FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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[toggle title=”What file types can I send to Colours?”]
We can accept almost any file type, for PC or Mac. However, we do have preferences. The ultimate is an Acrobat PDF file, properly set up with trims and bleeds, all in CMYK, with no transparency, no compression and no embedded profiles. But that may be difficult if the software you have cannot generate a PDF file, or if you are unsure how to generate such a PDF file. If you have any doubts, ask us.
Otherwise we can work with files from most common design and layout programmes, on PC or Mac – Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, QuarkXpress, Pagemaker, CorelDraw and, at a pinch, Publisher, Excel, Word, PowerPoint
[toggle title=”How do I set up files for variable data printing?”]
Three files are needed if your job is to contain variable data.
- a sample file, containing all elements, including a sample of the variable data, in the correct position, using the required typeface and size, or a sample image. We would prefer a press-ready PDF file, of course.
- a base template file, containing only the static (non-variable elements). Again, a press-ready PDF file is best.
- a clean spreadsheet or database file, containing all the variable data, set up in fields (columns) with a field name (column header) for each piece of information – eg Firstname, Surname, Address, Postcode, etc. If variable images are to be used, these should be supplied with consistent naming and be referred to in the spreadsheet or database.
Any special instructions regarding formatting (eg colour, font size, leading, etc), special rules (eg “if the name is French, change the font to “Bernadette”, or “add a comma after the Dear <firstname> field”) should also be included.
[toggle title=”Should I use JPEG compression when I save my files?”]
Compression is used to reduce file size to make for faster transport – usually by email or FTP transfer, these days.
There are two categories of compression – “lossy” and “lossless”. Lossless compression methods (such as LZW, JBIG and ZIP) are preferred, as no data are compromised and no artefacts are introduced – but the amount of space saved is usually not much. Lossy compression methods (such as JPEG) lead to much smaller file sizes, but at the expense of image quality.
While JPEG is probably the most commonly used method for compression, it is not our preferred method. Provided file size and bandwidth are not limiting factors, we would suggest ZIP compression be used whenever possible.
[toggle title=”What colour profiles should I use?”]
It really doesn’t matter what profiles you use, as our pre-press systems require us to remove all embedded profiles and substitute standard CMYK profiles before printing.
The standard we use at Colours (and which is used in Australia for both offset and digital printing) is based on the ISO standard Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004). In practice this means that we use the “ISO Coated v2 (ECI)” output profile. If you wish to obtain a copy, you can download it here.
If your files use any other colour profile (especially if they are set up in RGB) and you are unsure if there will be colour shifts when converted to this standard, please contact us for further advice.
[toggle title=”How can I send my artwork to Colours?”]
Traditional marked-up, reflective artwork can no longer be accepted. Colours will only be able to work with digital artwork.
Obviously, you can send us your artwork files on disk, CD or DVD, flash drive or any portable media – Mac or PC.
However, far more convenient methods exist, even for large files.
- By email – file sizes are usually restricted to 10Mb by most email servers, but we can accept up to 50Mb. Contact us to find out the best email address to use when sending artwork by this method.
- By FTP – Colours has three FTP servers in various locations around the world, to provide security and redundancy. Contact us to get the details you need.
- By File Uploader – A link to Colours “File Uploader” is at the top of every page of our web-site. It is fast, simple and easy to use and can handle files up to 500Mb.
- By Web File Manager – Colours “Web File Manager” is also accessible from any of our web-pages. It provides secure, easy-to-use transfer of files, with thumbnail previews and no restriction on file size. Contact us to set up an account with private access to your own drop-box.
[toggle title=”Why do I need to sign off on a proof?”]
Colours offers four levels of proofing.
- No proof of any sort. This would only be agreed to if the quality of the artwork is known to be OK and there simply was not enough time for a proof to be approved. In this case, we ask our customers to put their waiver in writing, in the form of an email or faxed acknowledgement.
- A “soft” proof – a PDF file, usually sent by email, and requiring an emailed acknowledgement.
- A “hard-copy” proof – printed on an Epson digital proof printer, to be checked and marked with a written approval to proceed.
- A “machine” proof or mockup – printed on the correct stock on the same machine that will be used to print the final job, scored, folded or bound as required, with the appropriate finish (eg celloglaze).
Why is any of this necessary? Because things can and do go wrong. The files may not be the most recent ones your designer worked on. They may have got corrupted during transmission to us. We may have inadvertently altered something without realising it, during our “pre-flight” checks. You may even change your mind when you see a printed copy. There is a common saying in our industry – “There is never enough time to do a job – but there is always time to do it again!”
Check a proof of every job. Make sure no-one gets disappointed.
[toggle title=”What sort of turnaround can I expect?”]
The answer depends, of course, on the size and complexity of your job. For most small jobs, we will endeavour to deliver within 24hrs of approval of artwork.
When booking in your job, you can organise a standard, rush, or same day turnaround, or nominate a deadline for delivery.
Please take into account that the approval process may affect the delivery time if you do not advise us promptly that your job is OK to print.
[toggle title=”Do I have a choice of delivery or pickup?”]
Of course you can pick up your finished printed jobs at any time 7am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, or weekends by arrangement.
Alternatively we can arrange to post, courier or freight your job anywhere in Australia. Delivery charges are passed on at cost, with a modest surcharge to cover processing, handling and packaging.
[toggle title=”What payment methods do you accept?”]
Cash sales can be paid for by cash, personal or company cheque, direct deposit or credit/debit card. We accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express.
Our bank account details are: BSB 06-2102 A/C 1005-3624
Account customers receive a monthly statement and have up to 60 days interest-free to pay the balance due.
To open a credit account with Colours, please download the relevant files below, and email, fax or post the completed form back to us.