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Frequently Asked Questions
 

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File Types and Terms

What file formats and types do you accept?
We accept JPG, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and EPS files - PDF is the preferred file format.
What does PDF stand for?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format, a universal file format developed by Adobe that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of any source document. It allows a file to be read through the use of Acrobat Reader, regardless of the hardware or software platform on which the file was created. For help in converting your files to the PDF format, check out Primo PDF.
What DPI Resolution is best for printing?
Simpsons Printing prints on offset printing presses using the latest in direct-to-plate technologies. To achieve the sharp, bright color and image reproduction that only an offset press can deliver, images of 300 dpi are required. Your images need to be saved at a resolution of 300 dpi in the final size that they will be used. *Some people take images from the internet in preparing their print publication. These internet images are usually only 72dpi in order for the web pages to load quickly. Use of them will result in very poor print quality.
What is the difference between RGB and CMYK Color Space?
RGB is a color space based on light. Used in digital cameras, computer monitors, digital scanners, and some desktop printers. CMYK is a color spaced based on ink. Used for commercial offset printing press projects.
What is CMYK?
CMYK stands for the 4 color process inks used offset press printing - C yan (blue), M agenta (red), Y ellow and blac K ( K is used so as to not confuse it with blue or cyan). Combining these colors of ink allows for reproduction of thousands of colors, and is sometimes called "full color" printing. The issue in commercial printing projects arises from the fact that the RGB color space does not correspond exactly to the CMYK color space. It is therefore possible for you to see colors on your computer monitor that cannot be reproduced by an offset printing press.
What is RGB?
RGB stands for R ed, G reen, and B lue. Color is a form of light energy that comes in waves, called a visual spectrum. The most dominant colors in the spectrum are red, green, and blue. RGB color is color as we see it (otherwise known as light waves), such as those coming from your computer monitor. Colors displayed on computer monitors and captured by scanners and digital cameras are in RGB. When designing for the Internet, RGB is the color space used, when designing for print, CMYK is the required color space.
What does "Bleed" refer to?
Bleed is the color, type or image that extends beyond the trim marks on a page. To have your color, type or image go all the way to the edge after trimming, we recommend bleeding or extending your color, type, or image beyond the final page size by I/8". This way if your final page size is 8.5" x 11"and your color, type, or image is full bleed (extending beyond each of the 4 edges), the file submitted for printing needs to be 8.75" x 11.25".
Can I make changes to my document before it is printed?
Yes, you will have the ability to either approve an on-line proof or hard copy proof before we begin printing. You may request any changes at this time, as well as approve the related charges before we proceed.
What is a "proof"?
A proof is a way of ensuring we have set your type accurately. The proof is required to confirm everything is positioned according to your requirements. Typically, we will produce a proof which will be sent to you online or printed on paper which can be viewed in our store or delivered to you in person. On multiple color jobs, we can produce a color proof on our color output device to show how the different colors will appear.
How long does it take for me to get the proof of my job?
Once you have placed your order, and we have obtained your electronic files, you should receive a proof within 2 business days.
Abobe PDF (Portable Document Format) logo

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Paper and Printing

What is the difference between Matte and Gloss Paper Stock?
Matte stock is a coated paper that has a dull finish. It is often used to make pages easier to read if they are text-based or contain numerical charts. Gloss stock is a coated paper with a shiny finish. Gloss paper is most often used in 4-color printing because it makes full color photographs, images, and graphics appear more vivid, real and appealing.
What are my 1-color printing options?
Most 1-color printing is black ink on a white stock.
How can I create a higher impact publication using 1-color printing?
You can vary the ink to create a different look. You can also print different color inks on different color papers to create an even more dramatic look.
What are my options with 2-color printing?
Most 2-color print publications use black and one other color to create a higher impact than can be achieved with 1-color. However, any two colors can be used to create just the look you need without the time and expense of going to 4-color process printing.
What are the advantages of full color printing?
4-color printing (CMYK or Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black offset process) will produce the highest quality and most appealing print publications.
Paper and Printing

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Assistance

How can I reach someone if I have questions or need help?
Feel free to Contact Us! We will answer your inquiry quickly.
How long will it take for an e-mail reply to an inquiry?
Usually your emails are answered within 24 hours.
How long will it take to get my order?
Most jobs will be shipped within 5-7 business days after you approve your proof.
Does the Turnaround Time include Shipping Time?
No, the Turnaround Time is how long it will take to complete your project. This is the time from final proof approval to job shipment.
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Terminology

