Payment & Billing FAQ
We accept payment by credit card. Your credit card is processed by PayPal or Authorize.net. A PayPal account is not necessary to make a purchase from us. You may use any of the following credit cards to make a purchase:
- American Express
The full amount of the order is automatically charged to your credit card at the time your order is placed.
Binding Methods FAQ
The most economical binding method, a staple is used in the corner to attached pages together.
This inexpensive method binds pages using two or more staples placed along a folded edge. Suitable for 60 pages or less, there is no printable spine with this option.
Similar to saddle stitching, except the loops extend out from the spine staples. The loops allow the bound pages to be placed into ring binders.
A round plastic or metal coil is wound through the pages to hold them together. Pages bound this way can be opened 360 degrees and can remain flat when open. Available in black (standard ) and other colors including PMS.
Also known as twin-loop binding or double-loop binding. A wire is threaded through small holes in the edge of the paper. The result is very simialr in look and function to coil binding. A variety of colors are available.
This inexpensive method well uses a plastic "comb" that wraps through rectangular holes in the edge of the pages. The plastic comb also form a spine that covers the edge of the pages.
Metal screw-together posts are inserted into holes drill through the stack of paper. holding them together.
Thin strips of plastic are permanently locked together through holes in the front and back of the pages. Velo bound pages do not lie flat and have an exposed, unprintable spine. A variety of colors are available.
A strip of tape is applied to the spine of a stack of pages, overlapping the bound edge. The pages are often stitched together before the tape is applied. Limited color range.
Pages are pressed into an adhesive-coated cloth strip that wraps around the spine and covers. Similar to tape binding, the binding is flexible and durable. A variety of cloth colors are available.
A paper cover wraps around the pages and glued to the spine. The cover forms the front, spine and back. Popular for paperback and softcover books, this method results in a professional appearance. Suitable for most book types and sizes.
Also known as hard cover binding, case binding cover materials can be paper, vinyl, cloth, or leather. A loose, paper dust jacket often wrapped around the cover to protect it.
Bleed Examples FAQ
Bleed refers to a background color, graphic, or image that extends to the edge of the finished paper size and beyond. It's difficult for printing equipment to apply ink up to the cut edge of a sheet of paper. So an extra .125" (3mm) margin is typically added on each side of the design, enabling the background color, graphic, or image to extend past (i.e., "bleed off") the paper's final trim edge. This extra bleed area will be cut off the printed sheet. For example, a letterhead sheet that incorporates bleed in its design will be 8.75" x 11.25" before being trimmed to a finished size of 8.5" x 11".
In contrast, a piece with no bleed keeps all the printed elements a minimum of .125" (3mm) away from the edge of the paper on all four sides. Nothing is printed to the finished edge of the paper.
The illustration on the left shows a page printed with bleed, before trimming. When trimmed, the finished piece will have color or graphic content extending to the finished, cut edge on all four sides.The illustration on the right shows a page designed without any bleed. When trimmed, the finished piece will have an unprinted border on all four sides.
A sheet with bleed is larger than its finished size. The "trim edge" refers to each edge of the sheet after it has been cut to its finished size. Any printed elements that extend beyond the trim edge will be cut off in the process of reducing the paper to its finished size.
To avoid being trimmed off, text and other important matter must stay within a "safety zone" that is is a minimum of .125" (3mm) away from the trim edge. Any design elements that extend beyond the safety zone risk being cut off in the process of trimming the paper to its finished size. For example, the safety zone for an 8.5" x 11" letterhead would be .125" smaller on each side, or 8.25" x 10.75".
The illustration on the left shows a document designed with bleed (finished size plus an extra .125" (3mm) on each side). Because minor variations can occur when cutting the paper to its finished size, to avoid being trimmed off, text and other important matter must stay .125" (3mm) away from the trim edge (the "safety zone").
