design specs

cmyk vs rgb vs pms

01. cmyk

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black.

CMYK is sometimes referred to as four-color process printing because it utilizes four colors and mixes them. For instance, if you mix yellow and blue, it makes green.

All projects printing on an offset press need to be CMYK.

If your files are not CMYK, they will need to be converted.  You can convert them yourself, or we can do it for you. It's common for colors to shift when you convert.  If you convert the colors, then you will be able to confirm ahead of time if the conversion produced acceptable results.

 

02. rgb

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue.

RGB color mode is used exclusively in digital design... web, TV and mobile devices.  RGB is acceptable if your files are printing on our digital printer.

 

03. pms

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System.

PMS is a universal color matching system used primarily in printing. Pantone colors are also known as spot colors. Pantone colors are extremely precise, so you know exactly what color you are going to get. Unlike RGB and CMYK, PMS colors are created with pre-mixed ink long before the image is actually produced, resulting in the most consistent color possible. Every Pantone color can be found in a Pantone swatch book, and each color has a corresponding number to it (i.e., PMS 361). Branding requires consistency and is one of the key reasons to use the Pantone color mode.

Our color digital printers also print PMS color very accurately. So it's helpful if you use Pantone colors for logos or anywhere your brand colors are used.

04. resolution

For printed products, the minimum resolution is typically 300 dpi (dots per inch).  You can't simply convert a low resolution photo to a high resolution photo by increasing dpi in your imaging program (i.e. Photoshop).  The printed result will be a blurry image.

 

05. file formats

Please send high resolution PDFs and working files (in case anything needs to be tweaked, we can do it here). If your files were created in InDesign, please send a "packaged" InDesign file... this includes all links and fonts used. If created in Illustrator, you'll manually have to collect any links and fonts used and send those along as well.

All projects printing on an offset press need to be CMYK.

If your files are not CMYK, they will need to be converted.  You can convert them yourself, or we can do it for you. It's common for colors to shift when you convert.  If you convert the colors, then you will be able to confirm ahead of time if the conversion produced acceptable results.

 

06. bleed

In printing, bleed is printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. If your design has printing that goes right to the trim, please include 1/8" bleed on all sides. This gives us a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper.

For a visual representation of bleed, please look at our design templates.

 

07. margin

For a visual representation of margin, please look at our design templates.

We recommend a 1/4" margin for most print projects. In some case, a 1/8" margin is acceptable.

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