How big can I print?
Pretty big, actually. 2m by 20m is where we tend to max out and the printers start to feel a bit self-conscious. Standard laser printing goes up to SRA3 (320×450mm), which is big enough for an A3 (297×420mm) with full bleed. We can also print and trim at any size below that, down to about 32×32mm.
What do I call my files?
Fun fact: when we asked the Ink server how many files it had that were called something like “FINAL_for_real_this_time_(printthisone)_4a.pdf”, it rolled its eyes and reluctantly gave us the figure somewhere in the realm of two and half thousand – not including the ones that were spelt wrong. Naming your files sensibly makes drop off, printing, and pick up approximately two and half thousand times quicker and easier, and means that when you accidentally format your hard drive and come ask us in several years’ time if we still have your file (it’s happened) we’re much more likely to be able to help.
We recommend something along the lines of yourname_projectname_date.pdf, and certainly won’t be upset if you throw in the printed size in there somewhere, too.
How do I give you my files?
The tried and tested method is on a USB stick, with files that are preferably well-labelled, and not hidden amongst torrents of Project Runway you’re dying to watch (and which we might steal when you’re not looking). You don’t have to delete everything else, just make it easy for us to find, and hide anything you don’t want us to see.
Anything under about 25MB you’re welcome to email directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kind of file format should I bring?
Ink loves nice flat PDFs (Portable Document Format). They’re about the most reliable way to transport files without anything strange happening, keep vectors as vectors, automatically embed fonts, don’t care what OS they’re on, and generally live up to their name.
We don’t ordinarily like to handle InDesign or Illustrator files or unflattened Photoshop files – unless there’s a really good reason for it. Good reasons for it tend to be:
- You need help setting up clear or white ink.
- That’s it really.
If in doubt, export a PDF as well as bringing your raw documents, and bring all linked images and fonts. Top tip: using the InDesign and Illustrator's ‘package’ feature does this last bit for you.
Files to avoid
PNGs aren't ideal – they're great for web, but don't support CMYK, and often have transparency issues.
TIF and JPG files are okay only if you're printing large format. Laser printing requires PDFs. We may have to charge you for conversion if your files aren't already PDF.
If you're embedding unflattened PSD files into your PDF, you may have issues with transparency and other weird glitches.
Bleed is just where you extend any object that touched the edges of your page a few millimetres. Printers don't print right to the edge of the page, so if you don't want white borders, you'll have to trim some off (including most of the bleed).
This means that when you trim your page, being one third of a millimetre off with the craft knife doesn't make your print look terrible and have white edges.
Do you guys have paper? Can I bring my own?
We've got loads. Feel free to bring your own, though. Just bring a bit extra so we can calibrate and make sure double-sided printing lines up, and that the ink is going to stick to the page.
What's CMYK? Can you print RGB?
Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) are the colours of light that your screen uses to get your image into your eyeballs. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK (CMYK) are the colours of ink that our printers use to get your image onto paper. At some point in the process of getting what’s on your screen onto what’s on our paper, someone’s going to have to convert those wavelengths of light into something that can be printed with ink.
Though the printers are actually pretty good at doing this themselves, for full control over colour conversion use “Convert to Profile” in whichever program you’re using, or manipulate the channels manually. Using ‘view > overprint preview’ or 'proof colours' helps envisage what your colours are going to turn out like.
If your work is primarily photographic, leaving your files in RGB may actually get better results, as many of our printers can do far better than CMYK, and can use light cyan and magenta (Lc and Lm) to get more accurate colours.
If you are converting to CMYK yourself, use the FOGRA 39 profile. If you're using RGB, we recommend AdobeRGB.
Do you do die-cutting?
Die-cutting isn't something we do in house, but we are able to liaise with people who do on your behalf, and help or advise on file set-up.
Note that die-cutting only becomes economical once you're doing a lot of copies, and there will always be a base set up fee of somewhere around $200. It's not able to be rushed, and you'll need to allow a minimum of a week, on top of ordinary printing times.
What about embossing?
Traditional embossing isn't something we're able to do, and isn't going to economical in small quantities. You might want to consider using a clear ink, which several of our printers are capable of, and which can give some added detail and three-dimensionality that'll help your print stand out.
Failing that, try a DIY method of embossing, which isn't particularly tricky, and can be combined with printing for a pretty good look.
How long does it take to print?
It depends! Except in extraordinary circumstances, most small format jobs will be done within the day, and large format within two or three.
We're learning too!
If you have a special request regarding your job, do let us know. We love taking on jobs that are nothing like anything we've printed before, and expanding our own knowledge.