The illustration on the right shows the printed piece after trimming. Note the last "e" in "Example" has been cut in half because it extended past the safety zone and into the trimming area. Some of the artwork has been cut off for the same reason. Any elements that extend past the safety zone risk being lost in the process of trimming the paper to its finished size.
To create bleed in your design, simply make sure the background color, graphic, or image you want it to bleed extends off the the final trim edge of the page by .125" (3mm).
If you are creating your file in an application such as Photoshop, you must make your document height and width dimensions .25" (6mm) larger than your final trim size. For example, if the finished size is 8.5" x 11" then make your document 8.75" x11.25". Position guides that are .125" from each edge. For design purposes, these guides will represent where the paper (and any of your design elements) will be cut.
Position any background color, graphic, or image that you want to bleed so they extended past your guides, all the way to the outside edge of the document. Remember, the extra .125" will be cut off after your piece is printed.
Clipping Path Services FAQ
If you have an image you want printed, but with part of the image or background removed, you need a clipping path service. To get a quote on your clipping path image(s), use the Clipping Service Quote form.
A clipping path is the digital equivalent of cutting out part of a photograph with a scissors, except it is done on a digital image by trained professional's employing sophisticated software tools. A clipping path cuts out an area of an image, removing it from the background. Everything inside the clipping path is kept while everything outside the path is deleted. It can also be used to edit a particular area of an image. Clipping paths can produce a sharp, defined edge or a soft edge instead of a jagged "stepping stair" edge.
The reasons to use a clipping path to remove the background from an image varies with the project but generally involve:
- Flexibility. Many file types can be edited with a clipping path, including JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF.
- Professionalism. A clipped image will look better than "painting out" the background. A clipped image simply looks more professional.
- Edge Treatment. A clipped image can be created with either a sharp edge or a soft edge.
- Edibility. A clipped image can be edited at any time.
- Convenience. A clipping path service is easy and fast.
- File Size. A clipped image can produce a smaller file size.
The cost for converting artwork to a clipped path is based on the number of images and the complexity of the clipping path required to remove the image. Note that the service is only to those placing an order for a product in our store.
- Simple Clipping Path. For images that require just a simple outline—perhaps with a few curves or jagged edges—but with no inside paths.
Medium Clipping Path. For images with more difficult compounded shapes (i.e., shapes made up of many other shapes) but with no inside paths.
Complex Clipping Path. For images with complex shapes requiring many cutting paths, a detailed outline, or inside paths.
Collating and slip sheeting FAQ
In printing, collating refers to sequentially layering the pages of a multiple page document, book, brochure, etc. in their proper, finished order. Collation is performed during the finishing process. It is often followed by binding the pages together. The simplest example of collating is a three page document, where page one is followed by page two, which is followed by page three. This is the same sequence the pages are read.
Instead of sequencing the pages where page one is followed by page two, which is followed by page three, the pages are in reverse order. Page three is first, followed by page two, which is followed by page one.
An option to order a multiple page document without collating (i.e., uncollated), simply means that each page will be delivered in separate stacks or bundles. Page one will be in one stack, page two in other stack, etc.
In printing, slip sheeting refers to placing a blank piece of paper between groups of printed pages. It can be used with collated or uncollated pages. Slip sheets make it easy to see where one set stops and another begins, especially when stacked loose one on top of another and packed in cartons.
Dot Gain & TVI FAQ
Dot gain is a measure of the difference between the actual ink dot size of the printed piece and the ink dot size specified by the source file. It refers to ink dots appearing larger on the printed piece due to either a mechanical or optical effect. Dot gain is not good or bad. It is simply a normal result of the printing process that must be taken into consideration during the creation of the source file, the choice of papers, printing process, inks, etc. If not taken into account, the result is a printed image that looks darker than intended.
Illustration of Dot Gain Before and After
Mechanical dot gain occurs when paper fibers wick away the liquid ink, increasing the ink dot size. Like rolling out bakery dough to make pizza, it can also be the result of the ink dot being pressed and flattened by rollers during the printing process, increasing the size of the dot.
