File Prep Guidelines

We accept files for MAC & PC. Provide hardcopy for all files. Only send files that you want us to output. Make sure files have the proper extensions. When sending more than one file, compress them in a common folder.

PC Compression:
MAC Compression:

File names may contain only one extension dot for upload purposes. Example: hcprinting.psd.sitx will not upload. Change file name to hcprintingpsd.sitx for upload purposes only.

List of File Extensions (must contain no more than 3 characters): .gif, .tiff, .psd, .pdf file formats are all acceptable along with most other standard photo file formats. Acrobat - pdf, Illustrator - .ai, Illustrator - .eps, Photoshop - .tif, QuarkXpress - .qxd. ALL Photos should be supplied to the printer in either grayscale or CMYK (full color) formats. Never should a file be given to a printer in an RGB file format. Do not use JPEGS. Support files need to be EPS or TIFF files.

Photographic Files: ALL photo files should be 300 dpi or better. 72dpi files are web quality files, but generally not print quality; therefore, photos taken off the internet will reproduce poorly and "bitmapped" on printed materials.

Applications we support: Quark Express, Adobe Pagemaker, Adobe Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Freehand. Call first if you are using any other programs. Most print service providers accept recent versions of programs.

FAX a hard copy of the file to us.

Call with questions on file format preparation.

Any required alterations after the file has been submitted to any printer (i.e. spelling, placement, color adjustments, etc.) will result in extra costs. Prepare and proofread all documents before submission to avoid extra charges.

Fonts and Photos: Fonts and photos should be included in a separate folder.

Color Information: Please note any specific color information including any PMS numbers and special requests such as foil stamping, embossing and die-cutting.

Logos: Logos should be consistent with other company logos and in a high resolution format and should remain consistent from project to project.

Paper: Please specify your paper including brand, weight and color.

Bindery: Please specify any finishing requests at the time of submission.

Printing Terminology

Accordion Fold Two or more parallel folds that open like an accordion.

Bleed An image or printed color that runs to the edge of the paper. Since a press cannot print ink right up the edge of a sheet, the image is printed on an oversized sheet and then trimmed to size. Bleeding increases the amount of paper needed, which may increase the production cost of the job.

Blueline A printer's proof consisting of a photo-sensitive material burned from the negatives that is used when checking for errors.

Burn Exposing photo-sensitive media to light, as in, burning a plate in offset printing.

Caliper Thickness of paper, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch (mils).

Camera Ready The stage in printing when the document is ready to be photographed to make plates for the press. All elements of the document are in their final position, and the document has received its final proofing.

Camera Ready Copy A term referring to copy/art that is ready to be photographed.

Choke (Choking) When a publication is printed with several interacting spot colors, gaps or color shifts may appear between objects. Choking closes this gap by overlapping a dark color over the boundary of a light color.

Chromalin A color proofing system developed by DuPont.

CMYK Printers use CMYK - representing the colors cyan (a light blue), magenta (a pinkish purple), yellow, and black inks - when printing 4-color process work. These are called subtractive colors, as combining them all gives the color black. Subtracting one or more of these colors will yield any other color. When combined in various percentages, these four inks will create an entire spectrum of colors, including those used in color photographs.

Coated Paper Paper with a layer of coating applied to one (C1S) or both (C2S) sides, such as gloss, dull and matte finish. Due to decreased dot gain, coated papers provide sharper images and are used frequently in 4 color process work as well as in black and white halftones.

Color Key A printer's proof that consists of four sheets of colored acetate that represents the color separation process for a particular job.

Color Matching A color sample book is used to match colors with standard inks used by most printers. The printer will then prepare separate printing plates for each color. The colors are chosen from those provided by a color matching system, such as Pantone. Use of a color matching system permits consistency of the color over time and among different jobs.

Color Separation The separation of color artwork or transparencies on to a separate sheet for each color.

Color Transparency A full-color transparent positive image. Also called a chrome, or slide.

Composite Image A photograph or other image that is created by a combination of multiple images on a single sheet.

Copy The words (text) that are used in printed material.

Copyright An exclusive right that has been granted by law to a particular creative product

Copywriter Someone who writes copy for advertisements or other promotional material.

Crash Printing Letterpress printing on carbonless forms so the image prints simultaneously on all sheets in the set.

Cropping To reduce in size; to remove unwanted elements.

Desktop Publishing The use of a computer to create documents that can be printed. Specialized software is used to add copy and graphics to the document, which is then outputted to a printer or typesetting equipment.

