FAQs

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How and why do I need to press check my jobs?
How fast can I get my order?
What do I need to do before submitting artwork?
How can I send you my artwork?
What are these file formats that you speak of?
I don’t have Adobe software, can I submit Microsoft Office files?
What kind of paper can I choose from?
I need promotional products as well, what do you offer?
I want to send a personalized mailer, what do I need?
What if I want to use a different parcel service other than USPS for shipping a project?
I have a mailing list, what do I need to provide?
What is the largest bulk postcard we can mail without incurring additional postage above a postcard postal rate?

Q?

How and why do I need to press check my jobs?

A.

A press check includes one of the last steps in the process of approval for printing projects. It takes place after the press is set up and is running a project. As an on-site final proofing step, the designer or client is looking to ensure the printer is achieving color accuracy, the files are printing the correct information (usually only for variable data), and any specialty printing techniques are ready to go. During the press check, you won’t actually see any specialty printing processes done unless specifically requested. If requested, you can orders and/ or check dies for cuts, embosses, foil stamps, etc.

Depending on the type of press job it is, the press operator may bring approximately 5-30 proofs for you to look at. A digital press job from our HP Indigo 5500 can produce a few prints at a time, while our Komori Lithrone offset press needs to run more sheets to ensure consistent ink density, accurate color throughout the project, and to ensure there aren’t any paper stock issues.

The main purpose of conducting a press check is to ensure color accuracy, but if you find an art or copy error, you have the option to fix it for an additional cost. Offset printing requires new plates  for a correction that is made, while digital printing may be more flexible in the way we can correct the artwork.

Most projects benefit from that one last opportunity to ensure color comes as close as possible to what you are seeking. A few examples of such cases include:

  • Matching specific Pantone colors for a logo, image, or area of color
  • Checking density and color for a large area of solid colors
  • Ensuring images are printing as they were intended
  • NOTE: Images will not appear as they are on screen, as monitors are backlight and display light in different ways

In addition to color and other basics, several other items to include in your inspection are:

  • Registration of colors and bleeds on the page
  • Making sure the paper is what you specified, correct color, weight, mill, etc.
  • Folds and bind specifications are accurate
  • Printing Concepts will have ALL necessary pieces in stock when your job is in production, so be sure to check that the binding materials are correct, foils are accurate, and emboss dies are shaped according to your design
  • Make sure the press operator provides multiple pulls throughout the printing process to show consistent color.

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Q?

How fast can I get my order?

A.

This is the question we get often, and there really is not a static answer. The speed in which you receive your final product depends on a variety of factors, such as how fast we can get paper stock, the quantity of your order, the type of printing you need (offset or digital), do you have any binding or mailing situations, whether you want Printing Concepts to deliver or ship the final product. 

Here’s one example of an order for 5,000 four page full color CMYK brochures that are being printed to cut, fold, saddle stitch, and deliver to the customer. 

Once we receive the brochure file and all the accompanying images, our pre-press team will ensure the file is ready for press, making any required changes, and pre-flight the file so the production team receives all the necessary data needed. This process will usually take a few hours to a few days depending on the quality of file we received. If we receive the artwork where the images, fonts, and artwork is print-ready, the file is sent to the appropriate area for printing within hours. If there are any final changes from the customer, or if we receive images that need to be converted to CMYK, fonts that need to be replaced, or any artwork needs to be placed correctly for a bleed (1/8″ from the crop), then the file will be held until we receive the updated artwork. The amount of time artwork stays in pre-press depends on how much work is needed for the project to be printed according to customer specifications. 

When the artwork is ready to go to press, there are two print processes — offset press, or digital.

With a Digital Press, the artwork is printed through our HP Indigo 5500 Digital Press which prints at higher speeds and can be adjusted quickly and accurately if needed. When printing digitally, short runs (100 – 2,000) are the optimal quantity. If we print digitally, the press operator loads the final PDF in the press software and the brochure can be printed in less than 5 hours. Once the printing is completed, we allow the ink to dry and adhere to the paper for a few hours.

With an Offset Press, the press operator uses one of our Komori Lithrone presses  and knows that we are printing full color CMYK, so they set the ink in the rollers and run some test prints to assure ink consistency and registration is accurate for the artwork. Since ink from the offset press needs more time to dry, the brochure is set aside so the ink can rest. With an offset press, with ink should rest anywhere between 6 hours to 24 hours depending on the amount of ink and number of passes. This particular brochure took 2 hours to print and needs to dry for 6  hours. 

