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Art & Printing FAQs

Art & Printing FAQs

  • What are screen tints or halftones?
  • Screen tints and halftones are ways of creating many shades of color form a single ink color. This is achieved by breaking down artwork into dots of varying size. The term “screen tint” is generally used in reference to solid and graduated percentages of color. “Halftone” is generally used in reference to grayscale images such as photographs.
  • How many lines per inch do you use for screen printing?
  • Our standard line screen is 65 LPI (lines per inch). When printing small areas of halftones with fine detail, we may choose to use a higher LPI line screen in order to preserve detail.
  • How many lines per inch do you use for offset/litho printed products?
  • 150 LPI.
  • What screen percentages do you recommend for solid tints and gradients in screen printing?
  • We recommend solid tints between 15% and 85% and gradients between 5% and 95%.
  • Why do you recommend against screen printing large panels of screen tints?
  • In the process of screen printing, specks and flaws in printing large panels are easily visible. In some cases we recommend printing an additional lighter shade of the same solid color.
  • What is a bleed?
  • A bleed is when artwork or printing falls off the edge of the finished product. In the case of binders, artwork through the spine hinges is also considered a bleed. A bleed requires printing on oversize material and then trimming, welding, or wrapping afterwards.
  • How much bleed do I need?
  • 5/16” for vinyl binders, 5/8” for casemade/turned edge products, and 1/8” for paper prints. Refer to product templates for specifications.
  • Can my artwork bleed if it’s foil stamped?
  • It depends on the product. We can bleed foil on paper and casemade/turned edge products. We cannot bleed foil off vinyl products.
  • What is a trap?
  • When colors overlap or adjoin, the more opaque color must overlap the less opaque color to allow for movement on printing press equipment. Hence, the more opaque color “traps” the less opaque color. For standard offset printing on paper, a trap of about .03 pt. is required. For screen printing on vinyl, a minimum trap of .9 pt. is required.
  • Do I have to set traps in my electronic file?
  • No, you don’t have to set traps. We will check your files and adjust traps to meet our requirements.
  • What is a “choke and spread”?
  • When a light color is screen printed on a dark base material, white ink can be applied first and then overprinted with a light color. Using this method, we can produce a clean bright color on darker substrates. The white ink is made thinner (choked) and the lighter color is made slightly fatter (spread) to ensure proper registration on press. The finished product will have a slightly darker outline around artwork where lighter ink prints over darker base material. Not all artwork can be printed using this method. All artwork must be approved by our art department prior to production.
  • What is an appliqué and can any artwork be reproduced using this method?
  • An appliqué is a method of applying decoration onto vinyl products. A special die is made by combining a cutting die and a sealing die into the shape of supplied artwork. Using this special die, a piece of vinyl is then heat-sealed onto a base vinyl—sealing the shape of the artwork onto the base vinyl. The excess surrounding vinyl is then removed, leaving the shape of the artwork. Not all artwork can be reproduced using this method due to the nature of the appliqué creation process. For this reason, all artwork must be approved by our art department prior to production.
  • What is the difference between a clear overlay binder and a pictorial binder?
  • Both clear overlay and pictorial binders have a clear piece of vinyl on the outside of the binder. Clear overlay binders have an opening at the top, allowing easy insertion and removal of cover sheets. Pictorial binders are permanently sealed at the top, providing more protection to the cover sheet.
  • What are your guidelines for foil-stamped artwork and type?
  • Very bold type and artwork does not work well with foil stamping due to the nature of the process. Types smaller than 12 point can be problematic—especially bold types. Bold type can run together, preventing small openings in the type from appearing in the finished product. When reverse type is used in foil stamping, the type must be open and bold in order to prevent plugging; roman types should be avoided. Solid areas exceeding 3 square inches should also be avoided because of difficulty getting consistent foil coverage.
  • What are the two types of inks we use?
  • UV (ultraviolet) and conventional.
  • Which ink do you use most often?
  • We use UV inks most often.
  • Which ink is more efficient in production and why?
  • UV inks are more efficient, primarily because they do not dry in the screens. This allows the press to run for a longer period of time between cleanings.
  • What are the major differences in UV and conventional inks?
  • Conventional inks can be dried with heat or allowed to air dry, and are generally more opaque than UV Inks. UV inks will only dry when exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • What type of ink is used for larger production runs?
  • UV inks are typically used for large production runs.
  • Can you use conventional inks for large production runs?
  • Yes, but these requests require a special quote and may be cost-prohibitive due to slow production time.
  • Which ink is used for screen-prints, screen-tints, and halftones?
  • Only UV inks are used for these printing methods. Since UV ink does not dry in the screen, the printing is more consistent and production is more efficient.
  • Can the Ultra-tech (Spider) screening machines run conventional ink?
  • No. Ultra-tech (Spider) screening machines are not equipped with heat dryers; therefore, conventional inks cannot be used.
  • What is considered heavy coverage when screen printing on binders?
  • Heavy coverage is when 50% or more of the binder is covered with ink.
  • What is the maximum number of colors the Ultra-tech screen-printing machine can print at one time?
  • 4
  • Will I see a proof of my artwork prior to production?
  • Yes. Binders.com (VIP/ATC) offers a digital email proof, a paper fax proof, or a full-size laser-printed copy. For 4-color process orders, we provide an actual size color match proof after digital proof is approved. These proofs are provided at no additional cost. We also provide color smears (known as ink draw-downs in the printing industry) at no additional cost.
  • Are there any other proofs available?
  • We offer pre-production proofs that represent actual finished products. These require a special quote.
  • Is it possible to 4-color process print on vinyl and other materials?
  • Yes, it is possible to have photographic style process printing on vinyl and other materials.
  • Will you provide a layout template?
  • Stock product templates are available online in .eps and .pdf format. Additionally, Binders.com (VIP/ATC) will supply templates for custom products.