A - D
  • Acid-free paper - paper with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH, its long-lasting and well-suited for permanent record applications like documents, books, and maps
  • Aqueous Coating - a water-based coating applied after printing, either while the paper is still on press, or after it's off. An aqueous coating usually gives a gloss, dull, or matte finish, and helps prevent the underlying ink from rubbing off.
  • Archival Paper - paper that is alkaline and won't deteriorate over time
  • Binding - fastening papers together for easy reading and transport. Papers may be bound together with wire, thread, or glue
  • Bleaching - chemical treatment used to whiten and purify pulp
  • Bleed - image or printed color that runs off the trimmed edge of a page. Bleeding one or more edges of a printed page generally increases both the amount of paper needed and the overall production cost of a printed job. Bleeds are created by trimming the page after printing.
  • BMP - graphics format called a "Bitmap ", and is not generally used in professional printing
  • Bond Paper - widely used for letterheads and business forms, bond papers are characterized by strength, durability, and performance during electronic printing
  • Brightness - reflectivity of pulp, paper, or paperboard under test conditions, using a specially calibrated measuring instrument. If paper lacks brightness it will absorb too much light, so little will reflect back through the ink.
  • Camera Ready - type and/or artwork that has been pasted into position, laser prints, or other artwork to be photographed for plate-ready film
  • CMYK - abbreviation for the four process color inks used in the printing process: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black
  • Color Separation - separating the areas of a piece to be printed into its component spot and process ink colors. Each color to be printed must have its own printing plate.
  • Colorfastness - color that won't run when wet, and won't fade in bright light
  • Contrast - degree of difference between light and dark areas in an image. Extreme lights and darks give an image high contrast. An image with a wide tonal range has lower contrast.
  • Copy - written information and other text used in advertising and printed material
  • Cotton Paper - paper with a minimum cotton fiber content of 25%, cotton papers are primarily used as writing papers
  • Cover Paper - heavier, generally stiffer paper commonly used for book covers, folders, greeting cards, business cards, and brochures
  • Cut-size - writing or business papers that are cut to a finished size of 8.5"x11", 8.5"x14", or 11"x17"
  • Desktop Publishing - process for creating camera ready and plate ready artwork on a personal computer
  • Digital Imaging - process of creating a digital output of an illustration, photographic image, computer file or other computer generated materials
  • Digital Photography - process of recording images using a digital camera or a conventional camera with a digital adapter, it records on a disk or on microchip which can then be downloaded directly to a computer in .tiff,. jpg, or .eps format
  • Digital Printing - type of printing which uses digital imaging process that transfers the image directly onto plain paper immediately, without traditional offset rollers and plates
  • DPI (dot per inch) - number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into a one- inch measure. Generally, the more dots per inch, the more detail is captured, and the sharper the resulting image
E - H
  • EPS - (EPSF) Encapsulated Postscript File. A vector based, computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems. EPS is the preferred format for many computer illustrations, because of its efficient use of memory and fine color control
  • Finish - surface characteristics of a paper
  • Finishing - preparing printed pages for use. Most printed jobs require one or more finishing steps, such as trimming, folding, or binding
  • Folding - doubling up a sheet of paper so that one part lies on top of another. Folding stresses the paper fibers. To create a smooth, straight fold, heavy papers, like cover stocks and bristols, need to be scored before they're folded
  • Four-color Process - method that uses dots of Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and blacK (CMYK) to simulate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image. Reproducing a four-color image begins with separating the image into four different halftones by using color filters of the opposite (or negative) color
  • GIF - eight bit (256 colors or shades of grey) or less computer file format. GIF files are almost never used for professional printing
  • Gloss - coated paper's shiny or lustrous appearance; also the measure of a sheet's surface reflectivity
  • Graphic – non-text item, illustration, photograph or artwork.
  • Graphic Design - visual elements and information arranged to present an idea or concept
  • Guillotine - machine used to trim stacks of paper, a cutting blade moves between two upright guides and slices the paper uniformly as it moves downward
  • Halftone - printed picture that uses dots to simulate the tones between light and dark. Because a printing press cannot change the tone of ink, it will only print the ink color being used on press
  • Ink - combination of pigment, pigment carrier or vehicle, and additives
I - L
  • Ink - combination of pigment, pigment carrier or vehicle, and additives
  • Jog - to shake a stack of papers, either on a machine or by hand, so that the edges line up. Printers jog the paper to get rid of any dust or particles, and to ensure proper feeding into the press
  • JPEG - Joint Photographic Electronic Group, common standard for compressing image data for print
  • Laser Compatible - paper that performs on a laser printer or copier
  • Letterpress - relief printing method. Printing is done using cast metal type or plates on which the image or printing area are raised above the nonprinting areas. Ink rollers touch only the top surface of the raised areas; the nonprinting areas are lower and do not receive ink. The inked image is transferred directly to the page, resulting in type of images that may actually be depressed or debossed into the paper by the pressure of the press
M - P
  • Match Color - custom-blended ink that matches a specified color exactly
  • Matte Coated - non-glossy coating on paper, generally used to refer to papers having little or no gloss. A matte coated sheet is often specified when there is a lot of type, since it makes for easier reading
