How can Pantone (PMS) colors affect the way my job prints?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

There are three ways that 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. To avoid this, please convert all  Pantone colors into CMYK before submitting your order.

The second way that Pantone colors can affect your file is when you use transparent images. To fix this issue, please convert all of your Pantone colors into CMYK. If you would like to have a Pantone spot color in your artwork, you must create a clipping mask around the image so the white area will not appear. This must be done prior to submitting your file.

The last way that Pantone colors can affect your job is the color conversion between Pantone color and CMYK. We typically print in CMYK unless otherwise specified. If a job is submitted with Pantone colors and we convert to CMYK there may be undesirable color shifts due to the conversion. Please check that all Pantone colors have been converted to CMYK unless you would like your job printed with a Pantone spot color (such as a metallic or specific PMS color).

What is rich black and how can I get it?2017-12-01T12:18:08-05:00

Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black (100% K) with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker and richer tone than plain black alone. If you set your file to print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not look as dark as you might prefer.

To achieve a deep dark black we recommend using the following breakdown:

C:60 M:40 Y:40 K:100

How do I get grayscale into a CMYK document?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

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 good chance that you color will vary from the look that you intended.

How can I make sure that my blues do not come out purple?2017-12-01T12:19:08-05:00

When using a blue in your design, always make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. Blue is close to purple in the CMYK spectrum, so please make sure to use a low amount of Magenta whenever using high amounts of Cyan to avoid purple.

What is overprint and how can it ruin my file?2017-12-01T12:19:21-05:00

Overprint is when one layer of ink is printed on top of another, but it can cause unexpected results. We strongly suggest that you turn all overprint objects off before submitting your files. Unexpected results may occur if you have accidentally set certain objects to overprint. Always check logos and other artwork before submitting.

How can I avoid transparency issues?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

Any transparency issues can be resolved before saving your file. To prevent these, 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. All of these effects will cause transparency problems so please avoid beforehand.

How should I set up my bleed and crop marks?2017-11-22T13:52:17-05:00

The bleed must extend .125″ further than the cut line. When sending an .eps or .pdf file please make sure that you include the crop marks so that we can cut your job correctly.

What resolution should my files be?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

Please send files that are at least 300 dpi.  Low resolution files may not be suitable for quality printing and will slow turn-around if higher resolution images need to be requested and replaced in your file.

What color mode should my files be sent in?2017-12-01T12:28:52-05:00

Please do not send RGB files. 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 if intended for print.

What types of files can I send?2017-11-22T13:58:02-05:00

We recommend saving your file as a .pdf. You may also send it in the following formats: psd, tif, eps, ai, or within the native program builds.

If you send a .pdf file, we prefer that you send it with the fonts outlined. These files are easier to handle and will likely speed up your turn-around. Remember to add crop marks and send with bleeds included.

How do I package InDesign files?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

SAVE your final InDesign file, first making sure there are no errors (such as missing fonts or links)

From the “FILE” drop down menu, choose “PACKAGE”

A window/dialog box will open. Hit the “PACKAGE” button

Another window/dialog box will open. Hit the “CONTINUE” button

Another window/dialog box will open asking you to create a Package Folder.

Check the following boxes:

  • Copy Fonts
  • Copy Linked Graphics
  • Update Graphic Links In Package
  • Include Fonts And Links From Hidden And Non-Printing Content.

Select the location and name your folder (don’t forget where you put it!) and then hit the “SAVE” button

Finally, compress the entire folder before sending  via our website: www.spectrumprinting.com.

How do I create a press-ready PDF with bleeds in InDesign?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00


  • Go to File >  Document Setup >  (a window/dialog box will open)
  • Set all bleeds to 0.125 inches (or 0.25 inches for posters/wide format)
  • Hit the OK button
  • Save the file


  • Go to File >  Export >  (a window/dialog box will open)
  • Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the “Format” drop down menu
  • Hit the SAVE button  (another window/dialog box will open)
  • Choose Press Quality from the “Adobe PDF presets” drop down menu
  • Click Marks and Bleeds on the left-hand side of the dialog box
  • Check the box that says Use Document Bleed Settings
  • Hit the EXPORT button and it is done.

NOTE:  The finished PDF will be larger than the actual document because the bleeds have been included.

How can I find the resolution of an image from my digital camera?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

Some digital cameras will let you know what the image resolution is, while others will tell you what the pixel dimensions of your image are. If you know what the pixel dimensions of your images are either from the camera itself or through the image editing software, you can do a little math to determine the resolution, and the size you can print the image at for clear and crisp printing.

Simply write down the pixel dimensions of your image and divide those numbers by 300 if the image does not include text or 400 if the image does include text. For example: An image without any text has a pixel dimension of 600 x 900 pixels. Once each dimension is divided by 300 the result is 2 x 3 inches. This means that you can use this image at 2 x 3 inches or smaller in your layout for quality printing results.

If your image editing software does not tell you what the pixel dimensions are, but does tell you what the resolution is, then you know the maximum size you can use that image in your layout. We recommend that images be at 300dpi in their final size in the layout and 400dpi if the images include text. Please keep in mind that resolution and physical dimensions are in direct proportion to each other. If you have an image that is 2×2 at 300dpi and increase its size in the layout to 4×4, the new resolution is now 150dpi. So remember, when you bring an image into your layout you can shrink it down in size (because the resolution will increase) but you will be limited as to how far you can increase it in size.

How should I take pictures with my digital camera?2019-05-07T16:39:53-04:00

Digital cameras are wonderful tools that allow us to capture our images in many different ways. The camera is designed to actually take three pictures; one in red, one in green and the other in blue (similar to the way a projection TV works). It then combines the colors together and saves the image onto the picture card. It is very important to make sure that the camera is set to the highest quality setting possible.  You want to create the best quality picture that the camera can make. This will mean large file sizes and slow downloads from the camera itself, but it will get you the best possible results from your camera. Remember, images should be at 300 dpi at their final size in the layout!

More often than not, we notice that images that come from digital cameras print darker than expected on the printing press. Check to see if you have a brightness option in your image editing program to lighten the entire piece. If you have the opportunity to change the color space from RGB (red, green, blue) to the printing press colors of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), then do so! It is always better to have you change the color space if you can, than for us to do it. Remember, not all visible colors that are created by elements of light (RGB) can be created by the elements of ink (CMYK) on press. If you do not have this capability with your software, do not worry about it, we will change it for you for free! Finally, we recommend that you apply a little sharpening to the image. This will make the image a little crisper and will print better on press.