The paper that is used, the ink, the ink color, the printing press, the roller pressure, and the press speed all can affect dot gain. Uncoated papers like newsprint have a higher dot gain than coated papers. For color printing, the dot gain will vary between colors. The dot gain for cyan, magenta, yellow and black will not be the same. Therefore, the dot gain for each color of ink used in the printed piece must be measured to accurately portray the dot gain for the piece. Web presses normally produce a higher dot gain than sheetfed presses.
Optical dot gain results when light is trapped under the edge of ink dots, making the image appear darker to the measuring device as well as your eye.
A scanned image that looks fine on screen may be too dark for printing and my need to have its contrast curves adjusted. Optical dot gain (or loss) can be caused by the laser beam in certain equipment such as film imagesetters (recorder gain) and computer to plate systems. Depending on whether the process is positive or negative, a slight dot gain or a dot loss may occur. The type of material used for the plate or film may affect dot gain. In general, more dot gain will result from higher screen rulings.
There will always be some degree of dot gain, but it can be minimized by our experienced prepress staff and our press operators using sophisticated software, calibration tools and production processes. Our trained staff of graphic designers take dot gain into account when designing pieces for our customers. Of course, if you are employing someone else to design your pieces it would be their responsibility to take dot gain into account.
Dot gain is expressed as the difference between the actual value and the intended value. What is being measured is something called a "flat tint" which is expressed as a percentage. For example: if the flat tint of the piece is measured at 60%, while the intended flat tint was 50%, the printed piece would have a dot gain of 10% (60%-50%=10%). Note the use of "%" is treated like a unit of measure such as inches, kilograms, etc. rather than a real percentage. A spectrodensitometer is used for accurately measuring dot areas. A densitomer can also be used but it is less accurate.
Dot gain and TVI are sometimes used interchangeably. TVI stands for Tone Value Increase which is a more general measure of the difference in value between the value specified in the source file and the value of the printed piece. Instead of measuring an increase in dot size, it measure changes in tone. It is used when individual ink dots are not used in the printing process to produce the printed piece. A tone reproduction curve provides a relationship between tonal value increase and dot gain.
1. Select Your Product.
- Select Product. Select your product from the Products menu, or by starting on the Home page of this site.
- Get Price. Each product has a price calculator beside it. Besides quantity, there may be other options (ink color, paper stock, size, turnaround, etc.) to choose from. Click a menu to view the available options and make your selections. If the menu has a single item, that is the only choice available and you need do nothing. The price of the product is displayed automatically after you've chosen all your options.
- Upload Files. Click the Select button under Upload Files. Find and select the file you are sending us. If more than one file, use the other file upload buttons, or compress your files into one file using Zip, Stuffit, etc.
- See Shipping. Under Estimate Shipping, a shipping rate can be displayed by entering your zip/postal code and clicking the "Get Rates" button.
2. Click "Add to Cart"
- Edit, Remove, Add Products. To edit a product (quantity, file attachments, etc.) in the cart click the Edit link, to remove the product click the Remove link. To add more products to the cart, click the "Continue Shopping" button.
- Select Shipping Method & Ship To. To select your desired shipping methods and your ship to address, you must be logged in. Click the "Login if you are a returning customer, or Create An Account" link. After login, return to the saved cart, select your shipping methods and ship to address. Review your order summary and click the "Proceed to Checkout" button.
3. Click "Proceed to Checkout"
- Enter Promotional Codes, PO#, Cost Center Number. If you have a promotion code, enter it on this page and select "Apply Promo Code." Promotional codes cannot be applied to your account after you have submitted your order. If you have a PO# or Cost Center Number, enter it here and include any additional order instructions.
- Review Order Summary. At checkout, please carefully review your order summary again. Click the "Edit quantities or shipping options" link if changes need to be made.
- Place Order. To place and pay for the order, click the "Submit Order and Pay with Credit Card" button.
