Whether you have a big presentation for a business client or an upcoming birthday party for your 2 year-old, you’re going to need your files printed. Lucky for you, that’s where Alphagraphics comes in! There are a couple of different options for how you can get your files to us:
1. Bring them in on a USB drive
2. Email them to email@example.com if file is less than 5MB
3. Upload them to our FTP server via our website
Before you send us your files, though, you’ll need to make sure your file is ready to send off. I know, you’ve just spent hours working on your file…how can it NOT be ready to send? We will accept files in a number of different formats. To cut down on production time, however (and keep our Graphic Designers happy) we have a preferred way for you to prepare your files before you send them on their merry way.
First: The format that works best is PDF. Most programs will allow you to export your file as a PDF. This may eliminate any formatting/font/placed image issues that can arise when opening files in different versions of programs such as Microsoft Word, Publisher or Adobe InDesign.
Second: Check for a bleed! Not the messy need-a-bandage kind of bleed – a printer’s bleed (examples below). This is when any text/color/image needs to be printed right to the edge of the page. In programs like InDesign and Adobe Illustrator you can set your bleed in your document settings (to at least .125″). In programs like Publisher and Pages, you’ll need to set your document size to 1/4″ larger than you normally would and also remember to increase your margins to include this extra space. You’ll also need to extend any images/text to that edge. When done correctly, there won’t be any chance of a little white border sneaking in when your piece is trimmed to it’s finished size.
Third: Resolution, vector images and color. The minimum file resolution for us to print your file clearly is 300 dpi. Images that are 72-dpi are only acceptable for on-screen viewing – like web pages. If you’re sending us your logo to enlarge and print on a 3’x6′ banner, we’ll need it as a vector file, not a jpg or raster image. What’s the difference? A vector file can be enlarged to any size. A jpg is an image that can only be printed at the size supplied and, more often than not, the resolution is not the clearest (examples below). Another difference between on-screen & print is color. Monitors display colors in combinations of RGB (red, green, blue) while most printers use at least 4-colors (cyan, magenta, yellow & black). Whenever possible, make sure your document color settings are set to CMYK. Examples of vector vs. jpg files and CMYK vs. RGB images are below for your viewing enjoyment.
Last but not least: If you have any questions, just pick up the phone and call or send us an email. We’ve walked people through the file submission process plenty of times and are always happy to help!