(FAQ) Your Questions & Answers on Print

Want to know more about Fulprint? Our services? What we can print? We’ll try and answer your questions here.

Or speak to us!

If you would like to talk to someone in person about how we can help you with your printing requirements we’d love to hear from you. Call free on 0800 590745 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

If you prefer to email then get in touch using our contact us form.

Artwork and Technical Printing Questions

Someone told me I needed my labels to be kiss cut – what is that and do you do it?

Kiss cutting, as the name implies, means that we don’t cut the label out fully or right through the two layers, but leave just the backing sheet intact, cutting only the self-adhesive layer. This makes the sheet of labels easier to handle and the labels easier to remove.

I need some labels – do you have different types of finish/adhesive/background?

Label material has two layers: the self-adhesive part and the backing sheet.

    The adhesive sheet comes in four surface finishes:

  • Vellux (like paper)
  • MC90 (a matt coated finish)
  • gloss
  • high gloss.

If the item is to be written on, choose vellux or MC90; if you want a gloss finish, choose accordingly; otherwise just choose MC90. We can also print on label stock that is coloured (pastels and intensives), metallic or can create a background wash colour for you.

    Adhesives themselves comes in three types:

  • supertack
  • permanent
  • removable

If the item is to be removed later, chose removable; if the item is to be stuck to a non-paper surface (e.g. plastic folder), choose supertack; otherwise just choose permanent.

    Backing sheets come in three types:

  • solid back
  • score back
  • crack back.

If the item is to be kiss cut, then solid back is best; if the item is to be cut down to a small label size (e.g. smaller than A6) than crack-back may be best; scoreback is suitable for larger labels.

We can also print on lickable gummed paper in a range of colours.

If you aren’t sure what you need please ring us and ask for some samples.

What is a cutter forme and why might I need one?

We use a cutter form to create any shape other than a square or rectangle (which can be guillotined). Whether it is round corners, folders with flaps, euroslots, confectionary packaging or clothing tags, a cutter forme is an essential tool in the process, designed for your job. Manufacturing a forme (one-off and reusable) typically costs from £90 – £150 + VAT, plus any design time to draw the shape (at £40 per hour + VAT).

How do I know if the artwork I have is high resolution or not?

You may be able to interrogate the file yourself, depending on the file type and the software you have. In Photoshop, open the image in question, then click Image>Image Size. In the dialogue box that appears, the lower portion will tell you the size of the image at its current resolution setting. Make sure that Resample Image is UNCHECKED, then change the resolution to 300 pixels/inch (ppi). The resulting height and width under Document Size will tell you how large the image can be printed at 300ppi. If you are unsure, please let us check the file for you.

What is a Press Ready PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is used for transferring files between computers and ensures that the file displays exactly the same to the end user as it did to the creator, regardless of differences in their computer systems. Whilst a PDF might look OK on screen it must meet certain criteria to ensure that it prints correctly. A PDF meeting these criteria is print-ready. The most important criteria that must be met for a print-ready PDF are:

Fonts

Any fonts used must be embedded or the text outlined (turned into a graphic). A font used on your system might not be available on our system, and this can cause the PDF to display incorrectly.

Bleed

If printing to the edge of the page the PDF must have bleed information. For more information on bleed please read this page.

Colours

The PDF must contain colours defined in CMYK or Pantone spot colours. It must not contain RGB colours, as these are only suitable for viewing on screen. For more information on RGB please read this page.

Images

Images must be at least 300 ppi at the size they will be printed. For more information on resolution, please read this page.

These settings can usually be found as settings in the PDF dialogue box for your particular application, but some also need to be set up correctly in your document. Please contact us if you would like help in creating press-ready PDFs. We can also help you with more advanced PDF settings such as overprinting and transparency.

Which types of file are acceptable for supplying artwork to you?

