Guide to Successfully Manage Print Projects

Frequently Asked Questions About Art

Color


  • What is CMYK, RGB and PMS
  • These refer to color modes available on your software program. RGB (red, green, & blue) are the primary colors of light. Mixing these three colors in various combinations can produce hundreds of thousands of colors of light. Computer monitors always display in RGB color mode. Printing requires ink pigment instead of light to produce color. Offset printing uses four colors – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – also known as CMYK. Similar to an artist's palette, mixing these four ink colors can produce hundreds of thousands of colors. PMS, also known as Pantone or spot colors, are specific colored inks. PMS colors are not created by mixing CMYK ink pigments.    If your artwork is created using RGB or PMS colors, our system will convert the colors to a CMYK equivalent color during the proofing process. Not all RGB and PMS colors have a CMYK equivalent, which can cause significant color changes from your original file to your proof. We recommend creating your artwork in CMYK color mode to minimize the color change.

  • What if I want to print with more than 4 colors?
  • Offset printing uses 4-color inks, C (Cyan), M (Magenta), Y (Yellow), K (Key or Black), also known as CMYK. The ink is applied in layers to produce the final colors. Like a painter's palette, mixing the 4 inks can produce hundreds of thousands of colors. PMS or spot colors will be converted to the closest CMYK equivalent color during the proofing process.

  • How do I get great color matching?
  • If color is critical, we recommend that you order a hard copy proof to accompany your print job.    PrintPlace.com calibrates our presses every day to ensure consistent color reproduction. Although we accept RGB files we recommend converting your graphics to CMYK to set color expectations to what a printing press can actually produce. RGB images are assigned AdobeRGB unless tagged with a custom profile. CMYK files are always assigned Gracol2013.

  • What is rich black?
  • Rich black is a color combination that will produce a deep, dark, full black off press. Almost any color combination can be considered a rich black as long as there is 100% black ink and at least 1% of at least one other CMY colors.    Our recommended rich black combination is 60% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 40% Yellow, 100% Black.

Proofing


  • Why is my proof not sized to my artwork?
  • The proof is sized to the finished cut size of the job specifications that was ordered. When the artwork does not appear sized correctly, verify your receipt to confirm the purchased size. The artwork should measure ¼” larger than the height and width of the size ordered to allow for bleed.

  • Why did my artwork shift on my proof?
  • The most common reason artwork shifts on the proof is that the artwork is not set up or centered correctly on the original file. The proofing engine finds the center point of the artboard/canvas, and places it in the exact center of the trim size.    We recommend using our layout templates or read our "Setting Up Your File" document for helpful information on setting up your file with or without the templates.    Note: In the case of an EPS file, our system uses the bounding box for centering purposes. Saving an EPS file as a PDF usually corrects the shifting problem.     Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) for assistance.

  • What are the colored lines on my proof?
  • The lines on your PDF proof show where we will trim and fold your piece. The blue line is the final trim line. The red line is the bleed line. Any background image or color should extend to the red bleed line. The green line represents the caution zone area. Any text should stay inside the green caution zone line. The green/yellow dotted lines show where we will score and/or fold your piece.

  • Why don’t I see my fold lines on my proof?
  • There are two reasons a proof will not show fold lines. Either folding was not ordered or the job was ordered with a custom trim. If you are expecting your piece to fold and you do not have green/yellow dotted proof lines, please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) for assistance.

File Setup


  • What type of files can I upload?
  • You can upload .pdf, .tif, .jpg, or .eps files. We recommend .pdf files.

  • What is bleed?
  • Bleed is a printing term for artwork that is going to, or bleeding to, the edge of the finished piece. We require a 1/8” bleed on all sides to ensure that when the finished piece is cut down to the final size, if the paper shifts slightly, the edge will still show color.    Your online proof shows the red bleed line, the blue trim line and green caution zone line.

  • What is caution zone?
  • Caution zone is the space between the design and the trim line. We require a 1/8” caution zone on all sides to ensure that when the finished piece is cut to the final size, your design will not end up too close to the edge of the finished piece.    Your online proof shows the red bleed line, the blue trim line and the green caution zone line.

  • What is low resolution?
  • Resolution refers to the crispness of an image. Resolution is directly based on the number of dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). Computer monitors require only 72dpi to display a crisp image, for digital printing a minimum of 200dpi is recommended, and for offset printing 300dpi is recommended.    Viewing your PrintPlace.com PDF proof at 300% will give you a good rendition of how the image will appear on the finished printed piece.