When the brochure is ready to be cut, folded, and bound, these three processes can be done in the same day. The cutter and bindery operators ensure that the ink is dry and there aren’t any malformations on the brochure. Cutting is done in roughly 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the job. When the brochure reaches the bindery, they fold and bind in the same machine. Due to some machines running slower than others, the processes are done concurrently to ensure the project is completed in a reasonable time. It is important to note that if folding or binding needs to be completed manually, the timeline on the project is lengthened (we will notify you if this happens).

When the project is completed, we are able to deliver within the same day it is finished. To get a better understanding of your project, talk to one of our production members to get an exact day of delivery. We work hard to ensure that your deadlines are reached.

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Q?

What do I need to do before submitting artwork?

A.

When you submit your artwork to our pre-press staff, there are a few things that need to be addressed prior to us preparing your file. All of these suggestions will ensure that your artwork is in the best condition and there aren’t any errors that we may bump into when we send this to our plate makers or digital press operators. In the end, this will save you time and money, and ensure that we have the right files, images, fonts, and additional information that we might need. Our pre-press designers use both PC and MAC software, so there shouldn’t be any issues when sending documents. In addition, we have the latest software updates from Adobe CS6 to Quark Xpress 8. Our HP Indigo Digital press software is updated weekly. With our numerous years of experience, these are the most common tips that we can suggest.

  • There are no gaps between artwork and the edge of the crop if you request a bleed. A bleed is when your artwork or color extends to the edge of the paper, so there is not a paper border from the ink to the edge.
  • Presses cannot print in RGB (red, green, blue). Any of your images provided in RGB will be converted to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Some colors when converted appear different on your screen. 
  • Any PMS colors should be documented as and marked accordingly.
  • All documents should be mocked up by the client, so we can produce exactly what is required. If there are special instructions, it is common to include instructions in a word or text file.
  • For any foil stamping, embossing, or specialty printing, send instructions in a Word or Text file explaining what you are looking for. Our production team is happy to offer suggestions and help if you are unsure about what you want.
  • If you cannot send a file with outlined text, include all of your font files. Include all original image files with your submission, this includes Photoshop PSD, Illustrator AI, EPS vector artwork files.
    • For Windows: pfb and pfm files (Each font requires a printer for every style: bold, italic, book)
    • For MAC: Suitcase (screen font) and postscript file (printer font)
    • Truetype and Opentype: One postscript file for each font (Truetype and OpenType combines screen and printer fonts into one file.)
  • If you can, send your artwork in PDF format. This will ensure all embedded images and fonts will appear as they are intended to be printed.

These tips and suggestions are here to ensure accuracy and a smarter work flow. By following these steps, you will see a faster turnaround time, less pre-press time, and a production team that knows exactly what you are looking for. As always, if you have any questions about the steps listed above, please contact one of our production team members or a member of our pre-press team.

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Q?

How can I send you my artwork?

A.

With Printing Concepts, there many ways in which you can submit your artwork such as using our FTP upload software, Dropbox, Kodak InSite, and more.

The first way, and maybe the easiest, is to use our FTP upload page. This page allows you to input your information, select your project type and add any additional comments for the project. Be sure to attach your ZIP file as well. When you submit your artwork through our FTP page, we will receive the files and call you to verify the artwork and files you sent. Many of our clients prefer to use their own FTP client. If you access our FTP server via your FTP client, you will access our general drop folder. If you would like us to set up your own client folder specific to your files. please contact one of our pre-press team members. If this is your preferred method to access your FTP folder, we recommend using clients such as FileZilla, CuteFTP, or CoreFTP. All suggestions offer the service that you need to access our FTP server.

Another preferred method is Dropbox. “Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.” We have used Dropbox for numerous clients with countless projects  and stand by the service for sending multiple large files for their projects. Even though with Dropbox you have your own private folder that makes files private, some people prefer a more secure method. If you wish to send files using our secure network, you could use our FTP or Kodak InSite upload service. Contact us if you would like to use Dropbox, we look forward to sharing with you.

A preferred method of file transfer for very large projects that require online proofing, we suggest using our Kokak InSite Proofing software. This software takes the hassle out of uploading several files. In order to use our Kodak InSite system, simply contact one of our pre-press specialists and we will assign you a unique Kodak InSite Username and Password. Once you are set up on our Kodak InSite system, we will guide you for logging in and using the software. When you log in, you will be able to submit artwork, check on the progress of your projects, and check digital proofs online. We have many customers that use this service that  find it intuitive and user friendly.

