Below you'll find a compilation of answers to questions we commonly hear from customers. If you cannot find what you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want you to have the information you need to get the final result you want.
Simply use our online estimate request form by clicking here. Otherwise, the best way to ensure that we get all the information necessary to do an accurate quote is to give us a call and speak with one of our customer service representatives.
Every job is different. Some jobs can be produced in minutes while some may take several days to complete. Let us know when you need your job completed and we'll let you know if it can be done. We go to great lengths to meet even your most demanding timelines.
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is generally the preferred file format for submitting a document for printing as it works with virtually all professional printing and digital output devices. By design, a PDF file incorporates the information needed to maintain document consistency from system to system. Most other file formats such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Microsoft Word are easily converted to PDF format.
The technology of design, layout and printing has come a long way to the point where much of the work is done in a WSYWIG (What You See Is What You Get) digital environment. However, there are sometimes noticeable differences in color calibration and spatial conformity from monitor to monitor and consequently from screen to print.
The process for minimizing any variance begins with adjusting your monitor for optimal color and clarity according to the manufacturer's recommendations as outlined within its product manual or website. Doing this will alleviate a number of potential issues.
Beyond that, for the greatest conformity in color from screen to print, there are tools available that will ensure exact color calibration. Perhaps you have already invested in such a tool. If so, let us know what you use and we'll work with you to achieve the best results. If you are considering investing in a color calibration tool, talk to us first and we'll be happy to offer our advice.
A proof is a one-off copy of your printed document used for visual inspection to ensure that the layout and colors of your document are exactly how they are intended to be. A proof is made prior to sending the document to the press for final printing.
Typically, we will produce a proof that will be sent to you online in PDF format or on printed paper, which can be either viewed in our store or delivered to you in person. For multiple-color jobs, we can produce a proof on our output device to show you how the different colors will appear on the final product.
Your approval on the final proof is the best assurance you have that every aspect of our work and your own is correct, and that everything reads and appears the way you intended. Mistakes can and sometimes do happen. It benefits everyone if errors are caught in the proofing process rather than after the job is completed and delivered.
The basis weight of a given grade of paper is defined as the weight (in pounds) of 500 standard-sized sheets of that paper. With that in mind, here are different examples of paper grades and their respective basis weights:
Bond: Most commonly used for letterhead, business forms and copying. Typical basis weights are16# for forms, 20# for copying and 24# for stationery.
Text: A high-quality grade paper with a lot of surface texture. Basis weights range from 60# to 100# with the most common being 70# or 80#.
Uncoated Book: The most common grade for offset printing. Typically 50# to 70#.
Coated Book: Has a glossy finish that yields vivid colors and overall excellent reproduction. Basis weights range from 30# to 70# for web press, and 60# to 110# for sheet press.
Cover: Used in creating business cards, postcards and book covers. Can be either coated or uncoated. Basis weights for this grade are 60#, 65#, 80# or 100#.
Uncoated stock paper is comparatively porous and inexpensive, and is typically used for such applications as newspaper print and basic black-and-white copying. Coated stock, by contrast, is made of higher quality paper having a smooth glossy finish that works well for reproducing sharp text and vivid colors. It tends to be more expensive, however.
In the digital age of printing, it means that an image file submitted for printing is ready to be transferred to the printing plates without any alterations.
Color separation is the process of separating a colored graphic or photograph into its primary color components in preparation for printed reproduction. For example, to print a full color photo with an offset printing press, we would create four separate printing plates each accounting for one of the four basic printing inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) needed to reproduce the image.
As the paper is fed through the press, each single-color plate puts onto the paper the exact amount of ink needed at exactly the right spot. As the different colored wet inks are applied, they blend together to create the rich and infinite pallet of complex colors needed to reproduce the original image.
Halftone printing converts a continuous tone (solid areas of black or color) photograph or image into a pattern of different size dots that simulate continuous tone. When examining the page closely, you will see a series of dots spaced slightly apart. At a normal viewing distance, however, the spacing between dots becomes essentially invisible to the eye and what you see is a continuous tone.
Pantone colors refer to the Pantone Matching System (PMS), a color matching system used by the printing industry whereby printing colors are identified by a unique name or number (as opposed to just a visual reference). This helps make sure that colors turn out the same from system to system, and print run to print run.
No. White is not generally considered a printing color as typically the paper itself will be white. If a colored paper (something other than white) is chosen, then white becomes a printing color if any text or graphics require it.
Standard sizes for catalogs and booklets are:
A5 (148 x 210mm) Printed A4 & folded to A5
A4 (210 x 297mm) Printed A3 & folded to A4
You can also print to either A4 or A5 and Book, Ring, Wire or Spiral bind
for a professional looking finish.
Brochures generally imply printed media that is folded.
Common sizes are;
A3 folded to A4
A4 folded to A5
A5 folded to A6
A4 folded to DL size (99 x 210mm)
It is possible to print and fold any of the metric sizes
as commonly used in South Africa.
Business envelope sizes are referenced by a number such as;
C6 - 162mm x 114mm
C4 - 324mm x 229mm
DL maxi - 235mm x 120mm
B5 - 250mm x 176mm
B4 - 353mm x 250mm
These are the SA Post Office requirements to keep in mind when designing an envelope:
Type of envelope Size
C6 with window 162mm x 114mm
C6 without window 162mm x 114mm
C6 with and without window (self-seal) 162mm x 114mm
DL maxi with window 235mm x 120mm
DL maxi without window 235mm x 120mm
DL maxi with and without window (self-seal) 235mm x 120mm
B5 without window 250mm x 176mm
C4 without window 324mm x 229mm
Postcards are found in two common sizes: 184 x 104mm and 154 x 90mm
The most common card stocks used for in our day to day printing are:
Letterheads, Compliment slips and printed office stationery
is printed on uncoated stock in the range 70gsm to 120gsm.
Flyers, Brochures and Advertising material generally printed on
coated stock of 105gsm to 180gsm.
Business Cards are are generally printed on coated and uncoated
stock in the range 215gsm to 350gsm.
The perception is 'the thicker the card the better the quality', chat to your
printer first for the best advice. At Minuteman good advice is part of our
The three most popular sizes for personalized notepads are A4 (210 x 297mm), A5 (148 x 210mm) and A6 (148 x 105mm).
Notepads can be made up by glueing or any of the standard binding systems.
The standard number of sheets per pad is either 30, 50 or 80.
Materials for labels and their application include:
Paper, Uncoated: Use where you need the label to be easily written on by hand or printed on by machine.
Paper, High Gloss: Use when you need good printability. Keep in mind that it cannot be written on easily by hand.
Vinyl: Use vinyl for outdoor environments, or if applying a label to a vinyl surface.
Mylar/Polyester: Best for applications where the label needs to be applied to an object with sharp, angular corners.
Some of the common methods of binding books and other multi-page documents include:
Perfect binding : Gluing the outside edges of the pages together to create a flat edge.
Saddle-stitch binding : Using staples along the folds of the pages to bind them together.
Spiral binding : Wires in a spiral form threaded through punched holes along the binding edge of the papers. Allows the document to lay open flatly.
Plastic comb binding : Similar to spiral binding but using a tubular plastic piece with teeth that fit through rectangular holes punched into the binding edge.
Three-ring binding : Holes are punched into the pages and fitted into a binder.
Wire Binding : Looped wire crimped to hold the punched sheets.