Info about some of the common industry processes and terms.
What is Rich Black?
Rich Black is a combination of 40% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 30% Yellow and 100% Black.
Rich Black is sometimes used for large black images or objects to achieve a deep solid black when being printed on offset or wide format press, where 100% Black on its own isn’t always enough.
However 100% Black gives the best solid black result in the design of files for production on our small format digital press (printing up to A3/SRA3 size).
NOTE: Rich Black should NEVER be used on text or thin lines or objects. Also 100% of all four CMYK colours should never be used either. A Rich Black can be created as a new Spot colour in InDesign/Illustrator. If you are unsure of how or when to use a Rich Black, please ask us.
What are Trim Marks?
Trim marks are lines that tell the printer where the the page is to be cut. This is particularly important if your file has Bleed.
If your file does not have Bleed you may not need to include Trim Marks and the file can be final size. Trim Mark lines are positioned outside the final cut size of the page and are usually automatically placed by the software used to create your print-ready PDF.
What is GSM?
GSM means Grams per Square Metre. The higher the GSM number, the thicker the paper/card stock.
Standard copy paper used in your home/office printers is 80gsm. Letterheads or compliments slip are generally 90-120gsm. Standard brochures, flyers or handouts are typically 130-200gsm. Premium flyers, brochures, invitations and postcards are between 200-350gsm. Business cards are normally 350gsm (our premium cards are a laminated 350gsm). For specialty cards please ask for a quote. Posters range from 150gsm to 220gsm in general, depending on the size and purpose.
If you are unsure what GSM is best for you and your project, we are happy to recommend the most suitable for you.
What are CMYK and RGB colours?
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black). These 4 colours are used on white paper to produce almost every colour. No percentage of all colours combined produces white, all the colours at 100% create a kind of black, and every combination in-between creates the colours you see on the page.
RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue. These 3 colours are used for all light based TV/device screens. No colours produce black and all colours at full intensity produce white, with every variation between creating all the colours we see.
As they are two fundamentally different ways to create colours, when RGB images are converted to CMYK during the printing process some colours change and undesirable outcomes can occur. It is usually recommended to convert all colours to CMYK for consistant results. However, there are some exceptions; RGB produces the most vibrant colours for large wide format printing such as posters.
If you are unsure what colour space your files or images are or what colour space to use for your project, please contact us and we will be happy to check your files and/or advise the best colour space to use for your project.
What are PMS colours?
PMS colours are colours from the Pantone Colour Matching System©™ and are an internationally recognised standard for colours in the printing industry. PMS colours are used to ensure consistent colour matching for specific colours, mostly used by companies wanting to control how their brand appears across various publications.
Depending on the process used to print, choosing a PMS colour from the Pantone swatch book can insure your colours print how you envisioned.
On most printing jobs, CMYK colours are used. This means that PMS colours may not be exactly as seen in the Pantone swatch book but will be matched as closely as possible. If you require a definite PMS colour in your printing, please specify this in your communication and contact us for a custom quote.
What is Bleed and why do I need it?
Bleed is a printing term that is used to describe images or elements of a design that touch the edge of the page and extend beyond the trim edge, so you don't end up with a white margin.
A commercial printer cannot print right to the edge of a sheet of paper so there's no such thing as "borderless" printing on a commercial press. To combat this we print fractionally beyond the edge of the design on a larger sheet of paper and then trim it down to the final cut size.
The ideal required Bleed amount is 3mm on all sides for business cards, flyers, handouts etc and 5mm for posters A2 and larger.
What's the difference between high and low resolution images?
For images to print looking sharp and clear, they need to be supplied at high resolution. Large format posters can be around 200dpi (depending on the image) but in general all print files should be 300dpi (dots/pixels per inch).
Images used or downloaded from the internet are usually small and low resolution (72dpi) and, even though they can look fine on screen, will often be pixelated (jagged or fuzzy) when printed. You can check the resolution of a file in Photoshop or other photo editing programs. Failing that try viewing/zooming them on screen to the physical size they will be printed at.
If you are still unsure if your images are good enough resolution to print from, we are more than happy to check your files.
What if I realise there's an error in my file after I have sent an order?
Contact us immediately! In most cases once an order is received and approved it gets sent into production. Depending on what stage of production the job is at it may be possible to stop/hold the job. If you need to make a correction or supply a new file for printing, an admin fee may apply.
What if there is a problem with my job when I receive it?
Even though we take great care to ensure your job is exactly how you envisioned it, on rare occasions there can be issues with your final printed product.
If you find a problem please contact us immediately. If we determine that ColorMania is at fault, we will rectify the problem as soon as we can and deliver back to you at no cost. However, we do request photo evidence or verification by returning part or the full job back to ColorMania.
Trim Marks / Crop Marks - How do I make them?
Trim marks/Crop marks must be included on your print ready file. These marks show where the file will be trimmed. These marks are usually automatically setup during the exporting of your file to PDF by selecting the Marks & Bleeds tab, and the checking the Crop Marks and Use Document Bleed boxes of your Acrobat profile.
What PDF settings should I use?
All files should be sent as PDF files with the following specifications:
Bleed - Minimum 3mm (5mm for Wide Format)
High resolution images - 300dpi
Outlined Text - Text/fonts converted to outlines/curves or embedded in document
Colours - set to CMYK (unless otherwise specified)
Spot UV/Foiling setups included (if applicable)
Download PDF job options in the link above (these are ColorManias recommended settings for use) to import into Indesign or Illustrator, You can import these into Indesign or Illustrator by going to File > Adobe PDF presets > Define. Then clicking on load > select the downloaded PDF preset file > Done.
Use the values and options shown in the steps below (from step 5).
To import into Indesign or illustrator, please follow the instructions below.
Step 1: - Download colormania PDF print preset above.
File -> Adobe PDF presets -> Define...
Step 2: - Click on Load...
Step 3: - Select the PDF job options downloaded from the link above
Step 4: - Once the job options loads, click done
Step 5: - File -> Export...
Step 6: - Name your file -> Save
Step 7: - Select 'colormania_PDF Export' in Adobe PDF Preset dropdown then you can
click export to create your print ready PDF. You are done if you did not download
job options, please skip to Step 8.
Step 8: - If you did not import 'colormania_PDF Export' job options, continue by following these steps. Select the same values in each tab before exporting.
Step 9: - General Tab:
Step 10: - Compression Tab: Set Pixels per inch to 300 & 350
Step 11: - Marks and Bleeds Tab: Select Crop Marks and Document bleed
Step 12: - Output Tab: Set to No Colour Conversion & Included Tagged Source Profiles
Step 13: - Advanced tab: Set Sunset fonts to 100% and Lnaguage English UK
Once you have set all of these settings, you can click on Export to create your Print Ready File! You are done!
Is your artwork Print Ready?
Files should be supplied as high quality, print ready PDFs. Please go to the ‘PDF Settings’ tab to download ColorMania's PDF profile or to get more information on our preferred PDF settings.
All PDFs must have the following:
• Images at 300dpi.
• Images in CMYK colour mode.
• Fonts must be Embedded in the PDF or converted to Outlines. Black text to be 100% black (not made up of CMYK).
• PDFs must be centred on the page, or additional setup costs maybe incurred.
• PDFs should have 3mm bleed (5mm for Wide Format).