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Frequently Asked Questions

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Different media have different ways of generating colors. The two basic approaches are RGB and CMYK color models. RGB is used mainly in displays while CMYK is used in printing, each specialized to the media they use.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is an additive color mode. It is called additive because the background of screen is black. The individual "dots" (today generally individual LEDs) then light up in varying intensity adding light to black. The variations in intensity of each color determines what color the user sees. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key or blacK) is subtractive because the paper where its printed on is white and the ink subtracts from the brightness of the white paper.
In short, RGB is used to create images in screens and display, while CMYK is used in printing to paper or other media. Due to their nature RGB has a larger range of colors (or gamut) than CMYK. 
So, if you like to design something to be printed, design it using CMYK, otherwise the colors will look different when printed from what you see on the screen. If you design something to be only used on a screen or display design it in RGB.

The short answer is, yes you can print it. Most printer drivers will convert your colors from RGB to CMYK for printing. 

Because the RGB color space or gamut is larger than the CMYK gamut, some RGB colors are unattainable in CMYK. Print drivers will translate the colors for you but you might notice a shift. The best way to control your printed colors is to design your printed piece in a CMYK color space. 

Knowing what "Vector Images" are and what "Pixel or Bitmap Images" are is crucial to the world of printing and advertising. In computer graphics, a raster graphics image, or bitmap, is a dot matrix data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, viewable via a monitor, paper, or other display medium. Some examples of file formats that are Raster-Based images: jpg, tiff, png, gif and bmp. These are all pixel file formats. In general, pictures are bitmapped and "spot" color portions may or may not be a vector. 
 Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics. "Vector", in this context, implies more than a straight line. Some examples of file formats that may be Vector-Based images: ai, eps, cdr and even some pdf. These files may be all vectors, all bitmap or a combination of both.
The advantage of a vector image is that its edges are clean and the image can be re-sized without a loss of quality. There are some tools in graphics programs that can outline a bitmapped image and create a corresponding vector. Their effectiveness and output quality are highly dependent on the quality of the source. A poor quality bitmapped image may require some significant manual cleanup to generate a vector. 
Bitmap and vector differences

"Bleed" is a printing term used to indicate the area with a background image that will be trimmed off after the file is printed and cut down to the finished size. When any image or element on a page touches the edge of the page, extending beyond the trim edge, leaving no margin it is said to bleed.

Since the bleed area will be trimmed off during the cutting process, there should be no text or other important information in the bleed area. Projects that make use of image bleed should extend any bleeding background and/or images 1/8" over the final paper trim edge. We also recommend all other text and graphics stay inside a "Safe Zone" printing area which stays inside the final paper trim edge by about 1/4". This ensures a more professional appearance and eliminates any risk of type or images being accidentally "nicked" during trimming.

Elements that bleed off the page can sometimes add to the cost of printing if the printer must use a larger size of paper to accommodate the bleed allowance. For many of our products bleeds do not add to the costs. In some cases, particularly for short runs, it may be desirable to eliminate the bleed or reduce the page size enough to fit the work on a smaller sheet of paper. 

If your image has a white border on all four sides, bleeds are not required. Prepare your files at the exact dimensions of the desired output.


EXAMPLE: A 4" X 6" postcard with a full bleed, the image size should be submitted at 4.25" by 6.25" (red box above). 125" (1/8") on each edge of the card will be trimmed off during the cutting process. This will leave you a 4" X 6" inch standard post card. Your type (text) should be .25" inside of the cut box.






How to Create Bleeds in Adobe InDesign CS5


Depending on your specific project we may ask you to send a PDF file for printing or we may ask you to send the native file and a PDF
When creating a document that you'd like someone else to print, sending it as a PDF is nearly always best. PDF format will save the document as is. But when saving your document, for instance, as a Word document things can change. When you are working with another person (on a different computer) it’s a common problem that a layout will change. Fonts can be different, text boxes resized, margins adjusted, styles are altered, and pages can be added. 
So if you'd like your document to look as you made it, save it as a PDF. For complicated projects we may also ask for a native file and fonts that you may have used (for inDesign we may ask you to "package" the project for us). Having access to the native file will allow us to make adjustments for proper printing (such as adding bleeds and safe areas). Don't worry, if we need to make any significant changes we will send you a proof for approval. 

There are many problems that can arise from not outlining your fonts.There might be licensing restrictions which prevent the fonts from being copied and distributed or other technical problems. Outlining text before you send a file for printing can help solve "font" issues.

*Note: Be sure to maintain your original editable version because the text will no longer be editable because it is no longer type but a vector image.

1) Menu > Edit > Select All

2) Menu > Type > Create Outlines

3) Repeat this for each document page.

4) Save file.

A similar approach can be used in Illustrator.