- Pay Securely. A secure PayPal page will allow you to pay by credit card (or by using your PayPal account). You do not need to log in to PayPal to pay by credit card. Approve your proof as the final step.
4. Approve Your Proof
- Approve Proof. If you requested a PDF softproof, you will receive an email with a link to view the proof. Click the approval button to approve your proof. If you selected a hard copy proof instead, we will send you a hardcopy by mail or courier. Fax your approval. Changes cannot be made after the proof is approved.
- Start Order Processing Turnaround Time. We will begin processing your order and turnaround time of your print job begins once we receive your proof approval.
The Products page displays all the products we offer. Simply click on a product to view complete information about the product, including pricing. If you have questions about any product, please use the Contact Us in the navigation menu at the top of this page. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff will help you.
Our product pages provide instant pricing. The price is displayed automatically after you've selected all your choices for the product (ink color, paper stock, size, turnaround, etc.). Price quotes for custom print jobs can be requested by clicking "Custom Quote" in the navigation menu at the top of this page.
A list of shipping methods and your estimated shipping rate are displayed on each product page. Under "Estimate Shipping", simply enter your zip/postal code and click the "Get Rates" button. You'll be able to select a shipping method after adding the product to the shopping cart.
Yes. We use PayPal or Authorize.net to process credit card payments. They are among the largest online credit card processors in the world and comply with the most stringent industry security measures. You can use American Express, Discover Card, Mastercard, or Visa without the need for a PayPal account. Alternatively, if you have a PayPal account you can use that instead.
The Standard and Rush production turnaround time advertised for a product on this site is based on the typical number of days a print job is completed under normal circumstances, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. While we employ best efforts to meet your target deadline date, unforeseen delays in delivery services, breakdown of equipment, illness, inclement weather, acts of nature and other occurrences may impact our ability to meet the deadline.
Production will start when all of the following are met: all print-ready artwork is uploaded, full payment is received, and—when a proof has been requested by you—when your proof approval has been received before any indicated cutoff time.
Yes. Production of your order will not start until we receive your proof approval. If you have requested a softproof, the proof approval must be received by us by via the emailed approval link we send you. If you have requested a hard copy proof, the signed and approved proof must be received by us by mail or fax. For orders and/or proofs that are approved after 8:00 AM, the production turnaround time starts the next business day.
No. The transit time for shipping is always additional to production turnaround. Please take this into consideration when placing the order.
Paper Coatings FAQ
All paper stocks start out being uncoated. Uncoated paper is porous with an uneven, rougher surface. As a result, uncoated paper is easier to write on as it absorb ink readily and dries to the touch faster. However, the heavier amount of ink uncoated paper absorbs may result in less rub resistance. Uncoated stocks include bonds, offsets, card, and newsprint.
After manufacture, the uncoated paper surface may be coated with white clay materials. The clay gives the paper a smooth feel by filling minute valleys in the paper surface. The coating also limits the absorption of inks into the paper. Because the inks stay on the surface of the coating instead of soaking in, the ink looks deeper, sharper and glossier. However, writing and ballpoint pen inks may take longer to dry on coated paper and can smudge more easily. On coated stock, less ink is need to achieve the desired visual richness for text, images and photo's.
Coatings are offered in a range of reflectivity values including dull, matte, silk, satin or glossy. Reading long areas of text is easier when printed on dull or matt finishes. After printing images on dull or mat stock, a varnish can be applied to the picture areas to add gloss and make the pictures pop.
Paper with a coating is smooth and shiny while uncoated paper is flat with little or no shine. Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, deeper, richer, with great color-contrast. Photo's and graphics tend to look better on gloss stock, while text heavy documents and artwork are often use matte stock.
Text is more easily read on paper with a matte finish. The softer looking dull surface of matte paper provides color contrast and clarity. Unlike glossy paper, matte stock is more forgiving of fingerprints, smudges and dust.