If you can produce them, we prefer to work with press ready PDFs (please see next question regarding these). This the safest and quickest way of ensuring that your artwork gets printed exactly as you expect. We can also work with the files authored with the following design software:

  • Adobe Indesign (up to CS4)
  • Adobe Illustrator (up to CS4)
  • Adobe Photoshop (up to CS4)
  • Quark (up to v8)

If supplying work with the following applications please include all fonts and all image links used in your project. When using InDesign or Quark the Package and Collect for Output features can be used respectively to collect all necessary files into one folder. As well as professional design applications we can also accept files authored in the following applications:

  • Word
  • Publisher
  • Powerpoint
  • Excel
  • Works

Please note that we strongly suggest that we send you a printed proof of any artwork supplied in any format other than a print-ready PDF. An artwork charge may also be incurred if the artwork is not supplied press ready.

At what resolution do you need photos for printing?

For best quality results photos should contain enough pixels to be able to be printed: a minimum of 300 ppi (pixels per inch) is the desired size for print. For example a photo that needs to be printed at a desired size of 1 inch square would need to be at least 300 pixels wide by 300 pixels high. N.B. Some applications mislabel the term ppi as dpi.

Can you print on round-cornered cards?

Absolutely – in fact we can cut out all sorts of shapes or print on pre-cut gilt-edged cards. The choice is yours!

What is the difference between spot colour and full colour?

The ‘Full colour’, ‘four colour’ or ‘CMYK’ process combines dots from each of the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (or ‘Key’) inks to produce a colour. These four inks are combined in different percentages and at different screen angles to create a range of colours. Not all colours can be reproduced using this method, and for very small print the appearance of the coloured dots may not be satisfactory. Whilst digital printing is limited to CMYK, offset litho printing allows for any colour to be mixed and printed as a ‘spot colour’. The most common system is the Pantone Matching System, which gives each colour a PMS number, each of which has its own recipe of basic ingredients (e.g. Pantone 486 is mixed from two parts Yellow, two parts Rubine Red and twelve parts Transparent white basic inks). So whereas using CMYK the colour is mixed as the ink dots hit the paper, in spot colour printing a quantity of ink is physically and precisely mixed from a wide range of base colours (which includes transparent white) and introduced to the printing press as a one-off colour. The advantage of spot colour printing is that the colour is more solid, more consistent and more accurately rendered than using CMYK. However it is a more expensive process. Please feel free to ask us for advice if you want a strong and individual spot colour to make your printing stand out.

I want to add some silver graphics and gold borders to my job – can you print these from full colour?

There are some full colour (CMYK) combinations that will give an impression of silver (grey) and gold (mustard), but for the real thing the job needs to be printed using the offset litho process using a spot colour of silver or gold, which cannot be printed digitally. Use these special inks, or fluorescents, to make your printing standing out.

The colour of my logo on my computer screen looks different when I print it out – can you make it look the same?

Probably not. The system used to display a colour image on your screen is known as RGB (or Red Green Blue) and these are the primary light colours required to create white when superimposed on each other. The printing process combines small dots of Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black (or Key) in different percentages, known as full colour process or CMYK, onto white paper. There are conversion charts and approximations that can be used to create a similar colour on paper, but this will vary depending on the paper type and whether the colour required derives from the CMYK process or from a spot colour (Pantone) ink, which is mixed (see question on spot colours). There are many other factors involved, including the line screen value used, the dots per inch output, roller pressures, brands of ink used etc. We recommend you talk to us about colour options so that we can best meet your requirements.

Why does my artwork need ‘bleed’ and what is it?

If you have a border or image that goes off the edge of the page, it literally does need to go off the edge of the page for printing purposes. We always print on oversize paper and trim the finished job down to your required size. If your image does not go right over the edge of the cutting line, there’s a chance that you will see a sliver of white on your final job. Always allow for 3 mm of bleed on all edges. For example, an A6 postcard is 148 mm wide and 105 mm tall. Your image area would need to be 154 mm wide by 111 mm tall to allow for the trim. Remember that the image in the 3 mm frame will be cut off. Please note that not all artwork needs bleed; if your printing is contained within the page size (i.e. does not go to the edge of the page), then bleed is not an issue for you. Please ask us if you need help setting up your artwork.

Business Stationery Printing Questions

What details do I legally need to include on letterheads and invoices?

Follow this link to the Business Link website for accurate and impartial information.

How many business cards are there in a box?

Our small, plastic business card boxes (with lid) hold 100-125 cards depending on card type.

How many letterheads are there in a box?

In a standard ream box we put 500 letterheads, whether on 80 gsm, 100 gsm or 120 gsm. Our larger (brown, corrugated) boxes will hold 2,000 letterheads.

