FAQs   FAQs  
Q. What kind of proof do I need?  Laser proof, Color proof, Page proof, or a PDF?

A. It all depends on what we are doing for you and what you want the results to be. Generally, we will only provide a Laser proof or PDF if we are typesetting or designing the job. This is your first "draft." These two proofs could also be used when multiple revisions are needed. We will provide a Page proof where color is not "critical" and a Color proof when color is "critical."

Page proofs will be provided, but not limited to: When your job has only PMS colors, PMS color and Black only, or if an alteration is made on your job and you request to see another proof and the color was fine on the previous proof.

HiRes Epson proofs will be provided, but not limited to: If your job is 4 color process, or your job is digital.

Digital Press proofs will only be provided if requested by you or your Sales Representative. This proof usually adds 1 business day to the production of your job.

Q. When I am writing specifications for a booklet, is the cover included in the page count or is it separate?

A. We quote booklets and magazines as a book plus cover or a book, self-cover. Generally speaking a booklet (or magazine) plus cover means the cover is a different paper stock and not included in the page count for the text of the publication. A booklet, self-cover, generally means the cover for the publication is the same paper stock as the text and is included in the page count.

Q. When we are designing a piece for CASS Certified Mailing at Spectrum, will it need one or two tabs?

A. Booklets and magazines do not require tabs. Brochures will need one tab if the opening is at the top of the folded piece when looking at address (right side up) and two if the opening is at the bottom. There are numerous regulations as to when tabs are required (and how many) and it is best to check with your sales rep or the Post Office before you sign off on the design.

Q. What is and when do I need to specify a double "bump" for a job?

A. When ink coverage is very heavy over a large area, especially when it is a single PMS color. Hitting the area twice with ink insures a nice consistent coverage. Remember, too, that heavy ink coverage may require extra drying time before it can be processed in the bindery.

Q. What does it mean when I find out paper is a "mill item?"

A. Spectrum Printers works with several paper suppliers and those papers we do not maintain as our floor stock are usually available within a day or two. Mill items are, for the most part, infrequently used paper stock that must be obtained from a paper mill or manufactured and can take anywhere from 2 or 3 days up to three weeks to be delivered.

Q. Why or when do I need to score my printed piece?

A. You will generally want to score a job that folds and is printed on a cover stock. It gives a nice clean fold. You may also want to score a piece that has heavy ink coverage or is printed such that the fold is across the grain. These jobs tend to "crack" at the fold and scoring reduces the tendency to crack.

Q. What is the advantage of using varnish on a job?

A. Varnish can be used to enhance the appearance of a printed piece or make it more durable. Using gloss varnish to make certain photos or graphics "pop" can enhance the appearance of most printed pieces. Using a combination of gloss and dull varnish further enhances the effect. Varnish can be used for other special effects such as leaving a clear but visible pattern on top of solid ink coverage areas. Varnish can also increase durability of your printed piece or protect heavy ink coverage from smearing during handling or shipping.

Q. How can Acrobat help me prepare my files for printing?

A. The latest version of Adobe Acrobat (9) is great for outputting PDF (Portable Document Format) files. PDF files are created from a Postscript file or in most cases through the design application. The great thing about PDF files is that they output exactly how you provide them. You probably have seen files that have "reflowed" when output. This doesn't happen with PDF files. PDF files also allow access to all elements of the final artwork making last minute corrections easy.

Q. On occasion, my job is late and it always sounds like the printer is making excuses. What gives?

A. Reputable printers will deliver your jobs on time about 95% of the time. While printing is a science, there are many variables and sometimes the wrong combination of variables can cause delays. For example, ink that dries quickly during the winter can sometimes dry a little slower in the summer when the humidity is high. If the job is to fold, stitch or otherwise be handled, it might need an extra day to dry to avoid marking or offsetting (damp ink can leave marks on adjacent printed pieces). We have encountered situations where coating on certain papers has been found to be defective and have to wait for a second delivery. No printer wants to delay a job, but sometimes to deliver a quality job a delay may be necessary. At Spectrum we strive to involve the customer immediately to ask for their input and what solutions present the fewest complications. We know that there are occasions when jobs are truly "hot" and have critical deadlines but we recommend that you plan, when possible, your printing projects to avoid "hot" jobs.