Frequently Asked Questions
Have you ever had a question and either didn't know where to find the answer or were too afraid to ask? If so, you've come to the right place.
As the name would suggest, this section is a compilation of answers to the questions our clients commonly ask. Here you'll find answers to common questions our clients ask. Just start by following one of the links below.
- At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
- Can you give me some "Desktop Publishing Guidelines" ?
- Can you print bleeds on envelopes?
- Do you print bleeds?
- How can I eliminate paper jams and curls on my forms?
- How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
- How long does it take for you to complete my order?
- Is white considered a printing color?
- My file prints out fine on my printer. Why doesn't it work for Alliance Business Services.
- Tips on file format setups
- Tips on how to save your design files
- What are the comparative advantages of producing my job on your duplicating devices versus producing them on your presses?
- What do I need to provide for variable data projects?
- What does personalization mean?
- What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
- What font files need to be sent with my job and how do I collect them?
- What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
- What is an embedded graphic and why is it bad to use them?
- What is coated paper stock?
- What is the Pantone Matching System?
- What is the preferred industry software for the page layout and design?
- What is the proper resolution for scanning a photograph intended for use in a printed piece, and how large should I scan it?
- What is the proper resolution for scanning line art or text.
- What is variable data printing?
- What kind of work does our store do?
- What type of return can I expect from personalized or variable data marketing materials?
- Why can't I simply open a low resolution (i.e. 72 dpi) graphic in Photoshop and increase the resolution to 300 dpi if that's what you need?
- Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
- Why does a graphic image taken off the Web look ragged when printed?
- Why is it important that I include my fonts with my job, can't you just substitute your versions of the fonts?
- Why should I supply lasers and color separations with my disk?
At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics?
Resolution should be set to 300 dpi.
Pictures and graphics pulled from the internet are often low resolution, typically 72 dpi or 96 dpi. Avoid these graphics, as they will appear pixilated and blocky when printed.
Also note that you should save all photos in CMYK mode, not RGB mode when possible. Images saved in RGB mode may not print properly. If you are unable to save your image in CYMK mode, please let us know.
Can you give me some "Desktop Publishing Guidelines" ? Click on link for guidelines
Can you print bleeds on envelopes? The answer is a conditional no, envelopes may bleed off 3 sides but you will get a wrap around ink ghosting on the opposite side. It makes your printed envelope look as if the ink has offset.
We do not recommend bleeds on any envelopes.
Do you print bleeds? If your image is to bleed (the ink prints to the edge of the printed piece) add .25" more in each direction that it will bleed. For example, if you want a 4 inch by 5 inch flyer with bleeds on all sides, when you order, your dimensions must be 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches, this allows room to trim the printed item.
How can I eliminate paper jams and curls on my forms?
It is important to store your laser forms in a humidity-controlled environment when possible. Store your forms in the same room as your laser printer at least 24 hours before printing.
Well, since you are here, we would suggest you use our online estimate request form. Otherwise, the best way to ensure that we get all the information necessary to do an accurate quote is to give us a call and talk with one of our customer service representatives.
How long does it take for you to complete my order?
There really isn't a short answer to this question. Some jobs can be produced in minutes and some jobs may take days. Let us know when you need your job completed and we'll let you know if it can be done. We go to great lengths to meet your most stringent demands.
Is white considered a printing color?
Not typically. Because white is the default color of paper, it is simply recognized as the absence of any ink. However, when using colored paper, white ink may be used if any text or graphic requires it.
My file prints out fine on my printer. Why doesn't it work for Alliance Business Services. In order for us to successfully output your file, all the elements that were used to create the file (i. e. correct fonts, linked graphics, etc.) must be provided to us. We cannot guarantee that your job will come out as intended if we have not been given all the elements required for the job. Furthermore, the technology used in a desktop inkjet or laser printer is very different from the technology used in preparing a file for offset printing. Unfortunately, it is often not possible to exactly match the output from your inkjet printer.
Tips on file format setups
Many layout programs have collecting or packaging functions that will automatically collect your document, fonts, all art including and a report. When possible, it is recommended to use these functions because without any or all of these elements we will be unable to print your postcard.