General Printing Questions

What is a spinemaster finish?

This process “squashes” stapled booklet so they are less springy and have a squarer, flatter spine. We charge this at £2.50 per 100 (£3 per 100 including VAT) regardless of the size of the booklet or quantity required. The pictures tell the story!

Can you invoice me for a job but deliver it somewhere else?

Yes – we have many customers who need us to bill and deliver to different addresses. In these circumstances it’s often helpful to have an account with us. Please complete and return our Credit Account Form.

Can you deliver outside the UK?

Yes, our couriers work internationally, so do talk to us and we can give you a price for overseas delivery. We are also happy to accept payment in foreign currencies or on non-UK cards.

Is there VAT on printing?

This is a complicated area. Our quotations will indicate whether or not VAT is applicable. Broadly speaking, if the item is of a promotional, informational or publicity nature (flyers, brochures, newsletters etc) the item will be zero rated; items that you write on do incur VAT; services (e.g. artwork and design) when itemised separately do attract VAT. As an example an A4 poster would carry VAT, but an A4 single-sided leaflet would not. Please check with us if you are unsure or visit this page on HMRC website for further information

What means of payment do you accept?

We prefer payment by BACS in advance directly into our bank account. We also accept debit and credit cards (we do not surcharge for their use) and payment by cheque (allow one week to clear) or cash. We can accept any currency, but the converted sterling (GBP) equivalent will be applied to your account balance. Your card details will be taken over the phone and any details written down are destroyed as soon as the transaction is completed.

Do you provide credit facilities?

Yes, once you have has established a trading relationship with us (following your first transaction) we will ask you to complete a simple form to request a 30 day credit account. Please complete and return our Credit Account Form.

How quickly can you print something for me?

It depends on the item. Our standard turnaround is five working days, so a job coming in ready to print (or being finally approved for print) on a Wednesday will be ready to collect the following Tuesday, or to be delivered by overnight courier for delivery on Wednesday. To avoid weekend warehousing we do not generally despatch overnight deliveries on Fridays. We can often turn around jobs more quickly, especially digital jobs, which can sometimes be provided on the next working day. We will always give you an accurate delivery day and we will always tell you in advance if we cannot meet your deadline. Reliability is important to us and we monitor our ‘jobs on time’ daily.

How do I get a printing quotation from Fulprint?

See our “Get a quote” page for the prices of some of our most popular products.

Alternatively, you can

  • fill in the enquiry form on the Quote pages
  • email your request
  • call us free on 0800 590745
  • call 01904 647422 (+ 44 1904 647422)
  • fax us on 01904 621799 (+ 44 1904 621799)
  • write to us at 7 Apollo Street, York, YO10 5AP
  • write to us at Fulprint Freepost (YO487), York YO10 5ZR.

Please note that if you send requests or samples via Freepost we may not receive them for up to five days.

We aim to reply to all quotation requests within one working day of receipt. However, if you have an urgent deadline please let us know! We can supply your quotation by phone, email, fax or post – just let us know which you’d prefer.

Tip: the more information you can give us, the more accurate your quote will be, but don’t worry if you don’t know all the details. We can suggest materials suitable for your job, send you samples and we always give you a range of quantities so you can see economies of scale.

Questions on Paper Sizes and Types

What is the difference between FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified and recycled paper?

The FSC was established in 1993 because of concerns over deforestation and has established global guidelines working with foresters to achieve certification. Almost all of the paper we use at Fulprint has a proportion of its content derived from FSC-certified sources (we can tell you exactly, paper by paper). Recycled paper may be from 100% recycled sources or less, and those recycled sources may be post-consumer waste (your old newspapers etc, de-inked), pre-consumer waste (printed matter that is rejected before it reaches the consumer), or mill-broke (off-cuts from the paper mill). The availability of recycled paper types and quality continues to grow – please ask us if you’d like to know more, as we now print regularly on a variety of coated and uncoated recycled papers.

How does NCR paper work?