Die-Cutting The use of a sharp, formed piece of metal to cut out specific shapes in a piece of paper.

Digital Data processed using the numbers 0 and 1 through on/off impulses.

Digital Camera A type of camera that stores the photographed image electronically rather than on film. The images are downloaded into a computer where they can be manipulated in a manner similar to a scanner.

Digital Printing New printing technology which permits the linking of printing presses to computers. Benefits include: faster turnaround times, lowered production costs, and the ability to personalize documents. It is frequently used for on-demand or short-run color printing.

Dot Gain The spread of ink on paper, causing the dots which make up the image to print larger than they were on the film or plate. The images may become distorted, appearing darker with less clarity.

Dots per Inch (DPI) A measure of computer screen and printer resolution that is referred to as the number of dots that a device can print or display per inch. The more dots per inch, the sharper the image.

Dummy Replica of the finished piece, marked with color breaks and folds, made with the paper selected for the job.

Duotone A two-color halftone of the same image created by using two screens, two plates, and two colors.

Emboss The creation of a raised (embossed) image by pressing a shape into a sheet of paper with a metal or plastic die.

Emulsion The chemically treated side of photographic film.

Engraved Printing A printing process using recessed plates. Ink sits in the recessed wells of the plate, and when pressure is applied, raised letters and images appear on the front of the page.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) A computer graphics file format developed by Adobe Systems that usually contains object-oriented files.

File Transfer Program (FTP) Computer software that permits the exchange of information between computers.

Focaltone A color matching system for process color.

Foil Stamping The application of foil to paper. May also be combined with embossing for added interest.

Font All of the characters and associated spacing of one size of one typeface.

Four(4) Color Process A method of printing that uses dots of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to recreate the continuous tones and variety of colors in a color image.

GIF A graphic file format commonly used by computer bulletin boards; not appropriate for printing.

Graphic An item to be printed that is not copy (text); includes photographs and illustrations.

Graphic Design The use of graphic elements and text to communicate an idea or concept.

Graphic Designer The person who develops the graphic designs.

Gutter Space between columns of type where pages meet at the binding.

Halftone The method by which photographs and other images are printed by using cells of dots to simulate the tones between light and dark. A printing press is not able to change the tone of ink, therefore dots of color are used to trick the eye into seeing a continuous tone image. To accomplish this, the photo is shot through a mesh of a screen that breaks the image into tiny dots. The closer the lines of the screen, the smaller the dots and the more dots per inch, leading to a crisper image.

Hexachrome A color separation process developed by Pantone which uses 6 instead of 4 process colors.

Illustrator Someone who develops original artwork for use in commercial applications.

Imagesetter A high resolution device that will print directly to plate ready film, i.e. a high resolution printer.

Imposition The process of arranging the pages of copy so that when the sheets are printed and folded for binding the pages will be in the proper order.

JPEG A computer graphics file format that is not typically used in printing due to low resolution.

Kern The adjustment of the spacing between letters in order to make them more visually pleasing and balanced on the sheet.

Leading The space between lines of type, measured from the baseline of one line to the baseline of the next. The quantity is measured in points, such as 6 point type, 8 point, etc. Each point equals approximately 1/72th of an inch.

Lupe A magnifying lens used by printers to examine the details of printed materials. Use of a lupe permits an individual to see the individual color halftone dots used in process color printing.

Makeready All the activities required to set up the press for a pressrun, including running test sheets of paper.

Moir A blurry pattern created by printing several repetitive designs on top of each other. In 4-color process printing, this pattern is created when the halftone screen of each color is not properly aligned.

Negatives (negs) A film negative version of an image area, obtained either by shooting the mechanical page with a process camera, or by running out film through an imagesetting system.

Offset Printing An indirect printing process whereby ink is transferred to the paper by a blanket that carries an impression from the printing plate, rather than directly from the plate itself. This is the most common method of commercial printing at this time.

Opaque (Opacity) relates to the show-through of the printed image from the opposite side of the sheet or the sheet under it. Paper thickness and the use of mineral fillers affect it.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Software that translates images of letters entered into the computer with a scanner into characters that can be manipulated as text but not as images.

Perfect Binding A binding process whereby single sheets are stacked together, the binding edge is ground to create a rough surface, and adhesive is applied. A cover is then wrapped around the pages.

Photo CD The system developed by Kodak for storing the images obtained through a digital camera onto a compact disc.

Photocopy A reproduction process that uses a light sensitive printing element, toner, and heat to fuse the toner to the paper to produce the copy.

