1. What type of files can I send to Coastal Printing?
Our preferred file formats are: .pdf, .jpg, .tif and .eps. We can also accept .indd, .qxd, .doc, .docx, .pub and .png image files, although they are not the preferred file formats. When applicable, be sure to include any linked images or special fonts used so we can build your custom printing job just right.
2. What color mode should my files be sent for my custom print job?
All files should be in the CMYK color mode. CMYK is four color processing and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black).
3. What resolution should my file be sent for my custom print work?
Ideally, files should be 300 dpi at the actual size to be printed. However, it is possible to use a lower resolution file that is larger than actual size. In which case, we can reduce the overall size and increase the resolution at the same time.
4. What graphics programs do you accept?
Adobe InDesign (.indd, .pdf), Adobe Photoshop (.jpg, .tif, .eps, .pdf, etc.), Adobe Illustrator (.ai, .eps, .pdf), QuarkXPress (.qxd, .pdf,.eps), PageMaker (.pmd, .pdf, .eps).
See FAQ question #1 for more information about accepted file formats.
5. What is bleed?
Bleed is additional imagery added to the file that needs to extend beyond the final trimmed edge. It is only required when an image (or color) goes to the edge. The amount of bleed needed is 1/8” beyond where the final trim will be made. Each side of the printed piece that has image or color going to the edge will require the 1/8” bleed. This means, for example, if the final trim size will be 3.5”w x 2”h. The file dimensions will need to be 3.75”w x 2.25”h. This gives 1/8” of bleed on each edge.
6. Why don’t the colors on my monitor look the same as my printed piece?
Not all monitors are equal. Also, not all computers and monitors are adjusted the same. For this reason, you can put two identical monitors side by side and there’s a strong possibility that the colors will not match. There are several different settings on a monitor that can effect the color that is viewed. Including brightness, contrast, color temperature and of course the colors themselves. What is perceived on screen can also be altered based on the type of lighting the monitor is being viewed under or even the color of the walls and/or ceiling of the room the monitor is in.
7. What is the Pantone Matching System and why is it important to my project?
Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color system developed by a company called Pantone. It is the printing industry standard color matching system. When designing a printing project to be printed, if there is an exact color that needs to be reproduced, it can be matched to a PMS color guide. The PMS number shown on the matching color can be used in the design application. Then when the piece is output for production, this color will separate as its own color plate. When put on the printing press, the pressman will use the matching PMS color ink and a PMS color guide to dial in the exact color that’s required. It is important that the color guide used is a Pantone printed guide. Pantone spends a tremendous amount of time ensuring that all of their color guides match exactly to one another and to the actual color being referenced.
8. Is white an actual printing color?
No. White is accomplished by using the paper as the color. For example, if you have a black box with white text in it, the black ink would have the text ‘knocked out’ of it. This way when the ink is applied to the paper, the paper shows through and gives the appearance that white ink has been put on top of the black. In this example, if yellow paper was used instead of white, the text in the box would be yellow instead of white.
9. What is resolution and what resolution should my images be for my custom print job?
Photos (raster images) are made up of tiny little dots called pixels. Resolution is basically the density of the pixels in a file. The higher the resolution, the denser the pixels are in the file. Resolution is typically measured in either pixels (200×250) or dots per inch (96dpi). If you think about it in terms of a television, a high definition movie on a bluray has a higher resolution than standard definition movie has on a DVD. The larger the resolution, the better quality you can achieve. For printing, 300dpi is required. Internet images are 96 dpi, and up to 220 dpi for retina display. It is strongly recommended to avoid these types of photos, for various reasons.
10. I want to email images or graphic files. What file types do you accept and which is better for emailing?
We prefer .pdf files for all custom printing jobs. PDF files will typically have smaller file sizes which makes for easier emailing. However, other file formats can be accepted and emailed. Please see FAQ #1 for more information on accepted file formats.
11. Do I need to include the fonts I want when I submit a file?
Yes, if your file uses fonts that cannot be outlined using a graphics program like Adobe Illustrator, you will need to include the fonts used. If the font used is not installed on our computer when we open the file, it will substitute it with an alternate font and cause type reflow issues, not to mention drastically changing the look of your design.
12. How do I get very large files to you? What is Dropbox and SugarSync and why use on of these instead of emailing large files?
When needing to send us files for your custom print job that are more than 6-7mb in size, emailing them may become problematic. If the file makes it through, it could take a long time for the file to be sent and received. In this case, you can use a web app, like Dropbox or SugarSync to send larger files or large groups of files. These web apps can allow you to set up folders that can be shared by multiple people (when allowed). Which can come in handy for large projects that require a lot of file swapping. The best part is, both Dropbox and SugarSync offer free memberships. If you need help using one of these programs, please allow us to assist you.
13. What is a proof and why is it important that I look at it?
A proof is the final review before the job is printed or produced. A proof is required before we print, in order to catch mistakes like numbers being transposed or even for alternate design considerations. Unfortunately, we are not perfect and with the amount of jobs coming across our desks, its real easy to accidentally get your fingers crossed on the keyboard. We cannot proceed with a job without a written proof approval. We want your print job to be just as you ordered, so proof your artwork carefully before signing off on it.