Taking a two-part set as an example, the top sheet has a Coating on the Back (the paper is specified as ‘CB’) and the bottom sheet has a Coating on the Front (‘CF’), and when placed together and impacted (using a pen or dot matrix printer), the two surfaces react and produce an image. If the sheets are upside down or collated the wrong way round the process doesn’t work. If you have a three-part (or greater) set the middle sheet(s) are Coated on the Front and Back (‘CFB’).

What is that paper called that prints through to the next sheet?

It’s called ‘NCR’ which some say stands for ‘No Carbon Required’. Before its invention ‘duplicate’ and ‘triplicate’ books required the insertion of a piece of carbon paper between each sheet. We can still do this if you prefer.

Is A5 bigger or smaller than A4?

Paper mm mm inches inches
A2 420 594 16 1/2 23 2/5
A3 297 420 11 2/3 16 1/2
A4 210 297 8 1/4 11 2/3
A5 148.5 210 5 6/7 8 1/4
A6 105 148.5 4 1/7 5 6/7
A7 74 105 3 4 1/7

Other paper sizes are SRA2, SRA3, RA2, RA3, B2, B3, B4, etc. Don’t be confused – just ask.

I need some printed envelopes – what sizes do they come in?

mm mm inches inches
C3 324 458 12 3/4 18
C4 229 324 9 12 3/4
C5 162 229 6 3/8 9
DL 110 220 4 1/3 8 2/3

This table lists the most popular sizes. Many other sizes are available – just ask.

The A4 paper I buy for my printer/photocopier says it’s 80g. Is it?

The handy table below converts the ‘grams per square metre’ to show you what each sheet of paper actually weighs; so if you have a 12 page A5 booklet (three sheets of A4 80gsm) you know it will weigh 15g.

Grammes per
Square Metre (gsm)
Actual Weight of Sheet
A3 A4 A5 1/3 A4 A6
80 10g 5g 2.5g 1.67g 1.25g
90 11.25g 5.63g 2.81g 1.88g 1.41g
100 12.5g 6.25g 3.13g 2.08g 1.56g
110 13.75g 6.88g 3.44g 2.29g 1.72g
120 15g 7.5g 3.75g 2.5g 1.88g
130 16.25g 8.13g 4.06g 2.71g 2.03g
140 17.5g 8.75g 4.38g 2.92g 2.19g
150 18.75g 9.38g 4.69g 3.13g 2.34g
160 20g 10g 5g 3.33g 2.5g
170 21.25g 10.63g 5.31g 3.54g 2.66g
180 22.5g 11.25g 5.63g 3.75g 2.81g
190 23.75g 11.88g 5.94g 3.96g 2.97g
200 25g 12.5g 6.25g 4.17g 3.13g
220 27.5g 13.75g 6.88g 4.58g 3.44g
225 28.13g 14.06g 7.03g 4.69g 3.52g
240 30g 15g 7.5g 5g 3.75g
250 31.25g 15.63g 7.81g 5.21g 3.91g
270 33.75g 16.88g 8.44g 5.63g 4.22g
275 34.38g 17.19g 8.59g 5.73g 4.3g
280 35g 17.5g 8.75g 5.83g 4.38g
300 37.5g 18.75g 9.38g 6.25g 4.69g
330 41.25g 20.63g 10.31g 6.88g 5.16g
350 43.75g 21.88g 10.94g 7.29g 5.47g
400 50g 25g 12.5g 8.33g 6.25g

What’s the difference between “mcs” and “gsm”?

Paper and card are graded either by weight or thickness. Most papers and cards are specified by weight in Grammes per Square Metre (gsm). This tells you that if you had one sheet of 80 gsm paper, one metre square of it would actually weigh 80 grammes. It is, of course, unlikely that you would have such a thing, but paper sizes are in fact a fraction of a metre square (AO), and you can therefore work out the real weight of a piece of paper. This is useful if you are checking postal weights or other delivery costs. See table of paper weights below.

Microns or mcs or µ measure the thickness of the paper or card in microns i.e. 1000th of a millimetre. So if you had a pile of 100 sheets of 500 mcs card it would be 50 mm (5 cm) high. Stock measured in microns tends to be mostly card and display board e.g. for Euroslotted packaging card hangers. Some card weights are also described as ‘2 sheet card’ (200 mcs), ‘3 sheet card’ (230 mcs), ‘4 sheet card’ (280 mcs) and ‘6 sheet card’ (380 mcs).

