- What type of files can I send to SignsTown?
We recommend saving as a PDF file. You may also send the file in the following types: JPG, JPEG, TIF, TIFF, EPS, and PNG.
We prefer that you send PDF with embedded or outlined fonts. PDF files are easier to handle and will likely speed up your turn-around. Remember to flatten your files before uploading.
For Roll Labels, we recommend designing:
• vector files (e.g. EPS or PDF)
• 300 DPI or higher
• use black (100% K)
• for fine lines and text smaller than 9pt, use black (100% K) only.
2. What color modes should my files be?
If you send us an RGB file, there is a chance that a color shift may occur and you may not be satisfied with your job.
You should always start and finish your designs in CMYK color mode.
3. What resolution should my files be?
Low resolution files may be printed as is or will be placed on hold until we receive new files, slowing your turn-around.
We only accept 300 dpi files and no less.
4. How should I setup my bleed?
Bleed must extend past the cut-line and will be trimmed from the product during the final cutting phase. When the image is required to extend all the way to the edge, bleed is needed to preserve the finished look and the quality of the final product.
Please keep all text at least 0.125″ inside the cut-line.
– The bleed for Standard Products is 0.125″.
– The bleed for Booklets and Presentation Folders is 0.25″.
– For Grand4mat Products, please use 0.5″.
5. Does SignsTown accept borders on jobs?
Yes, but if the border is too close to the cut line, it may be cut off-center slightly.
We cut through many sheets at a time, so watch your borders to avoid an unwanted mistake.
6. How should I setup my files for proper rotation?
SignsTown requires Print Ready files with proper rotation. Files submitted are printed HEAD to HEAD as-is based off your files.
The head is always the top of your file.
Make sure to set up your files so that when we print them HEAD to HEAD the final product will read the way you would like. Also, front and back files need to be set up either both sides vertically or both sides horizontally. It is usually the best to print a mockup of the file and fold it to see it flat.
For files not properly set up, SignsTown will use best judgment and will not be responsible for improper rotation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will happy to help.
7. How to avoid transparency issues?
Any transparency issue can be resolved before saving your file.
To prevent this, never use shadows, glows, or any other transparency (image or otherwise) on top of a spot color. Always convert your spot color to CMYK and flatten before sending.
8. Should I send a proof or sample file?
When sending artwork, do not send extra files, like proofs or samples, because they might get printed. Only send the files you need printed.
We are not responsible for these kinds of files being printed. Unless requested by one of our employees, DO NOT send files that you do not want printed.
9. What is overprint and how can it ruin my file?
Primarily used to intentionally overlap inks for a number of reasons, overprint can cause unexpected results. We suggest that you turn all overprint objects off before submitting your files.
The colors on top set to overprint will be mixed with the background colors. Unexpected results may occur if you have accidentally set certain objects to overprint. Always check logos and other artwork before submitting.
10. Can I submit a front and back in the same file?
No. We are now specifically set up to process one side at a time, and this requires that each side of a job must be on a separate file.
Not separating files will cause delays and you might have to send the files again. Remember to separate the pages of your .pdf files as well.
11. How to setup a Spot UV job?
When creating a Spot UV job, you must include a Spot UV template file along with the regular print file. The Spot UV template file is used to show where the UV coating needs to be applied.
For better quality we recommend creating mask files in vector based programs such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
Please only use solid 100% K to indicate where you would like the UV. Do not use shadows, glows or grayscale images. White will indicate no UV.
Remember, if it’s white, you can write!
12. How can I make sure my blues do not come out purple?
When using a blue in your design, always make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values.
100% C 100% M 0% Y 0% K
Blue is close to purple in the CMYK spectrum. Remember, use a low amount of magenta whenever using high amounts of cyan to avoid purple.
Example: C-100 M-70 Y-0 k-0
13. How do I export a .pdf correctly?
When exporting from any program such as Indesign or Illustrator, use these settings to make sure your .PDF files export correctly.
Adobe PDF Preset is set to: Press Quality
Compatibility is set to: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)
Compress Text and Line Art is set to: Off
NOTE: You must convert all colors to CMYK before saving your file.
Remember to export the .pdf with the bleed included (Under Marks and Bleed: Select the Use Document Bleed Settings)
14. How do I get a grayscale image in a CMYK document?
Grayscale images that are converted to CMYK will have a color shift in the final print. That shift may be green or yellow.
Always check the CMYK values of your grayscale in the final CMYK document. If there are other values other than K in your grayscale image, there is a chance that the color will vary.