  • Offset Printing - currently the most common commercial printing method, in which ink is offset from the printing plate to a second roller then to paper
  • Offset - indirect printing process. Ink is transferred to paper from a blanket that carries an impression from the printing plate, rather than directly from the printing plate itself
  • Opacity - measure of how opaque a paper is
  • PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM - the most widely used system for specifying and blending match colors
  • PDF - Portable Document file. A proprietary format developed by Adobe Systems for the transfer of designs across multiple computer platforms
  • Perfecting Press - printing press that simultaneously prints both sides of a sheet of paper as it passes through the press
  • Permanence - paper's ability to resist tears, fading, and general aging over time
  • Petroleum-based Ink - ink using petroleum as the vehicle for carrying the pigment
  • pH - measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a material. Paper with a pH below 7.0 is considered acidic; paper with a pH above 7.0 is considered acid-free, or alkaline
  • Photo CD - format for storing photographic images on a compact disc. Images can be easily accessed for use in professional printing.
  • Photo Copy - mechanical printing process that uses a light sensitive printing element, magnetic toner and a heating element to fuse the toner to the paper
  • Photo Illustration - photograph or composite image containing a photograph
  • Photo Plate - light sensitive printing plate. The plate is developed like film, then used on a printing press
  • Photograph - image or picture made by exposing light sensitive film with a camera
  • Pica - unit of measurement equal to twelve (12) points or one sixth (1/6) of an inch. Used by designers and other graphics professional for its precision
  • Plate - brief for printing plate, generally a thin sheet of metal that carries the printing image. The plate surface is treated or configured so that only the printing image is ink receptive
  • Plate Ready Film - final photographic film used to "burn" printing plates
  • PMS Color - (Pantone Matching System) proprietary color system for choosing and matching specific spot colors. Almost all printers worldwide use this system for color matching
  • Pre-consumer Recovered Paper - paper recovered after the papermaking process, but before use by a consumer
  • Post-consumer Recovered Paper - paper material recovered after being used by a consumer
  • Pre-Press - various printing related services, performed before ink is actually put on the printing press. (i.e. stripping, scanning, color separating. . .)
  • Press Proof - test printing of a subject prior to the final production run. Press proofs are generally printed on the paper stock that will be used for the finished project
  • Printability - how well a paper performs with ink on press
  • Printing - process of applying images to a variety of surfaces
  • Print Quality - overall excellence of a printed piece - paper, ink, press, and the skill of the press operators all affect print quality
  • Process Colors - four process colors: Cyan (process blue), Magenta (process red), Yellow, and blacK are used to print four-color images
  • Process Color - mechanical process of reproducing a full color image with the three primary subtractive color inks (CMYK/ Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) and black
Q - T
  • Quadratone - black and white image printed with four screens and four colors, such as one or more blacks and different shades of gray, used to enrich the contrast between light and dark ares.
  • Ream - package containing 500 sheets of printing paper
  • Recycled Paper - paper product consisting of 100% recovered fiber. Recovered fiber includes pre- and/or post-consumer sources
  • Registration - process of alignment of the different elements in a printing job. Such as the different colored inks on a print job, so they are correctly printed next to each other or over each other
  • Relief - method for printing ink on paper, using type of images that rise above the surface of the printing plate. Ink sits on top of these raised surfaces, and as the paper is pressed onto them it picks up ink
  • RGB – (Red Green Blue) colors used by a computer monitor to create color images on the screen
  • Saddle Stitch - book binding process where pages are stapled together through the spine of the book - many magazines are saddle stitched or stapled
  • Sans Serif - type face that has no tails or curled points (serifs) at the ends
  • Scoring - pressing a channel into a sheet of paper to allow it to fold more easily, it acts as a guide for easier folding, and creates a hinge that keeps the fiber stretch short
  • Serif - curls and points that appear as outward lateral extensions of the bottoms and tops of letterforms on some type faces
  • Shade - color depth and hue in comparison to papers that are the same color
  • Sheet-fed Press - press that prints single sheets of paper, rather than a continuous roll
  • Spot Color - single colors applied to printing when process color is not necessary
  • Subtractive Colors - three primary process printing colors; magenta, cyan, and yellow, as opposed to the three additive primary colors of green, red, and blue
  • TIFF -  (Tagged Image File Format) a bitmapped file format used for the reproduction of digitally scanned images such as photographs, illustrations, and logos
  • Tint – to vary a color by adding white (Also, a very light or delicate variation of a color)
  • Tooth - surface roughness of paper, a characteristic that allows it to take up ink
  • Touchplate - in four-color process printing, an additional fifth plate of ink that adds more of one color to enhance the image
  • Toyo - system used for color matching
  • Trim Size - final size of a printed piece once it's been cut to specification
  • Trimming - cutting paper after printing to make all sheets the same or a specified size
U - Z
  • Vegetable-based Ink (Soy Ink) - ink using vegetable oil, rather than petroleum solvents, as the vehicle for carrying pigment. Vegetable ink colors tend to be more vibrant than petroleum-based inks, but may take longer to dry
  • Watermark a mark - imparted during manufacture, that identifies a paper
  • Whiteness - measure of the amount of light reflected from a sheet of paper
Terminology

