price quote online.
- Can you print pieces that are different than the standard formats that you offer?
Yes. Please request a quote on any printed material that doesn’t fit our standard formats writing us on our email ID or by calling us..
- Is there an extra charge for bleeds?
No. Unlike many other companies, all our prices include full bleeds free of charge. See our Design Tips for commercial printing page for an explanation of bleeds.
- How do I order multiple pieces?
To keep things simple, please place a separate order for each different printed piece you want produced. For example, if you want 3 different 11×17 brochures, please place 3 orders. Obviously, the price for 3,000 of one brochure is not the same as the price for 1,000 each of 3 different brochures, so it would be better to get a custom price quote by sending us the email.
- What kind of paper will my job be printed on?
We have several paper types available, depending on what product type you are ordering. The individual pricing pages show available standard options, and many other custom options are available. Contact us for details.
- How well will my project match what I see on my monitor?
Most people are surprised at how well their piece matches what they see. But because of wide differences in monitor calibration and the different technologies used, some printed colours may not exactly match the colours on your specific monitor.
- Will you match a sample I print out on my own printer, or a previously printed sample?
At United Multicolour Printers, part of the way we offer fast turnaround and low pricing is by printing to a “pleasing colour” standard, using standard ink densities. Therefore, there is no guarantee that your finished piece will approximate your printed sample. This is due in part to the widely varying results from different output devices including inkjet and laser printers, continuous tone proofing devices, high-resolution film-based proofs, and different than true offset lithography. Even from one commercial printing firm to another, there can be significant differences in results. In particular, inkjet and laser prints are known to look substantially different than true offset lithography.
If you require precise colour match, please contact us to arrange for a digitalcolour proof.
Once you approve the additional fees, we will produce and send you a hard proof via courier service. When you approve and return the proof, we will strive to match the colour of the proof when printing your final piece.
There are substantial additional charges for – 1. precise colour match service, 2. if you request colour correction or other changes after you see your proof.
Bottom line: the final product we produce for you is unlikely to match the output from your inkjet — it will look more professional!
- Is there a discount if I re-order?
First notice how little additional copies cost. It’s way cheaper to print a few extra the first time.
- How long does it take for me to get the proof of my order?
Once you have placed your order, you should get a proof within 1 business days after we receive your electronic approved files.
- How long will it take to get my order?
Most orders will be shipped within 4 business days after your approval of proof. Please check with us for available turnaround times for specific jobs. Shipping by couriers takes from 1 to 5 business days to get to you depending on your location.
- How can I get my order even faster?
Our standard service is quite fast. For most products we ship your order within 4 days after your approval of proof. If you want to receive your order faster, please mention the same at the time of placing orders for allowing us to give priority for your specific order.
- Courier / Shipping Services
We are happy to ship to you anywhere around the world. Please provide us the exact shipping address (street address if available), along with the quantity and product type you want to order, and we will let you know the additional shipping costs. Please note that some services are not available to all countries.
- Where can I check shipping transit times?
We will share with you shipping details to help you trace the consignment upon shipment.
- Will I always receive exactly the quantity I order?
Most of the time, we ship you slightly more than you ordered, free of charge. On occasion, we ship slightly fewer pieces than you ordered. Printing industry trade standards allow for underages of up to 5%. If you plan to send your print order to a mailing list or need a guaranteed quantity, we recommend that you order 5% over the minimum quantity you need.
- What if I want to change something on my order after I’ve placed it or approved the proof?
We require an electronic “paper trail” for all changes made after your initial order is placed. You may make changes to such things as quantity, shipping method, or shipping address by sending us the appropriate mail and getting confirmation from us in writing. Please note that some changes cannot be made after certain stages in the production process — for instance, the quantity cannot be changed once your order has been printed.
- What is your phone number and operating hours?
You can call us at UNITED MULTICOLOUR PRINTERS at +91 9822082648 or +91 9325097894 from 10.00 am to 7pm IST Monday through Saturday. You can send an email at any time.
- What about privacy and security?
No information we collect for order processing or from inquiries is shared with any other company or website. Your information is only used to contact you when necessary. Credit Card information is only used to bill you for products and services ordered.
Our secure shopping cart uses the latest secure server technology. Your order is submitted and retrieved with a secure connection to our server and remains secure at all times.
Most experts consider that ordering securely on the internet is as safe or safer than giving your information over the phone or to stores. Most cards have a Zero Liability policy for internet use and limit your liability in the case of fraudulent use of your card.