Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Files: The good, the bad and just plain ugly!

Clients send me self created files that look marvelous on their high definition computer screen but these files look fuzzy when the files go to print.
Here are some tips that may help when sending files to your print vendor.

  1. The best quality comes from using TIFF, EPS or PDF files.
  2. To prevent ugly looking images, your file(s) should be a resolution no lower than 300 dpi(dots per inch) in grayscale or 1,200 dpi for bitmap (B/W) TIFF.
  3. Microsoft Office and Microsoft Publisher applications themselves are low-end graphics software. They will give you little to no control over several crucial settings and will not generate quality PDF’s.
  4. High-end graphics applications, such as Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS, Quark and Indesign are preferred. This software correctly creates PDF’s if you decide to submit them to your print vendor
  5.  If submitting a PDF, please make the file quality setting as “Press Quality” or “High QualityPrint”.
  6. Avoid sending JPG files, but do so if that is the only format available. Get with a graphics professional when quality is a must.  Customers should understand that JPG and low resolution Bitmap files will print as blurry images.
  7. Avoid scanning images or copying them from a website. This type of low resolution files look great on a computer screen but will not print very well.

     To prevent frustrations when creating digital files, calling a professional print            
      vendor for advice and help before creating your masterpiece.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Digital versus traditional printing.

Digital printing has been the buzz in the printing industry for several years.  Copier and software manufacturers introduced the process with the growth of personal computers.   In the last few years, color printing has gotten so good and affordable with PDF files that most customers overlook traditional printing.
The digital process uses four colors of dry powder toner to create all full color images.  The images are baked on paper sheets in the digital process.  In my view, there are two flaws with digital printing.  The process gets expensive when you get over 1,000 images per file.  The other is that that the images crack when sheets are folded since the images are baked on the surface.
Traditional printing involves oil or soy-based inks with water to produce clean images.  A plastic master sheet is created from a PDF file and used on a printing machine.  The machine creates clean images by combing soft inks with water and imprinting as the sheets go through, a rubber stamping process.  People of my generation may recall the mimeograph machines used in schools.  Traditional printing is a sophisticated process that replaced the old lead type presses and mimeograph machines.
Digital printing makes sense when a customer needs items right away and in small quantities.  The images come out dry and ready for wrapping. Traditional printing takes 24 to 48 hours for the images to dry before they can be handled without smearing. 
The example below will give you a rough idea of approximate cost of the two processes for most print firms. The prices are based on 8.5x11 sheets printed on one side in full color.
25 digital printed sheets will run around $12.25
25 traditional printed sheets will run around $250
1,000 digital printed sheets will run around $270
1,000 traditional printed sheets with run around $295
2,000 digital printed sheets will run around $500
2,000 traditional printed sheets with run around $375
As you can see, traditional printing becomes more cost effective over digital as the customer increases the quantities. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


There is much misunderstanding about the impact of paper and, by implication, print on paper to the environment. Here are some facts to consider before rushing to the conclusion that print on paper contributes significantly to the destruction of forests.
  • Trees from tropical forests are not specifically harvested for paper. Of all the trees cut from the world's forests, 53 percent is used for fuel, 28 percent is used for lumber, and 11 percent is used directly by the paper industry.1
  • Of the 11 percent for paper, overall, 33 percent comes from virgin trees, 33 percent comes from wood chips and scrap from sawmills, and 33 percent comes from recycled paper.2

  • 65.1 percent of the paper consumed in the United States in 2012 was recovered for recycling.3

  • Of the paper consumed in the United States, about 90 percent is produced here.4

  • 91 percent of the trees consumed in the United States to make paper comes from privately owned forests,5 which give private landowners a financial incentive to grow trees rather than sell off their land for other uses.

  • Private landowners in the United States plant about 4 million trees every day, as a result, forest growth exceeds harvest by 37 percent.6
In the end, from sustainable forests to the renewable nature of trees and recyclability of paper, the paper and printing industries have a positive environmental story to tell—one in which print on paper and healthy forests go hand-in-hand.
At my business, we are very conscious of how to use recycled papers for the best results.  If you have questions, please contact me.

1Causes of Deforestation, Direct Causes, Earth Observatory/NASA (2009).
2US EPA, Office of Solid Waste, “Where do the papermaking materials come from?”
3American Forest & Paper Association, www.afandpa.org/PaperRecycling.aspx.
4Dan Burden, “Forest Profile,” Agricultural Marketing Research Center, 2009 (rev. by Milinda Geisler, 2011.
5American Forest & Paper Association, www.paperrecycles.org/statistics/paper-paperboard-recovery.
6International Paper, www.internationalpaper.com/apps/gopaper/whoownsamericasforests.html.