To eliminate all values other than K, use your Channel Mixer (adjustment layer) in Photoshop, then click “Monochrome” and adjust accordingly.
15. What is Rich Black and how can I get it?
Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker tone than black ink alone. If you print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not be as dark as you might like.
We recommend using
C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100
This will give you a deep, dark, rich black.
*Products that are printed with dye-sublimation (9oz Premium Polyester Banner, Flags, Table Covers, Fabric Tube Displays, etc.)
call for the following color values:
C 100 M 100 Y 100 K 100
16. Why does my business cards crack around the edges?
Cracking of the edges of a business card sometimes occurs when the card contains high values of ink, as in dark colors.
Dark color will sometimes crack after cutting if the paper has no finishes on it.
This usually happens on a small amount of cards in the run. To prevent this, use lighter colors or if you must use dark colors, use as little ink as possible. Another way to avoid this if you need a dark color is to laminate the cards (Silk lamination or Suede)
17. What is banding?
Many things can cause banding. Banding can be caused by the program that it is exported from, such as Indesign or Corel. Also, too many gradient steps, for example going from a very light color to a dark color, in a small area will cause banding.
To prevent this, check your digital files before sending. If you use a gradient, make sure it has enough room for a smooth transition.
18. Why is there cracking on my scoring job?
When a job is coated with UV then scored and folded the job may begin to crack. During use, the cracks will become bigger and the ink may start to chip off.
Cracking is normal when coated jobs are scored and folded. Ordering the job without UV will help but may not prevent this. As the job is used and folded more and more, cracking will eventually happen.
19. How can Pantone colors affect the way my job prints?
There are three different ways Pantone colors can affect the way your job prints.
The first is by object effects, such as shadows or glows, on top of your Pantone colors.
When a Pantone color is under these object effects, transparency issues show up during printing. To avoid this, convert all your Pantone colors into CMYK before submitting your order.
The second way Pantone colors can affect your file is when you use transparent images.
To fix this issue, convert all your Pantone colors into CMYK. This must be done before submitting the order.
The last way Pantone colors can affect your order is the color conversion between a Pantone color and CMYK. If you use Pantone colors in a job that will print CMYK, your job might print with undesirable colors.
If you send in a job with Pantone colors, the CMYK conversion will change the Pantone color. Before sending your order, make sure all Pantone colors have been converted to CMYK.
20. How do I use SignsTown Templates?
If you think you need a template for your artwork, please contact us and we will send it to you.
Our Certified Templates are a great tool to create artwork that can be printed faster, easier, and more accurately. If you are using Illustrator, you can use our specialized EPS templates. If you are using something other then Illustrator, request the JPG version.
Remember, do not move or change any part of the template when using them.
21. General ESR and Digital Color Printing.
ESR quantities start from 25-250 and are printed on brand new, high tech digital equipment.
Our brand new Digital color presses are in a different class. The print quality of digital prints exceed professional standards. Here are a few facts about Digital Color Printing:
– Tests show digital quality matches offset.
– Digital printing offers larger color gamut.
– Print buyers find digital quality interchangeable with offset quality.
– Today, many showcase applications are printed digitally.
– Digital printing is more affordable for short runs, due to very low set up cost.
*disclaimer: Occasionally, quantities of up to 5000 and more might be printed using digital color technology in order to meet turnaround deadlines
22. How should I setup a Plastic Card job?
When designing plastic cards, it is important to keep in mind that the frosted and clear plastic cards are transparent. Also, all plastic cards come with round corners at no extra charge!
The clear cards are completely transparent. The frosted cards are semi-transparent and cannot be seen through easily. The opaque white plastic cards are solid white and not transparent at all. Keep this in mind when designing your plastic cards, it will affect how your design will print.
- Printing on Clear and Frosted Plastic Cards will come out slightly lighter than average compared to other stocks. This is due to the plastic itself and is not a production issue.
- When setting up a rich black value, please make sure to use C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100 values. Do not use all 100 since it will cause problems and will not print any darker on plastic.
Since there is no white ink in CMYK, it is important to keep in mind that the frosted and clear plastic cards are transparent. The white area in the clear cards and the frosted cards has no ink and will show the transparent material it’s printed on. In this case, the clear cards and frosted cards white area show up with no ink on the printed piece. Also, keep in mind that all colors that are printed on clear cards or frosted cards will be transparent as well.