Uncoated paper is very absorbant, and ink dots will tend to spread outwards (i.e., dot gain), leading to a less precise and darker image than when printed on coated stock. A similar effect happens when a paper towel is placed on a spilled drop of coffee. The drop diameter increases and gets a ragged edge as the liquid spreads in the absorbant fibers. This dot gain can be minimized using sophisticated printing techniques, but it can't be eliminated. Coated paper is less absorbant and therefore dot gain is usually not an issue.
A coated paper is produced at the paper mill with a smooth surface and can have a range of reflectivity values including dull, matte, silk, satin or glossy. A coating finish on the other hand is a clear layer applied after the ink is printed on the paper. It is used to enhance the visual appeal of printed graphics or to add durability and protection to the printing.
A protective coating or varnish will not be applied to the printed piece.
Coating finishes are applied after the ink. They are often used to enhance the appearance of graphics. These coatings also protect the printed surface from scratching, marring, fingerprints and dirt by increasing the rub and scuff resistance.
Coating finishes improve durability of the printed pieces during shipment through to the end use of items such as postcards, brochures, catalog covers, flyers. Coating finishes can also be used on enhance economy-grade paper by improving gloss and providing a smoother touch.
An aqueous coating is a water-based coating applied to a printed piece to enhance the graphics with a matte or gloss finish and to provide added durability and protection. Aqueous coatings provide good rub and scuff resistance. Like other finishes applied to printed paper, it protects the surface from scratches, fingerprints, dirt, and smudging.
Aqueous coatings are less costly than varnish. Aqueous coatings are dried in minutes while a traditional varnishes may need a few hours or days to dry. Aqueous coatings don’t yellow with age while varnishes will yellow.
Aqueous coatings are dried by hot air, UV coatings are almost instantly dried and cured by ultraviolet light. UV coatings are tougher and more slippery than aqueous. A ballpoint pen can be used to write on an aqueous coating, but not on most UV coatings. UV coatings can achieve a higher gloss.
A matte, silk, satin or glossy finish is applied to the entire printed piece. For this type of coating a liquid is applied to the printed paper and exposed to an ultraviolet light which rapidly cures it and bonds it to the paper. UV coating adds durability to the printed piece and deters dirt. For most UV coatings, the piece can no longer be printed on nor written on with a ballpoint pen.
A matte, silk, satin or glossy finish can be applied to specific "spot" areas of the printed piece such as photographs and graphic images. For this type of coating a liquid is applied to the printed paper and exposed to an ultraviolet light which rapidly cures it and bonds it to the paper.
Paper Folding Methods FAQ
The are a number of standard folding types used in the printing industry. These are illustrated below. Of course, there are many more than we show here. If you have a question about a standard or special fold, please use the Contact link in the main navigation menu above.
Standard Commercial Printing Paper Folding Methods
None Half Fold Tri-Fold Gate Fold Open Gate Fold Closed
Z-Fold Accordion Fold 4-Panel Fold Roll Fold Quarter Fold
Paper Size FAQ
There are a number of paper size standards used in the world today, the most commonly used being the international ISO standard and a standard used in North America. These sizes are used to order various printed items such as stationery, brochures, digital copies, fliers, etc. The charts below detail and compare these sizes and their dimensions.
Paper Sizes (Metric A, B, North American ARCH)
|ISO A Sizes|
841 mm x 1,189 mm
(33.11 in. x 46.81 in.)
594 mm x 841 mm
(23.39 in. x 33.11 in.)
420 mm x 594 mm
(16.54 in. x 23.39 in.)
297 mm x 420 mm
(11.69 in. x 16.54 in.)
210 mm x 297 mm
(8.27 in. x 11.69 in.)
148 mm x 210 mm
(5.83 in. x 8.27 in.)
105 mm x 148 mm
(4.13 in. x 5.83 in.)
74 mm x 105 mm
(2.91 in. x 4.13 in.)