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Downloads and Presets

How to Send Files Using Microsoft Publisher (5.3MB)
Microsoft Publisher 2003 Pack-N-Go (5.3MB) - PDF (Portable Document Format) logo

This short tutorial will take you through the steps necessary in providing Simpsons Printing Prepress department with files for production. Please provide a color sample. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Select the PDF image or following text to begin your download.
Microsoft Publisher 2003 Pack-N-Go (5.3MB)

Page Geometry (0.6MB)
Page Geometry (0.6MB) - PDF (Portable Document Format) logo

This helpful illustration explains the essential elements included in the set-up of your pages for printing. It will help you understand where the bleed, trim, and safety zone areas are and how they are used in the printing process. Learning how these important areas are utilized by Simpsons Printing will ensure the success of your printed materials. Select the PDF image or following text to begin your download.
Page Geometry (0.6MB)

How to create a pdf
Apple Macintosh logo

These brief PDF tutorials will take you through step by step to create a PDF usingapplications on the Mac and the PC that is appropriate for Simpsons Printing.

Adobe InDesign CS2 and CS3 -
INDCS2 MAC to PDF.pdf (3.91 MB)
QuarkXPress 6 -
QuarkXPress 6 MAC to PDF.pdf (3.56 MB)
QuarkXPress 7 -
QuarkXPress 7 MAC to PDF.pdf (4.15 MB)

Microsoft Windows logo Adobe InDesign CS2 and CS3 -
IND PC to PDF.pdf (5.47 MB)

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Preparation Checklist for Print Ready Files

  1. Files should be in one of these formats - JPG, PDF, PSD, TIFF, or EPS. Check out Primo PDF if you need help converting your files to PDF.
  2. Be sure that all files have been converted to CMYK color mode. We can do a conversion for you from RGB to CMYK - we make this conversion using standard Photoshop conversion values which may or may not yield the result you are looking for.
  3. All images must be 300 dpi
  4. Text must be at least 1/8th inch inside of the cut line on all sides.
  5. If your page requires a bleed, please provide 1/8" on each edge.
  6. If printing a book or catalog, leave a gutter (a gutter is the space between the text and spine of the page) between folded pages. Allow for a quarter-inch margin on each page, the resulting gutter will be a half-inch. Margins should be at least 3/8" on all edges of a page.
  7. Outline all fonts when working in Photoshop or Illustrator, embed fonts in other programs and flatten all layers.
  8. Include all files needed to process the job: page layout files, imported images, fonts, and other support files.
  9. If your files are large (above 10 mg), compress all files into a single file for uploading. You can use WinZip on a PC or Stuffit on a Mac to compress the files.
 
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