We use Google Drive and YouSendIt in case you want to set up an account with one of our pre-press specialists. Our art director, Jim Colvin can help you submit your artwork to us if needed.

If you need to send us large amounts of files, combined 500Mb+, please contact us directly.

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Q?

What type of file formats do you accept?

A.

Vector Artwork – Mathematically defined points, lines, and curves that can be scaled to any size without losing detail or image quality.
Bitmap Images – also called Raster Images, are essentially millions of  tiny dots called pixels that are displayed on a strict X-Y grid. Bitmaps work with resolution, or a defined number of dots(pixels per inch). These images contain a fixed number of pixels, so if the image size is manipulated, the resolution (pixels per inch) goes down causing distortion and a loss of clarity in the image. For press, images MUST be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Anything less than 300 dpi will print blurry and distorted.

.PDFPortable Document File: Self contained file that can be opened on virtually any computer. It is the preferable file type for almost every printer.

.PSDAdobe Photoshop File: This type of file does not compress layers and is ideal for images if they are still in the editing process.

.AIAdobe Illustrator File: This type of file uses vector graphics to plot color and text. All images and fonts are linked to outside files, so if you submit a .AI file for press you should send all accompanying files as well.

.INDDAdobe InDesign File: A vector graphic based file similar to a .AI file, except InDesign files are formatted specifically for multi-page documents such as books, brochures, and magazines.

.QXPQuarkXpress File: A vector graphic based file similar to a .AI file, except Quark files are formatted specifically for multi-page documents such as books, brochures, and magazines.

.JPG – Joint Photographic Expert Group: A compressed photographic image, typically web-based.A jpeg, like a .pdf, can be opened on virtually any computer. Unfortunately, a jpeg does lose data when compressing.

.GIF – Graphics Interchange Format: A compressed image used to represent mostly solid colors and transparency colors.This format can only display 256 colors. Unfortunately a gif does lose data when compressing.

.TIF – Tagged-Image File Format: A tiff is a bitmap image format supported by virtually all image-editing and page-layout applications and can hold unlimited colors. A .tif does not convert cross platforms, so if a .tif is saved in Mac format, it cannot be opened by a PC. However a .tif saved on a PC can be opened on a Mac.

.EPS –  Encapsulated Post Script: An .eps can be vector based artwork or a bitmap image containing unlimited colors. The .eps files are used widely in our industry.

.PNG – Portable Network Graphics: A .png is similar to a gif, but contains unlimited colors as opposed to a gif’s 256 colors. And, a png does not lose image quality when it is compressed.

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Q?

I don’t have Adobe software, can I submit Microsoft Office files?

A.

Yes, you can. Our pre-press team can handle a large number of files. We are able to open and work with any number of Microsoft or OpenOffice files, including Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access. In addition, we have legacy software such as PageMaker and Freehand. Preferably, we ask that you send a PDF file of your artwork, however, we are capable of converting most files into PDF print ready files. Talk to one of our pre-press team members if you have any additional questions.

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Q?

What kind of paper can I choose from?

A.

At Printing Concepts, we use a large variety of paper products. We always carry CoC (Chain of Custody) paper on stock in a variety of types, from 20# text to 24pt paper board, and everything in between both uncoated and coated stocks. If there is a special paper you are looking for, our Estimators and Pre-press designers on staff have expert knowledge in what papers will work for your projects. 

If you have paper sample books at your location from a specific mill, it is important to note that some of the stocks may not be available. Most mills only carry certain stocks for 1-2 years before rotating their products. So if you find a specific paper from a sample book, you can check with our estimators to ensure that the mill still carries that type of paper. We are willing to work with you to find a similar stock that suits your creative needs. 

Also, we have a large library of paper sample books on hand. If you need any help, feel free to call and discuss paper with us. 

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Q?

I need promotional products as well, what do you offer?

A.

Although we are mainly a commercial and digital printer, we also have an entire department devoted to promotional products. This term, promotional products, may be a little vague. Listed below are some of the promotional products we offer. These products are great to hand out during office events and special days, personal events, conferences, trade shows, customer appreciations, and much more. Our products come in various colors and brands,  so  you are sure to find something that adds that extra push to get your brand noticed. Feel free to call our Promotional Product Specialist to discuss more options.