ISO B Sizes
N. American ANSI Sizes
N. American ARCH Sizes
ISO Metric Paper Sizes
Int'l Business Card
Japanese Business Card
Hungarian Business Card
Paper, Stock, Finish & Weight FAQ
Paper can be grouped into two main grades based on weight and thickness: Text and Cover.
"Text" is a generic name for a variety of lighter, thinner paper stocks that includes Book, Bond, Writing, Ledger, Offset paper. Text paper is flexible, can be easily rolled and folded and is used for printing flyers, handouts, letterheads, book pages, etc. The paper used in ink jet printers would be considered Text.
"Cover" is a generic name for a variety of heavier and thicker paper stocks that includes Bristol, Index, Tag, and Card paper. It is more durable than Text paper. Cover paper is more rigid and must be scored (i.e., dented or creased) before it can be folded. This type of paper is usually smooth, but can have a texture. It can have either a matte or glossy appearance. Cover/Card stock is often used for mass mailed postcards, business cards, playing cards, invitations, program covers, greeting cards, door hangers, catalogue covers, presentation covers, scrapbooking, etc. At its heaviest, Card stock would be similar to material used for a cereal box.
Paper with a gloss finish is smooth and shiny while matte paper is flat with little or no shine. Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, deeper, richer, with great color-contrast. Photo's and graphics tend to look better on gloss stock, while text heavy documents and artwork are often use matte stock.
Text is more easily read on paper with a matte finish. The softer looking dull surface of matte paper provides color contrast and clarity. Unlike glossy paper, matte stock is more forgiving of fingerprints, smudges and dust.
Besides a generic "Text" weight or "Cover" weight, descriptions often include a number to refer to the weight of the paper. The higher the number, the heavier the paper. Heavier paper is typically thicker as well.
There are two systems for indicating the weight of paper; an international metric system and a North American system. The North American system for paper weight uses pounds (expressed as either # or lb) while the metric system uses grams per square meter (gsm or g/m2 or g/m2), often called "grammage". The North American pound rating is based on the weight of 500 sheets (a.k.a. a ream), while the metric rating is based on the weight of a 1 meter by 1 meter sheet.
The U.S. system is a bit confusing because the same pound number can be used for both lighter (Text) paper and heavier (Cover) paper. For example, 80# Text paper and 80# Cover paper have the same pound number even though the Cover stock is almost twice as heavy! The metric system in comparison is more straight forward. For example, 80# Text Paper weighs 104 g/m2 while 80# Cover Stock weighs 218 g/m2. The Cover stock is clearly more than twice as heavy as the Text stock.
The reason actual weight of Text and Cover stock of the same pound rating will be different is due to the way the pound rating is determined. Both use the weight of 500 sheets for the pound rating, but they use a different size sheet. For Text stock, 500 sheets measuring 25" x 38" are used. While for Cover stock, 500 sheets measuring 20" x 26" sheets are used instead.
Sometimes the thickness of Cover/Card stock is used instead of its weight. In North America, paper thickness can be displayed in points (1/1000" or .001"). For example, a 10 pt. Card stock is 0.010" thick (about the weight of a 140lb Index stock) while 12 pt. Card stock is 0.012" thick (about the weight of a 100lb Cover stock).
Paper Weight Comparison Chart (lightest to heaviest)
Sheets VS Pages FAQ
Sometimes there is confusion about the difference between what is a sheet of paper and what is a page. They are not the same. For example, the booklet on the left has two sheets of paper that are folded and saddle stitched (stapled) along the fold, joining together the folded sheets. This booklet contains eight pages.
The images below show how the printing industry counts the number of pages in a document. If you have questions about the number of pages in your project, use Contact Us in the menu above.
One Sheet, Two Pages
A single sheet of paper has two sides. Each side is considered one page. So a sheet of paper is two pages.
One Sheet Folded, Four Pages
A sheet folded in two is a four page document. Page one is the front cover, page two is the inside front, page three is the facing page, and page four is the back cover.
Two Folded Sheets, Eight Pages
Two folded sheets that are nested together are an eight page document.