With the clear plastic cards, there might be a small percentage that may have light scratches. This issue originates from the manufacturer and is due to the material and handling. To help compensate for this, we run overs of the clear plastic cards to help meet the required quantity.
Clear plastic cards will come with a thin protective layer on one side that can be peeled off. This is to prevent the cards from scratching during packaging and shipping.
23. How do I setup a Foil Job?
We can only use one type of foil per order so for example you can not order a Foil job with Gold foil on the front and Silver foil on the back. Foil job files are set up just like our Spot UV job files. You must provide a separate Foil mask file: black in the areas you want the foil and white in the areas you do not want the foil. All black areas should be solid 100% K with no other added colors. If you order a Foil job with Spot UV, you’ll need to provide separate mask files for the Foil (foil mask) and UV (spot uv mask), in which case you may be required to provide up to 6 files. Please keep in mind, however, that the Foil and UV coating can’t overlap, both should be at least 1/16″ apart to avoid foil peeling off. Also, avoid using small / fine text or lines for foil objects. For best results, please make sure that foil coverage is less than 50% of the entire print side. Also, be aware that there may be up to a 1/16″ shift on the placement of the foil. Keep this in mind if you are trying to align foil with other printed artwork on the card.
For better quality we recommend creating mask files in vector based programs such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
24. What is SignsTown’s standard round corner radius?
We offer 1/4″ and 1/8″ radius round corners to all of our customers.
25. What is Akuafoil and how do I set it up?
With Akuafoil, you can turn a wide range of CMYK colors into multi-colored foils. Akuafoil uses a special processed foil system that is applied under a 4/c process to create an array of foil colors. It’s simple, affordable, and makes your prints stand out from the crowd.
For an Akuafoil job, you must include an Akuafoil mask file along with your CMYK file. The mask file indicates where the Akuafoil will be applied. The file setup is the same as Spot UV. Use 100% K where Akuafoil needs to be applied and white where the Akuafoil is not applied.
Here are some more things to keep in mind when creating your Akuafoil artwork:
Make sure the mask and CMYK print file are aligned. They should match exactly in size and position.
- Akuafoil works best on lighter colors. The darker the CMYK color, the less vibrant the Akuafoil effect.
- Do not use very thin or small text and artwork with Akuafoil. Use San Serif fonts above 12 point for best results.
- If you have Akuafoil applied to a white area, it will have a plain silver Akuafoil look.
- For better quality we recommend creating mask files in vector based programs such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
If you would like plain silver Akuafoil to print, make sure to have at least 15% K in the CMYK print file area in order to obtain the highest quality silver Akuafoil effect.
25. How to Set up a Booklet?
Booklets are a little more complex to design. Also, if you have artwork you created from another company, it might not meet SignsTown rules. For best results, please request our templates available.
Here are rules to follow when creating your Booklets:
• Page counts start on the cover as page 1, inside cover as page 2 and so on.
• Total bleed is .25” and total Safety is .5”. For example, an 8.5×11 booklet with bleed should be 8.75×11.25 total. This allows us to set up your crossovers properly.
• Only single pages will be accepted. NO readers OR printers spreads.
• We prefer a multipage PDF but single page files are also ok.
Our page counts for booklets start on the cover as page 1, inside cover as page 2 and so on.
Designers must pay close attention to the crossover design and make sure it is as seamless as possible on the finished piece. Also, do not use text or thin lines as crossovers. Big pictures work best.
Note: Due to the nature of saddle stitch binding, crossovers may not line up 100% on the final booklet.
Artwork done in Indesign or other layout software as spreads or facing pages must be saved out as single page pdfs. When creating your design, keep this in mind especially when doing crossovers. The easiest way is to create the bleed is when creating your document. Below are instructions on how to create your document in Indesign.
When creating your document, make your page size the cut size and your margin size .25” for safety for a .5” total.
26. What are Bumper Stickers?
Perfect for outdoor use, our SignsTown Bumper Stickers are printed on 4mil premium white flexible vinyl film and coated with acrylic adhesive that’s laminated to a 90# layflat liner. The film is designed to accept a variety of solvent based and curable inks. The liner offers excellent product layflat, adhering easily to most bumpers and enabling them to withstand a variety of environmental conditions. So go ahead and hit the streets with your brand, full speed ahead!
27. Are Bumper Stickers durable enough for outdoor use?
Yes, our Bumper Stickers are intended for use on car bumpers and are resistant to even the harshest weather conditions. Outdoor application will not result in product damage.