14. How do I go about getting an estimate from you?
You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 843-448-0269. When emailing, please provide us with any information that might help us provide the quote. Such as quantity, size, paper choice, shirt colors, shirt sizes, one side or two, etc. Once we have the information, we will generate a quote for you and either email it or call you back.
15. Why should I avoid using borders in my design?
Borders are tricky in printing so as professional printers we recommend avoiding borders. The problem with most borders is consistency. Due to the way printing jobs are cut (big stacks of paper at once), one side of the printed piece, the border may be 1/8” wide, but the border on the opposite side may only be 1/16”. Getting the borders to be the same size on all four sides of your custom printing job is very difficult, so we suggest leaving them out of your design.
16. Can I submit a front and back in the same file?
You sure can. Regardless of what we are doing with the file, the programs we use will allow us to use each page as we need for your printing project.
17. How should I set up a PMS color (spot color)?
When designing for spot colors, the color chosen should be created in the graphics program as a spot color swatch. The item that needs to be printed in that color will need to be colored with the spot color swatch. If there are several items that need to be in that same color, it is important to double check that they are all colored with the spot color swatch that you created. If choosing a PMS color, most graphics programs include PMS color swatches. In this case, you would just need to color the item(s) with the correct color from that swatch pallet. This swatch is already designated as a spot color.
18. How do I export a .pdf correctly?
Be sure to use the appropriate output profile or option when saving the PDF. Depending on the program being used, what this is called and where it is chosen will vary. Often times, it is either a Save As or Export option and can generally be found under the File menu. After clicking either of these, typically, the program will ask where to save it, what to name it, and there should be a drop down menu that you can choose PDF as the file format. Once you have this the way you want it and click okay, it should be presented with another dialog box. This is typically where you choose the file quality. This is also where the programs differ the most. Some say Press Quality, some say Commercial Press and some may have a different term for output. Whatever indicates the output is what should be used. You want to avoid settings called screen or web because they will not be saved at a high resolution and will likely result in poor image quality when printed.
19. What is rich black and how can I get it?
Not all blacks are the same. There are blacks that are created out of just black ink and there are blacks that are created out of black ink, blue ink, magenta ink and yellow ink or a combination of them. A black that is created out of the four colors is called a rich black. If a 100% black (only) square is printed right next to a rich black square, the rich black square would be a deeper, darker black. The 100% black (only) square would appear to be a dark gray in comparison. A rich black can be used for a smooth, consistent black when used on a four color print job. However, if the piece is being printed as one color (black only) and a rich black is used, the piece then becomes a four color print job which will increase the price of your custom printing job.
20. How do I set up an envelope with bleed?
Currently we do not offer envelopes with bleeds. We cannot run envelopes that require bleed. Envelopes that bleed need to be printed before the paper is converted into an envelope. Once it is printed, the sheet is then die cut into the shape of an unfolded envelope. After which, it is then folded and glued into the envelope that we all see and use daily. This process can get a bit pricey because of the special work required.
21. What is a UV coating?
UV coating is a special coating that is put onto a piece after it has been printed. This coating acts and feels like a heavy lamination. This extra coating gives the piece a high gloss coating, a heavier feel and a little more durability as opposed to a non UV coated card. No additional set up is required in the file. This is something done on press.
22. Can I set up an account for my company or organization with Coastal Printing?
You sure can. Please contact us for our credit application and additional information.
23. What forms of payment are accepted at Coastal Printing?
We accept cash, check, Visa, MasterCard or Discover. It is also possible to set up a credit account with us. Please contact us for our credit application and additional information. First time orders are usually not done on account.
24. How long does it take for you to complete my order?
Given the wide range of custom printing products and services we offer, it is difficult to say exactly how long an order will take to be completed. Generally, our turnaround times range from the same day up to a two weeks. If you have a deadline that you need to meet, please let us know as we can typically make it happen for you.
25. Our organization is tax exempt. What do we need to do so Coastal Printing doesn’t charge sales tax on our job?
The South Carolina Department of Revenue requires that we have a SIGNED form on file from an official of your company or organization. Please note that NOT ALL purchases for businesses or even non-profit organizations are exempt from SALES tax. Check with the local department of revenue to determine whether your organization is sales tax exempt.
26. How long will my sign last outdoors?
There are a couple variables that will determine how long it will last. The substrate used and the method of lettering will both effect the length of time the sign will last. Corrugated plastic (cheapest substrate) will last outdoors for up to 3 years. Aluminum substrates will last several years longer. If the lettering is done with cut vinyl is will last up to 6 years. If the lettering is printed, without lamination, it will last up to 3 years; with lamination it will last up to 5 years.
27. How long can I expect my custom printed shirt to last?
The printed image/lettering should last up to 50 washes. Please follow the washing guidelines supplied with the finished shirt order.