How can I be sure that my file is print-ready?
If you're not sure that your file will work, just send it to us and we'll look it over. If we discover anything that will keep us from producing the printed piece you want, we'll let you know. Please remember, we will only look for print-specific problems in your file. We will not make design suggestions, check your spelling or correct your grammar.
What types of file formats are acceptable?
Reports suggest that 78% of files sent to printers are not ready to go to print without some kind of tweaking. To eliminate this tweaking and ensure quality and fast delivery, the best way to send files is in PDF, EPS, JPG or TIFF format. When these file formats are used correctly there is no need to upload images or fonts, and the upload is generally much smaller, resulting in reduced upload times. See the information provided for saving files in specific applications.
What software is supported? What isn't?
If you must send a native application file—one that hasn't been saved in PDF, EPS, JPG or TIFF format—we support current versions of the following software on either Macintosh or Windows platforms: Macromedia FreeHand, Adobe Illustrator, Quark, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop. Native application files must be accompanied by all the fonts and links used in the document. We do not recommend embedding images because it greatly increases the file size of the document and prevents us from making any necessary changes or updates to the image.
We're sorry, but we do not currently support desktop applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher or Microsoft Word in their native formats. Please save or export your files from these applications to PDF format.
What types of images should I use?
Please save all bitmap images (such as those from Photoshop) in either TIFF or EPS format, if you are using them in a page layout program. If the image IS your printed piece, submit it in TIFF, EPS or JPG format at maximum resolution and size. We cannot print GIF, PICT, DCS, PNG, CDS, etc. formats. Be careful when applying compression to your images—some types of compression will make your images unusable.
What is meant by "image resolution" and what is best for my print job?
Digital images are made up of small dots that combine to form the overall picture. The number of dots making up an image is known as its resolution. Resolution is stated in dots-per-inch or dpi. A typical website image has a resolution of 72 dpi. Images with a resolution of less than 250 dpi will not reproduce well on press, resulting in images that are fuzzy, choppy or grainy. Likewise, a resolution in excess of 300 dpi will not noticeably improve the quality of the image but will definitely increase the size of the file. The optimum resolution for printed images is 300 dpi.
It is important to set the image's resolution to 300 dpi at the final image size of your printed piece. If you enlarge an image, you lower the resolution since the number of dots remains constant and the size increases. We do not recommend enlarging an image in your layout program more than 125% or reducing more than 30%.
Will my printed piece look exactly like it does on my computer monitor?
What you see on your monitor is determined by a number of things: the quality of your monitor, the age of your monitor, your monitor's calibration, etc. In short, what you see on your monitor is not necessarily what you will see in print. We suggest that once you like the way your image looks on your monitor, that you lighten it slightly, especially in the midtones. These are the colors most likely to darken slightly when printed.
Most applications give you the option to work in either CMYK or RGB color mode. Working in RGB mode is acceptable, but your images must be converted to CMYK before you submit them to us. There are a greater number of colors possible when red, green and blue (RGB) light is combined than when cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) inks are combined. Therefore, your image may look different after conversion from RGB to CMYK. We urge you to do the conversion before submitting the file. If we do the conversion, we cannot be responsible if the results are unsatisfactory.
Do I need to send fonts with my print job?
Whenever possible, convert all text/type in your documents to paths or outlines. This eliminates the need to send fonts with your files. Most page layout software can easily do this conversion. Note: once the text is converted to paths, it cannot no longer be edited.
If you are sending files in their native application format and do not convert the text to paths or outlines, you must include each font that you have used in your project.
What are bleeds?
In printing parlance, a bleed is a piece that is printed right to the edge of the paper. We don't really print to the edge—we print the piece .25" larger and then trim it down to the finished size.
If you want your piece printed right to the edge, be sure to design it from the beginning with an extra .25" beyond the finished dimensions. For instance, if your finished piece is 8.5" by 11", layout your document with a size of 8.75" by 11.25". After printing, we'll trim .125" from all sides.
Can I use colored text?
It's best not to colorize small text. All printing presses have a little bit of variance in the positioning of the various color plates. This is called misregistration, which simply means that the cyan, magenta, yellow and black portions of the text characters don't line up exactly. The result is small colored shadows around the characters. Colored text on large headline type suffers less from misregistration. In fact, misregistration is hardly noticeable down to about a point size of 12. Below that, it becomes very obvious.
The same thing holds for reverse text—white text on a black or colored background. Misregistration is a noticeable problem on point sizes smaller than 12.
What is the difference between RGB and CMYK colors?
There are two basic color "spaces" used in graphics and printing: RGB and CMYK.
RGB is a shorthand notation for Red-Green-Blue, the individual colors that comprise the space. Scanners, monitors and digital cameras use a combination of red, green and blue light to display and create your images. The combination of red, green and blue light creates more visible colors than the combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
Of course, CMYK stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, the other basic color space. Printing presses, color copiers and inkjet printers use these four ink colors to create your images. This is also known as 4-color printing, the method by which most magazines and other colored materials are printed.
Why shouldn't I use the font style settings—bold, italic, etc.—in my software program?
Selecting a font style—bold, italic, underline, shadow—from your application's font palette will give you a nice result when viewing your project on a monitor and will probably look great when it comes out of your desktop printer. Unfortunately, those font styles will not print correctly on a high-resolution press.
Most mainstream fonts will include fonts specifically drawn to a bold or oblique style. For instance, the GillSans font family includes GillSans, GillSans Condensed, GillSans ExtraBold and GillSans Light. Using an italic or bold font rather than a font style will ensure the proper output on our devices.
What are the ways that I can deliver my project to Century Press?
Depending on the size of your file, you can deliver it on 3.5" floppy, Zip Disk or CD-ROM. Of course, you can also send it electronically without leaving your desk. Click here to be taken to the File Submission page.
Is it necessary to include a printed proof with my project?
Including a printed proof with your file is always a good idea. It allows us to answer most of the questions we have about a partcular job without bothering you. Especially if your project is to be folded or collated, a proof can show us how to proceed.