• Enclose all screen fonts and printer fonts
• Include all placed images
• Make sure your files are set with proper bleed, trim and safety areas.
BLEED: All art trimming off the edge MUST be pulled out 1/8” beyond the trim line
TRIM: This is the guideline where the card will be cut
SAFETY: All art and text within this safety area will assure that nothing will be trimmed off during the cutting process. A 1/4” guide in from the trim should work fine.
Tips on how to save your design files
Make them print ready and acceptable for us to print.
Saving your Corel Draw file as an Adobe Illustrator EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to outline fonts
• Export as Illustrator EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to paths
• Export as Illustrator EPS or PDF
Saving your PageMaker file as an EPS
• Embed all Images
• Convert all your text/copy to outline fonts
• Export your file as an EPS using the below settings:
Postscript Level 2
TIFF format and
You will need to have the full version of Adobe Acrobat PDF. If you don’t please download and use our Adobe Job Ready Program. If you do have the full version of Adobe Acrobat PDF please follow the steps below.
Under File, Print, select Adobe PDF writer
Under Properties select Press Quality and Save your PDF
What are the comparative advantages of producing my job on your duplicating devices versus producing them on your presses?
The advantages of our duplicating devices are best realized on runs of 1000 or less requiring black printing and where a fast turnaround is needed. If the piece included photos or halftone screens the copy quality would be lower than that achieved by the printing process. On longer runs or where multiple colors are desired, as well as when screens or halftones require higher quality, offset printing would be the best alternative. The only disadvantage of the printing process would be the longer production time requirements.
What do I need to provide for variable data projects?
We work with many types of data files, but CSV files are the safest bet. These are data files that have commas separating each field, and returns separating each line of data. To save time and hassle, make sure your data is properly formatted with each piece of data in separate fields.
Complex projects may require other files, like image files or additional data files. If you are unsure of what may be required for a particular variable project, give us a call for a free consultation.
What does personalization mean?
Personalization is another term for variable data—technology for printing documents so that each piece is personalized to the specific recipient.
Personalizing can be as simple as a unique name and address on every printed piece. But more sophisticated levels of personalization can include text or images that vary based on data specific to the recipient, or data-driven graphics such as a pie chart illustrating something specific to the recipient.
What file format should I use when submitting my electronic document for printing?
PDF (Portable Document Format) is the most common and preferred file format for submitting digital documents. With the installation of a PDF print driver on your computer, virtually any program can generate a PDF file suitable for printing. Both commercial and free PDF print drivers are available online for download from different sources.
What font files need to be sent with my job and how do I collect them? If your files were created on a Macintosh and you are using Postscript Type 1 fonts, you will need to send both the printer fonts and the screen fonts; with Truetype fonts, there are no seperate printer and screen font files to worry about. These filesw will msot likely be found in the fonts folder located inside your Mac's system folder. Simply highlight the fonts you need to collect, and drag them to the folder or disk onto which your are going to copy the fonts while holding down the option key. Please note that it is criticql to hold down the option key in this process, otherwise, you wmay move the fonts instead of copying them.
What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
In printing terms, a proof is a one-off copy of your document after all modifications and printing setup processes have been completed. It is your last and best opportunity to make sure that the print job comes out the way you want. By carefully inspecting the proof, you can help us assure an accurate, flawless delivery of your print job on the first run.
What is an embedded graphic and why is it bad to use them? An embedded graphic is a "read-only" copy of the graphic in a page layout file, which means it cannot be opened by the original application that created it. Therefore we cannot make any changes to the graphic that may be needed. If the page layout or illustration program you are using allows you to embed placed graphics and you have chosen to use this option, you should still include the original external graphic file with the job. This gives us the ability to perform any manipulation to the graphic that may be needed or desired (i. e. color conversion, color separation).
What is coated paper stock?
Coated paper stock is a premium, high-quality paper that has been given a smooth glossy finish designed specifically for documents that require sharp details and vivid colors. Uncoated paper, by contrast, is relatively inexpensive but porous, and is best suited to the printing of black and white text documents.
What is the Pantone Matching System?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color reproduction standard in which colors all across the spectrum are each identified by a unique, independent number. The use of PMS allows us to precisely match colors and maintain color consistency throughout the printing process.
