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Find answers to common questions below. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us for immediate service.

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How do I properly prepare my files for printing?

We’ve compiled all of our tips and tricks into our Digital Prepress File Submission Guide.

What are bleeds and why are they necessary?

Bleeds are an industry term for any colour or image that extends to the edge of your page. When your colour or image needs to run off the page, it requires an extra 1/8″ (0.125″) beyond the edge of your page. This extra 1/8″ is then cut off during the finishing/trimming stage of a print job.

All print jobs must have a minimum of 1/8″ at all trim edges (including into the spine for perfect-bound and wire-o projects).

What information do I need to supply in order to receive an estimate for printing?

As a designer or print buyer you rely on accurate and timely printing estimates. A proper estimate will be a realistic reflection of the job specifications and eliminates surprises. It also gives you advance information on paper availability, production or scheduling issues. Through the estimation of various design, paper choice or finishing options, a concept job can be refined to fit within your budget.

This can be done at any stage in the design process , but preferably as early as possible. Our sales staff will be happy to give you feedback on your project parameters and make cost effective suggestions.

What can you do to ensure that our estimate is an accurate reflection of the job? In addition to a thumbnail sketch, mock up, or PDF (if available), the following information will be very helpful:


Consider quoting more than one quantity to see volume price-breaks. For multiple item quantities, indicate to what degree the quantities are flexible so that they can be printed together with the least amount of over run waste.

Number of pages

A page is each side of a sheet of paper, therefore one sheet consists of two pages.

Flat size

Is the size of the printed piece before folding, also commonly referred to as “open size”

Finished size

Is the final dimension of the piece, after it is finished. (folded, stitched, glue bound etc.) If the job is soft-folded after stitching, please indicate this separately, but consider the final size the size before soft folding. If you are flexible on the size chosen and we can adjust it a small amount, it might print more efficiently and save thousands of dollars off the final job cost.

Binding edge

This is the side where the finished piece is bound, for instance an 8.5 x 11 book can be bound on the 11″ side for a standard portrait book format or on the 8.5″ side to form an oblong book. There are different production requirements for each.

Ink colors and type

Specify the number of ink colors to be printed and what type is used: Process, PMS, metallic silver or gold, Fluorescent, FDA approved food grade. When specifying gloss or dull varnish or aqueous coating indicate if these inks are spot or overall applied. Varnishes can be printed in-line or off-line as a second pass on the printing press with different results.

Ink coverage

We normally assume an average ink coverage to be used, except for the more expensive metallic inks and fluorescents, where we will indicate an exact percentage coverage estimated.

For jobs that require heavy solids, ink and press time costs can escalate, sometimes requiring more than one press pass, so it is best to state this at the outset. But since there can be different assessments of this phenomena, it would be best to send a thumbnail or layout with the RFQ.

Bleed or no bleed?

An important consideration on what sheetsize we purchase for a job is whether there are image elements running off the page. Sometimes a larger standard sheetsize must be used to accommodate these bleeds, resulting in higher costs. This is particularly true for text and cover paper grades, that are manufactured in a smaller number of standard sizes.

Digital artwork

The industry standard is to provide print-ready PDF files. If you will be supplying native files instead, be sure to note that on your RFQ.


In the cases where colour scanning is required, note the number of halftones, duotones, tritones or four color separations and the output sizes required. If the original cannot be wrapped around a scanner drum or if it exceeds 24″x24″,we can arrange to photograph it in our digital photography studio. Please consult with your sales rep as to the level of color correction and retouching to be required, as well as the number of “rounds” of proofs to be built into the cost.


Since paper can represent 35-50% of the final cost of the printed job, stock selection is one of the most important aspects of the Request for Quote. The paper chosen should be the most cost effective grade that meets the demands of the finished piece. Consider substituting a more economical grade with equivalent properties, to create room in your budget for additional colors or special finishing. Ask your sales rep about our “House Grades”, a selection of quality papers that have exceptional printability and runnability characteristics that provide optimum results with minimal printing problems, and are very competitively priced!

If there are several components in your project with the same quantity and colors, consider choosing the same paper grade so that they can be run together.


Specify the type of finishing required for the job. There is a wide variety of operations and specialties available such as die-cutting and embossing, saddle stitching, perfect binding etc. We can provide the full spectrum of finished dummies that simulate the final piece from basic folders to more complex binding techniques such as die-cutting, gluing and perfect binding. Embossing and Foil effects can be tested on the exact stocks specified to see the final effect. All parties involved in a printing project can greatly benefit by this service.

Delivery date

Paper availability, especially for custom mill order sizes is an important element in the calculation of the estimate. If the expected delivery date is known, add this to the Request for Quote as this is helpful information for the estimator to determine the availability of paper, other materials and for scheduling time.

Special packaging and shipping requirements

Please advise us of any special packaging requirements early on into the project to avoid extra charges for re-packaging when the information comes in too late. For out of town shipments consider shrink wrapping to prevent scuffing of the printed material while it is in transit. If there is a spine with a gusset that can be easily damaged, consider adding a corrugated insert. Let us know if you have a freight company preference, or like to bill the freight to a freight account you have set up.

We are also able to quote on any special hand assembly, warehousing and distribution, inventory management and mailing services should you require these services.

Head to our Get a Quote page, and fill out all the necessary info. Please provide as much detail as possible. If you already have your print specifications, include those, and any sketches, mock-ups or PDFs you have (upload option included).

If you need some help to discuss your project, give us a call! Our talented sales representatives can help you every step of the way.


How do I build crossovers for a perfect bound book?

Open any perfect bound book, you will see that all the pages converge into the spine. You will notice that elements disappear into the spine. This is called “spine pinch”.

We would suggest having a mock-up made so you could see how the spine pinch could affect your design. Things to look for:

  • How much margin you would need so your type does not disappear.
  • Keeping critical image content away from the spine if possible.
  • Identify the hinge and glue allowances for the inside covers to first and last pages in the book.

To build a crossover, place the image or art across the 2 page spread in your layout. Due to the nature of a perfect bound book, you could lose some of the content into the spine. To compensate, you could nudge the image on the left hand page to the left and nudge the image on the right page to the right. This could visually reduce the loss of content into the spine.

When should I use coating and when should I use varnish?

Press varnishes and coatings serve the same purposes: They coat the printed colours, to help protect them from wear, reducing fingerprinting and scuffing. They also add gloss or, in the case of matte varnishes, glow to the appearance of a printed area. Varnishes have a petroleum base, while coatings usually have a water base. Budget permitting, the decision to use dry-trap or in-line varnish is yours.

Varnishes have the advantage of being quick setting, and of being available in a range of finishes: from matte through high-gloss. Matte varnishes, like matte inks, tend to rub, but this can be offset by adding a wax to the varnish.

Aqueous coatings provide excellent rub protection, sit up on the sheet, dry instantly and dry hard. They also will take longer to yellow than varnishes will. Aqueous coatings can prove invaluable as a substitute for a varnish on a job that is under an extremely tight deadline, since they dry the moment they come off the press.