There is no general conversion between gsm and mcs, as it depends on the density of the material. A dense material (e.g. art paper) may not be very thick for its weight and a small pile of it will be quite heavy compared with a less dense material (e.g. pulp board).

Many individual materials do have a comparison table. You may also want to consider the rigidity of the card, as that is not necessarily guaranteed by its thickness. If you need samples of any materials, please ask us.

Grammes per
Square Metre (gsm)
Actual Weight of Sheet
A3 A4 A5 1/3 A4 A6
80 10g 5g 2.5g 1.67g 1.25g
90 11.25g 5.63g 2.81g 1.88g 1.41g
100 12.5g 6.25g 3.13g 2.08g 1.56g
110 13.75g 6.88g 3.44g 2.29g 1.72g
120 15g 7.5g 3.75g 2.5g 1.88g
130 16.25g 8.13g 4.06g 2.71g 2.03g
140 17.5g 8.75g 4.38g 2.92g 2.19g
150 18.75g 9.38g 4.69g 3.13g 2.34g
160 20g 10g 5g 3.33g 2.5g
170 21.25g 10.63g 5.31g 3.54g 2.66g
180 22.5g 11.25g 5.63g 3.75g 2.81g
190 23.75g 11.88g 5.94g 3.96g 2.97g
200 25g 12.5g 6.25g 4.17g 3.13g
220 27.5g 13.75g 6.88g 4.58g 3.44g
225 28.13g 14.06g 7.03g 4.69g 3.52g
240 30g 15g 7.5g 5g 3.75g
250 31.25g 15.63g 7.81g 5.21g 3.91g
270 33.75g 16.88g 8.44g 5.63g 4.22g
275 34.38g 17.19g 8.59g 5.73g 4.3g
280 35g 17.5g 8.75g 5.83g 4.38g
300 37.5g 18.75g 9.38g 6.25g 4.69g
330 41.25g 20.63g 10.31g 6.88g 5.16g
350 43.75g 21.88g 10.94g 7.29g 5.47g
400 50g 25g 12.5g 8.33g 6.25g

How thick is paper and how thick is card?

The transition from paper to card is at roughly 180 gsm. See also the question below on gsm and mcs.

Printing Process Questions

How thick can you print?

Digital 330 gsm/300 microns
Offset 500 mics
Cutting/Creasing 750 mics

How big can you print?

Digital SRA3 450 mm x 320 mm
Offset B3 520 mm x 360 mm
(maximum image area 505 mm x 350 mm)
Cutting/Creasing B2 520 mm x 720 mm

Do you print clothing tags, labels, boxes etc?

Yes, we regularly print these items, and jobs include tags for a major retail fashion chain, labels for local manufacturers (fluorescent, perforated numbered, etc) and gift items for a national wholesaler to tourist attraction gift shops. Simply ask.

What types of folders can you print?

There are three stages to the process:

  1. artwork/design
  2. printing the flat sheets
  3. cutting, creasing and gluing the folders.

We can either use one of our standard cutters or create one for you (£90 – £150+VAT one-off cost).

    The options to think about are:
  • Capacity – do you want a single crease or a ‘capacity’ (gusset) crease to take more pages?
  • Flaps – where? When open, do you want these left and right or just on the right?
  • Flaps – how many? Do you want a flap just on the right or on the right and at the bottom?
  • Extras – do you want slots to hold your business card? If so, is your business card a standard 85mm x 55mm or some other size?
  • Finish: do you want the item left flat (much smaller for storage and cheaper too) for you to make up as required, or would you like us to make them up?

A job I had done by another printer which seems to smudge easily – how can you avoid this?

Yes; there are several techniques, depending on the job. We might need to add ‘dryers’ to the ink to speed the drying process; adding a sealant (a clear varnish) may be the answer, or we may actually laminate the job (matt or gloss thin clear film) to solve the problem. Do tell us if you have had a problem with a printed job in the past, as this can help us avoid future problems.

How do you work out page numbers?