What is the preferred industry software for the page layout and design? QuarkXPress and Adobe PageMaker have many features that make them the most efficient in both file creation and final output within a professional printing environment.
What is the proper resolution for scanning a photograph intended for use in a printed piece, and how large should I scan it? 300 dpi is the standard resolution for scanning a continous tone image( i.e. a photograph). An image should be scaled to no smaller than the size at which it will be used in the piece. Scanning it larger than the final size won't do any harm. Furthermore, if the image is to be used more than once at various sizes, it should be scanned at the largest size.
What is the proper resolution for scanning line art or text. 1200 dpi is the standard resolution for scanning these types of originals.
What is variable data printing?
Variable data printing is technology for printing documents so that each piece is personalized to the specific recipient. At the most basic level, this means personalizing a name and address. But for real impact, many projects include unique graphics and content that speaks directly to the recipient.
What kind of work does our store do?
Copy Services - Our high-speed duplicators can produce copies efficiently and economically whether you provide hard copy or bring in digital files on disk. Our state of the art production duplicating equipment allow us to deliver work quickly and efficiently.
Printing Services - From one-color to full-color printing, our store has the capability to meet your needs. From short run to long run, we can offer a solution that will be just right for you.
Finishing Services - We can cut, perforate, score, number, fold, collate, saddle stitch, bind, and just about any other bindery process you could ever need.
Design Services - We utilize the latest design technology available in order to offer a full range of design services. If you need a brochure produced, we can work from your camera ready copy, use the files you provide on disk, or design your brochure from scratch.
What type of return can I expect from personalized or variable data marketing materials?
Studies consistently show that personalized marketing receives a far greater response than static pieces.
On average, the response rate of a static direct mail campaign is around 2%. A targeted, personalized campaign that utilizes variable data technology can increase that response rate by up to 30%.
While the cost per piece of variable imaging direct mail is higher, your cost per response is much lower, increasing your return on investment.
Why can't I simply open a low resolution (i.e. 72 dpi) graphic in Photoshop and increase the resolution to 300 dpi if that's what you need? When an image is scanned at 72 dpi at the outset, the amount of detail and sharpness that is captured at that low resolution is much less than that which is captured at a higher resolution setting such as 300 dpi, increasing the resolution after the scanning stage will not put back detail and sharpness which was not captured in the first place, it's merely adding more pixels to a poor scan. The image must be rescanned at the higher resolution.
Why do the printed colors look different from the colors on my screen?
In short, printers and monitors produce colors in different ways.
Monitors use the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, which usually supports a wider spectrum of colors. Printers use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model, which can reproduce most—but not all—of the colors in the RGB color model. Depending on the equipment used, CMYK generally matches 85–90% of the colors in the RGB model.
When a color is selected from the RGB model that is out of the range of the CMYK model, the application chooses what it thinks is the closest color that will match. Programs like Adobe Photoshop will allow you to choose which color will be replaced. Others may not.
Why does a graphic image taken off the Web look ragged when printed? Graphics that are meant to be viewed over the Internet are typically saved in a low resolution format (such as .jpg or .gif) because this creates a small file size which allows for faster downloading. The resolution of these files is typically 72 dpi, which is an insufficient resolution for high quality printing. When there is a continuous-tone original available to scan, an image should be rendered at 300 dpi when it is intended to be used in a printed piece. This captures the maximum amount of detail. Also, if a graphic was originally created in a program such as Illustrator or Freehand, we would need that original file, not the one into which it was converted for the web.
Why is it important that I include my fonts with my job, can't you just substitute your versions of the fonts? First of all, we may not have some or all of the fonts you used. Also, fonts carry programming information within them that affects how the lines of text break and determines how the characters appear on the screen and on the page when it prints. These characteristics can vary from font manufacturer to font manufacturer, so substituting our different version of a particular font (i.e. Times) may cause dramatic and undesirable changes to the way the text flows within the document and the appearance of the final output.
Why should I supply lasers and color separations with my disk? Customer provided hard copies eliminate guesswork and give us a clear picture of what the printed piece should look like. Providing lasers of the color separations also shows that the file has been prepared to separate properly during the final output.