  • How do I set up my mail panel?
  • In order to meet USPS mailing requirements all mail pieces must have a: 4" wide by 2" tall white space in the bottom right corner for the barcode and addressing purposes. The mailing panel may not have a border or background color.

    • 1” by 1” white space in upper right corner for the indicia.
    • Return address on the same side as the mailing panel.
  • How do I know where my piece will perforate?
  • If your artwork includes dotted lines as part of the design, we will perforate on those lines. Otherwise, please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) so that we may note your job appropriately and post a custom proof to your account showing the correct perforation location.

  • How do I indicate a special or offset fold?
  • Your proof will show green/yellow dotted lines for the standard folding option you selected. We can adjust the fold lines to meet your needs. Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) so that we may note your job appropriately and post a custom proof to your account showing the correct folding requirements for your job.

  • How do I set up my book artwork?
  • We print book pages in spread, however, for proofing purposes we require each page to be built as a single page with a 1/8” bleed on all 4 sides, then combine the individual pages into a multi-page PDF. For example, a 12-page book will require a 12-page PDF file to be uploaded.    For books built in design programs such as InDesign or Quark, set up your document to the finished size of your book (measure the front cover when closed) with a 1/8" bleed and export the PDF with bleed on all sides.    For books that do not have crossover pages, set up your pages as single pages with a 1/8" bleed then save your single pages into a multi-page PDF. Crossovers are when images or text cross over 2 facing pages. For books with crossovers, we recommend using a design program such as InDesign or Quark.    Please contact our art department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) if you need additional assistance.

  • How do I use your layout templates?
  • Our layout templates are not interactive; they are for design placement only. Depending on the software program you are using, open the PDF or JPG file in your software program on a separate layer or to set up guidelines. Use the red (bleed), blue (trim), green (caution zone), and green/yellow dotted lines (folding) to set up your artwork layout.    Any background image or color that is meant to go to the edge of the finished piece should extend to the red line on the layout template. Any text should stay inside the green caution zone lines. If your piece is folding, your artwork should line up perfectly with the green/yellow dotted lines. Be sure to use the correct template for the front and back sides for all folding projects.    Some designs do not require a layout guide. Try our " Setting Up Your File " tips for general information on setting up your artwork.

Design and File Correction


  • Can I design my business cards on your site?
  • We require press-ready artwork in either a PDF, TIFF, JPG or EPS file. Tips to set up your file and layout templates are available to help you set up your artwork using many different software programs. Our art department is available to answer questions and to help with your artwork. For a nominal fee, the art department can do minor file repairs to existing artwork. Please call our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) for assistance.

  • Why was my artwork put on hold after I had approved it for printing?
  • The art team acts as an extra set of eyes that will review your proof for common technical issues to help ensure you receive the best possible finished product. If we find any problems, your job will be placed on hold with an explanation. You have the option to correct the problem or to waive the hold status and move the job into production. There are no further reviews of your artwork once you waive the hold status. The job will print as it appears on the proof.    We offer a “No Art Check” option, upon request, that would limit the art check to restricted material only. Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) for additional information.

  • Can I send my native design files for you to convert?
  • We require press-ready artwork in either a PDF, TIFF, JPG or EPS file. If you need assistance on how to save your artwork to one of these file formats, please call us at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT). Our art department will be happy to help. In some cases, the art department may ask for your native files which you can send to art@printplace.com.

Artwork

  • Can I skip the art check?
  • The standard art check is a free service we provide to help ensure you receive the best possible finished product. The art department will review your proof for common technical problems. If they find a potential problem, they will place your job on hold. An automated email will be sent and your account will show the hold status with an explanation of the problem(s). You will have the opportunity to reject the artwork and upload revised artwork or waive the hold status.    Although you may not skip the art check process, you can contact us by phone, chat or email and request that the art department expedite the art check so that you may waive the hold status right away.    A “No Art Check” option is available in some cases. Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) for more information.

  • How do I save a PDF?
  • Almost all software programs will allow you to generate a PDF file. The option may vary depending on the software program you are using, but generally if you go to the “File” tab on the menu bar, you will find a “Save As” or “Export” or “Print” option. Select “PDF” as the file type and follow the software program instructions to create the PDF.    Select the option of "High Quality Print" or "High Press Quality". Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) if you need additional assistance.

  • How long will you keep my artwork?
  • Artwork is available for direct re-order on the site for 12 month. Some artwork is archived after 12 months. Please contact our customer service department at 877-405-3949, M-F (7am-8pm CT) if you are looking for artwork that is no longer available on the site.