Rich Black
For offset printing we recommend using the formula: 50% Cyan, 40% Magenta, 20% Yellow, 100% Black. This will produce the darkest “black.”
For digital printing, use 100% Black because the toner isn’t transparent like the CMYK inks, so it will be the richest black possible.
We ask that all files be uploaded as CMYK and not RGB. If they are not CMYK then we will convert them but they may not be as accurate.
Can I print with white?
Not usually. White is typically recognized as the absence of ink, however, if a darker colored paper is being used, white ink can be used.
What is the Pantone Matching System (PMS)?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a standardized color system used in printing and a variety of other applications. We like to think of it as picking a paint color. Using PMS colors allows us to keep your colors consistent throughout the entire printing process and from one project to the next.
Additive Color
Color produced by light falling onto a surface, such as RGB. Computer screens are RGB.
Subtractive Color
Color produced by light reflected from a surface, such as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Printed materials, including photographs, are typically CMYK.
Pantone Colors
Also called PMS for Pantone Matching System, is kind of like picking a paint swatch for your house. These are specific colored inks you can use for consistency and branding. Pantone colors come in metallics and other colors that cannot be made as accurately with CMYK.
Water base coating applied like ink after printing the color. Designed to protect and enhance printing. There are matte and gloss aqueous coatings, as well as soft-touch and strike-thru varnish techniques. Ask your sales rep for more information and samples.
Red, Green, and Blue; the 3 additive color primaries.
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black; the 4 subtractive color primaries. These are the 4 “process” colors used in printing.
Soy-based inks
Soy inks are easier on the environment. These inks use vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles.
Acid free
Acid-free papers are manufactured in an alkaline environment, which prevents the internal chemical deterioration of the paper over time. Calcium carbonate is added as a buffer and makes the paper resistant to external acidic environment.
Archival papers don’t deteriorate (turn brittle and/or yellow) over time. They are acid free. They meet tear criteria.
Bond paper may be made from cotton, chemical wood pulp, or a combination. Writing, digital, and cut-size papers are often identified with the bond scale.
General term for paper suitable for printing. May be coated or uncoated and is equivalent in weight to text paper. Typically used for the inside of books or brochures.
Brightness is the percentage of light in a narrow range reflected from the surface of the paper. It is not necessarily related to whiteness or color. A paper brightness of 98 is very bright, reflecting almost all light back to the viewer. Bright white papers illuminate transparent offset inks making the printed piece look cleaner, brighter, and crisper.
Caliper is the measure of paper thickness expressed in thousandths of an inch. A paper’s caliper determines the bulk of a given basis weight and is affected by it’s coating. A gloss coating will smooth the fibers and give the paper a thinner caliper whereas a velvet or uncoated will be thicker because the fibers will have more texture.
Coated Paper
Paper made with a surface coating such as matte, dull, velvet, or gloss. Different coatings allow for better ink holdout.
Cover paper
Cover papers are heavier weight, and are either coated or uncoated. They are typically used for business cards, folders, brochures, postcards, and pamphlets. They score and fold nicely and feel more substantial.
Digital Papers
Papers designed specifically for the digital machines. The papers still come in varying weights and coatings.
As the paper is moved on the machine, the majority of the fibers orient themselves in the same direction. When the web is sheeted, the sheets will have a certain grain direction, whether it be grain long (along the long side) or grain short (along the short side). Grain direction should be considered in the design process because it makes scoring, folding, and converting look cleaner.
Uncoated paper doesn’t have a surface coating. Ink soaks into the paper more, giving it a less crisp look. There are varying grades of quality among uncoated papers.
Why aren’t my fonts looking right?
You need to make sure your fonts are either embedded or outlined. If you are using InDesign you can always “package” your files and it will copy the fonts used in the document into a folder for us.
Should I leave white space around my design?
No. You need to add 1/8 inch bleed to your files. To do this, extend your background past where the paper will be cut by 1/8 inch. If your design does not have a background color/design and is just white, then you don’t need to extend anything. Your files should still be saved with crop marks.
What resolution do you need my files in?
Your files need to be 300 dpi to look in focus and crisp. Anything with lower resolution may look pixelated and/or blurry.
What file format do you prefer for artwork submission?
We prefer pdfs or native files. If we have the native files we can often times make small edits. On pdfs you do need to save them with bleed and crop marks.
How should I submit my multi page book?