Photo Illustration An image produced by the use of one or more photographs.

Pica A unit of measure equal to 12 points or one sixth of an inch.

Pixel Short for picture element. These are the dots that form the picture on a monitor. The smaller the pixel, the more detailed the picture.

Pixel Depth The amount of data used to describe the colored dots on a computer monitor.

Plate-Ready Film The final photographic film that is used to make printing plates.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) A color matching system created by Pantone.

Point Equivalent to 1/72th of an inch, points are the units of measurement of type, such as 6 point, 10 point, etc.

PrePress The processes performed on a printing order prior to its going to the press to be printed. Examples are typesetting, layout, scanning, etc.

Printing The process of applying ink to paper or other object in order to reproduce words or images.

Printing Plate A thin object (plate) made of either metal or paper which is light sensitive and causes an image to be transferred to paper while on a printing press. The image is burned onto the plate by the use of high intensity light. The surface of the plate is treated or configured so that only the printing image is receptive to the ink which transfers to the printed object.

Proof A method of checking for errors prior to printing an order. Normally the last prepress operation. A press proof is used by the printing press operator to ensure the correctness of the finished product during the production of the order.

Process Color One of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) that is used in producing full-color images, such as color photographs.

Raster Image Processor (RIP) Hardware and software which translates data into a series of dots for output.

Register To position printing in proper relation to the edges of the paper and other printed images on the same sheet.

Register Marks Cross-hair lines on mechanicals, negatives, and plates that guide strippers and printers.

Registration Putting two or more images together so that they are exactly aligned, and the resulting image is well defined.

Reverse out, Knock out Type or other image defined by printing the background rather than the image itself, allowing the underlying color of paper or previously printed ink to show in the shape of the image.

Resolution The number of picture elements (pixels) per unit of linear measurement (normally an inch) on a computer monitor, or the number of dots per inch (dpi) in printed form.

RGB RGB (red, green, and blue) are called additive colors because added together they may create all colors. Typically, RGB is used for slide presentations, computer software and games, and anything that is viewed on a video monitor.

Saddle Stitch The binding of sheets of paper to form a book by use of staples or stitching through the spine.

Sans Serif Literally, without serif(s), which are the extra projections from the main stroke of letters found in some type faces.

Score To mechanically crease or press a channel into paper along a line so it will fold more easily.

Screens Dot variant of an image, shade or tint.

Script A kind of type face that mimics handwriting.

Self Cover Publication made entirely from the same paper so that cover is printed on the same paper simultaneously with inside pages.

Serif An extra projection from the main stroke of letters in certain type faces.

Service Bureau An organization that provides specialized graphics services to printers. Service bureaus often provide color separations, color keys, etc.

Sheet-fed Press A press that prints single sheets of paper, as opposed to a web press.

Signature A press sheet folded into a series of pages to be bound. Standard signatures are 8, 16, and 32 pages.

Spot Color A single color ink or varnish applied to printed material. Primarily used when process colors are not appropriate. The effective use of spot color can add heightened interest to printed materials without incurring the cost of process colors.

Spread When a publication is printed with several interacting spot colors, gaps or color shifts may appear between objects. A spread closes the gap by overlapping a light foreground object to a dark background.

Stripping Assembling negatives in flats in preparation for making printing plates.

Style Sheet Instructions for the layout of a document, such as the type faces to be used, point size of headers, placement of footers, etc., in order to maintain consistency throughout the document.

Thermography A finishing technique applied after printing that raises the ink and gives the effect of engraved printing.

Tint A lightened spot or process color created by printing smaller halftone dots of the base color. This is also referred to as screening the color.

TIFF A graphics file that is commonly used in printing for photographs and illustrations needing high resolution.

Trapping The deliberate overlap of adjacent colors to minimize the effects of misregistration of printed materials.

Trim Size Size of the printed product after the last trim is made.

UV Coating Liquid laminate bonded and cured to the sheet with ultraviolet light.

Up Printing two-up or three-up means printing the identical piece two or three times on one sheet of paper in one impression.

Varnish A coating added on top of paper to serve as protection, add a finish, or add a tinge of color. Varnishes are very effective in adding emphasis or eye-appeal to printed material. A flood varnish is applied to the entire page; a spot varnish is applied only to selected image areas and requires a printing plate to apply.

Washup The process of cleaning the ink off a press after a press run.

Watermark Distinctive design created in paper fibers during paper manufacture.

Web Press A high run, fast speed printing press that uses rolls of paper rather than individual sheets.