The usual way for a book to be paginated is for the odd numbers to be on the right hand pages and the even page numbers on the left page. If the book or booklet is made up ‘collate, fold and stitch, the number of pages needs to be divisible by four. When we ask “How many pages is it?” we mean if you were to put page numbers on the item, what would be the last page number? For example, if you have three sheets of A4 folded down to A5, this is a 12 page A5 booklet. Your book/booklet will either be ‘self cover’ (same type of paper on every page) or plus cover.

How big a book can you bind? Collate, fold & stitch.

Pages: Based on 100 gsm art paper inside and a 200 gsm art board cover, we can bind in-house up to 120 pages + cover.

Size: The largest flat size is 340 mm wide x 480 mm long and the smallest flat size is 140 m wide x 200 mm long.

What options are there to bind my publication?

Collate, fold and stitch (with optional spinemaster finish) – suitable for booklets, brochures, small magazines, price lists, manuals, handbooks, programmes and orders or service. Wire bind – our standard wire is while, but you can choose black or other colours. Suitable for pupil planners, calendars, diaries, cook books, AGM agenda/minutes or reports (with or without clear acetate covers).

Why is double-sided printing almost the same price as single-sided?

When printing offset litho we often print both sides at the same time in a production method known as ‘work and turn’. This means we use the same number of plates, set-ups and paper to print a two-sided item as a one-sided item – the only extra cost is the additional time on the printing press. However, this is not true of digital printing, where the cost per copy almost doubles for two-sided printing. Our sophisticated quotation software at Fulprint works out the cheapest way for both single sided and double sided – just ask us for some comparison prices.

Is it cheaper to have larger quantities printed?

Yes, always; the cost per unit goes down with larger print quantities.

What’s the right printing terminology for glossy and matt?

Paper and card fall broadly into two categories: coated and uncoated. Coated papers and cards are commonly used for leaflets and brochures, and are often called ‘art paper’. The surface of the paper does not absorb ink, which dries instead by oxidisation. Colours tend to be brighter and the definition sharper on coated paper. Within the heading of coated paper and card are gloss art, silk art and matt art.

When printing on any of these art papers, the ink will appear glossy, as it sits on top of the paper; however, the background can be different. With gloss art the white background will also be glossy; with silk or matt art it will not, so there will be a greater contrast between the background and the printed areas. Gloss art is not recommended for items which need to be written on, as pen is likely to smudge; it will also smudge slightly on silk art, but skids less and dries more quickly.

Uncoated papers and cards are commonly used for business stationery (e.g. letterheads and business cards) or any items you want to write on (e.g. forms, delivery notes and order pads). They are often called Bond or Cartridge papers. The surface absorbs ink and, depending on the grade and quality of the paper, very fine images may loose their sharpness. However, modern papers (even recycled brands) can hold quite a small ‘dot’; the most notable difference (set against coated papers) is the reproduction of colours. If you have your business cards printed on coated and your letterheads on uncoated, the same colour ink will look different. Ask Fulprint – we can advise!

Coated papers are denser than uncoated papers, so a 115 gsm coated paper is thinner than a 115 gsm uncoated paper. Feel free to ask us for a printed sample so you can see and feel the difference. For greetings cards we print on a card stock that is coated on the outside (to show off your artwork) but uncoated on the inside (so you can still write on it).

What’s the difference between digital and offset litho printing?

Cost: digital printing involves only a little setting up and then a cost for each copy; offset litho printing involves more setting up and a printing plate to create the first copy, but then the cost per copy is much cheaper. As a general guide, up to 500 items is cheaper printed digitally and over 500 is cheaper using offset litho. At Fulprint, our quotation software automatically checks the best cost options for you.

Speed: we generally turn around digital jobs in 2-3 working days and offset litho jobs in 5 working days. Although the digital print machine prints more slowly, the printed item is dry; whereas in offset litho printing real, wet ink is used and drying time is needed before cutting and boxing.

Colour: digital printing always uses the full colour process to create different colours; offset litho printing can also do this, but in addition allows for dedicated ‘spot’ colours, which are very accurate and can include metallic silver and gold or fluorescent inks.

 

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Fulprint
7 Apollo Street
Heslington Road
York
YO10 5AP

Tel: 01904 647422 or 0800 590745
Fax: 01904 621799

You can email us at webenquiry@fulprint.com

Company Reg 04079510 in England & Wales
VAT Reg GB 412 1928 80

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