The setup of a multi page document will depend on how we are printing and binding it. Please ask your sales rep or pre-press department regarding a specific piece.

It often saves money and time on both ends if you discuss your project layout with a sales rep first. We can show you how to make your project look it’s best and be most cost-effective.

I acquired a set of dies for my project.  Do I own them and are they mine to keep?

Yes you do own any die you create as part of the project you land at Carlisle.  If requested, they can be delivered with your project.  However many dies are small and easily lost or damaged.  Others, like presentation folder die cut panels can be quite large and challenging to manage.  At Carlisle, we archive every die we create in a library system easily recalled for future projects until such time as they are obsolete through use or by design.  We will manage your die storage at no cost protecting your investment and safeguarding the integrity of your original request until such time as you no longer need that service.

I need to repeat a project.  Do you keep my plates and files?

Where appropriate, we do keep print files and useful plates in archive to support future requests for additional print product.  Print files are always archived by job number digitally.  They can be recovered and re used and sometimes updated when requesting additional projects.  Never hurts to ask.  Over the years our archives have helped more than one agency or designer recover files they lost for one reason or another.  If your project was offset on one or more plates and not time sensitive it is very likely they are available for several years following your project and always if you request that option when launching your project.  A set of plates is a large investment particularly if your project is a sizeable book or brochures in four or six color with varnishes.  As long as they are useful, you are able to stretch your original dollars forward.  It costs you nothing to retain plates.  Because eventually we would be a mountain of aluminum sheets, we do retire plates when they are obsolete but they do not go to the landfill.  All retired plates are recycled in keeping with our high standards for environmental conservancy.  Sadly, all print files formerly on film are now retired and as such unavailable for recovery.

Can I change my order?  Why do I need a proof?

Of course you can but the cost associated with the change will become part of the final cost of your order.  Sometimes that cost is an additional day or two simply to acquire more material to increase count for delivery.  But say your project is offset on 64 plates and you find an error after approving the work to advance and call us with a “stop the presses” moment.  It happens.  Removing the error or updating the content of your files may mean new plates, delay, more stock and a restart.  That can be very expensive indeed.  Always request a print file proof and make time to review and approve.  They do have cost but far less than a full stop can drain from your pocket.  A proof is always worth the effort.  Will a PDF do?  Sometimes – it really depends on the project.  A proof is a valuable part of your project showing you exactly what we believe your project to contain and look like coming off the press and out of bindery.  It is your opportunity to check the work one last time.  The print proof is part of the job jacket and remains in your project file for future reference as needed.  Many jobs repeat and we will advance a proof into a new job jacket when appropriate to manage consistency of product.  All proofs belong to the printer as part of the working file.  You can request a full or partial duplicate and we will advise a separate cost for that effort when employed.

How long will my order take to deliver?

It depends on how we are printing your project.  Our basic delivery schedule is based on production days required to complete your request.  Generally we allow one production day for every production step needed to manage completion.  Pre press and Proof, Plating, Printing, Trimming, Folding, Letterpress, Stitching and other forms of binding, packaging and finally delivery give you some idea on how we structure the work.  A typical digital project will usually carry a two or three day turn.  A typical offset project will usually carry a five to seven day turn.  A stitched book in several parts with finishing details will usually carry ten to twelve day turn.  Jobs that require outsourcing of special features will usually carry a twelve to fifteen day turn to accommodate transportation needs.  Your job is never the only job in production on any given day.  Some weeks are light and others sheer chaos to manage.  If you need speed, ask.  We will always give you a realistic estimate based on production at the time your job launches.  When we are able to adjust for more speed, we will do our best to make that happen.

There is a problem – what do I do?

All projects at Carlisle are assigned to a sales representative from beginning to end.  Your rep is your first call.  On those rare occasions where something seems amiss, call, let us know.  We want to know because we genuinely want to make every project a success.  In the world of “custom” communication is absolutely everything.  We are responsive.

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