As a sample of what we can offer, we can place your logo and select information on the following:

Stationary:

Pens, business card holders, flash drives, coffee mugs, thermoses, water bottles, drink holders, novelty pens, calculators, paper pads, invoices, ordering forms, and business printing, large clips, and much more.

Clothing:

Golf shirts, pants, sweat pants, Socks, hoodies, sweatshirts, wind breakers, hats, baseball caps, beanie caps, visors, belts, shoe laces, watches, wristbands, armbands, workout clothes, and more.

Sports Equipment:

Frisbees, footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, hockey pucks, baseball bats, catcher mits, golf balls, golf tees, pedometers, stopwatches, sports outfits, tennis rackets, tennis balls, badminton birdies, and more.

Novelty Products:

Umbrellas, stress balls, massage equipment, tools (hammers, screwdrivers, measuring tape, stud finders, wrenches, saws), balloons, toys, NFL, NBA, NHL, PGA, MLB, and local sport teams equipment and fan fare, and much more.

Contact one of our sales members to get a full listing of our customizable promotional products.

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Q?

I want to personalize my promotional campaign, what do I need?

A.

If you want to personalize your mailing campaign by using variables such as name, company, title, address, location, or other descriptors, the variable information should be included in your database or Excel mailing list. If you want to create a dynamic personalized campaign that contains variable images, logos, color combinations, or large sections of copy that are specific to target demographics, please provide the variable information as part of a separate file. Be sure to include specific instructions on how the personalized campaign should be built. When creating specialized targeted mailings, we value the amount of information and work that goes into a strong database. Since sending a personalized mailer requires numerous logistical factors, we encourage you to contact our mailing department for any questions you might have – 814-833-8080.

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Q?

What if I want to use a different parcel service other than USPS for shipping a project?

A.

At Printing Concepts, we can send your project out with any parcel service requested. If you decide to use UPS or Fedex to send your project, we require an account number to provide to the national parcel service at the time of mailing. Printing Concepts can also use our parcel account information and simply invoice you at the end of the project.

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Q?

I have a mailing list, what do I need to provide?

A.

When handling a mailing list, there are numerous things to take into consideration. Even though we can handle various types of data, the most efficient is a Microsoft Excel file that is organized and properly delimited using commas or tabs to separate mailing list attributes. Also, removing duplicate mailing addresses will help save time on our part and will also save you money at the post office. We provide mailing list cleansing services at an additional cost if necessary.

Proper Information

When providing mailing information, ensure that the address information is uniform throughout the entire list. If we have a list of 10,000 names and addresses, all columns in your database should include the same information. This will save you time and money when we send the mailers to the post office.

USPS Permit Information

When providing information for your mailing campaign, we need to have your Mailing Permit Number and the Post Office location that the permit belongs to. In addition, we need to know whether you are sending your mailer using Indicia (Pre-Sorted Standard, Non-profit, First Class, or Pre-Sorted First Class) or using stamps (Pre-Sorted, Non-Profit, First Class, Pre-Sorted First Class). This information should be documented when you place the order.

Dedupe Criteria

Dedupe criteria includes how you wish to send your mailer. For example, do you wish to direct your mailer to a specific person in the household, or use the first person listed on your mailing list. If you wish to talk to our mailing department for more information about this, please call Printing Concepts at 814-833-8080.

Move Update

At Printing Concepts, there are three separate ways we can handle move update information. First, we can submit your mailing list to the National Change of Address vendor with a completed PAF Form. Secondly, we can use Generic Addressee information if requested by the client. This goes to “Current Resident” in addition to a specified addressee. Lastly, we can use an Ancillary Service approved by the USPS.

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Q?

What is the largest bulk postcard we can mail without incurring additional postage above a postcard postal rate?

A.

Typically, when you mail a letter or flat mailer, your mailing piece can be 6.125″ x 11.5″ without incurring additional postal charges. In addition, the Post Office will add a surcharge per ounce to mailing pieces that exceed 3.3 oz. In these instances, the mailing piece is typically a magazine or small brochure, however almost all traditional letters and direct mailers are under 3.3 oz.

If you are part of a non-profit organization, there are specific discounts per mailing that is mailed first class. In these situations, you can talk to our mailing department – 814-833-8080 –  to find out what kind of discounts are available.

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