FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does digital printing compare to offset?

If you haven’t seen the quality of today’s digital presses, get ready for a big surprise. Digital printing is not just “as good” as traditional offset, in many ways it is far superior. The resolution is superb, the colors are vivid, and the ink longevity is vastly improved. Sure, offset printing still has its place, but for many commercial applications, digital is the clear choice.

Some online prices are really cheap. Why shouldn’t I use them?

If lowest possible price is your only priority, then there are several online options that will be fine. That said, there are many reasons our clients choose us. Here are the 4 reasons we believe might matter to you:

1.   Online printers require you to conform to their size, quantity and paper specifications. They either can’t handle exceptions or they hit you with substantial upcharges.

2.   Online printers take whatever you provide and print it. Sometimes it looks good, sometimes not so much. Their low prices are based on high volume turnover. They simply do not have the time to work with you to ensure your printed piece looks great.

3.   A lot of people find the online process impersonal and confusing. With Spectrum you get a dedicated expert who understands your overall needs, and manages the project from start to finish. That expert may even suggest ways your designer hasn’t considered to make your piece even more fantastic. That won’t happen online.

4.   While we may not be the very cheapest, our prices are very, very competitive. Our clients feel the minor price difference is worth the added quality and reliability.

Is there a minimum? What if I only need a few hundred brochures?

Small runs are a specialty. Thanks to digital technology, there are no film negatives, color plates, or make-ready charges. That’s why it’s affordable to print as few as you actually need. Now we don’t encourage printing a dozen business cards, but recently an economic planner consultant did ask us to print a couple dozen 60-page, double-sided, spiral-bound reports with a gloss varnish cover. It looked far better and cost far less than if she went to Staples.

What is the least expensive way to do direct mail?

Complicated question; not only does the post office has numerous ways to process and charge for direct mail, but these ways frequently change. For instance, we’ve learned that we can save you thousands of dollars simply by driving the printed sorted pieces across a state line to bring them to a local post office. It’s a good example of how we go the extra mile for our clients. Literally.

I need a brochure designed; do you guys do that?

Two good answers: First we have a very talented experienced graphic designer on staff, so yes, we can handle your brochure needs from start to finish. In addition, many of our clients are also excellent freelance graphic designers. If you prefer, we can give you their contact information and you can work with them. We’re confident they’ll do a great job as well.

Does Spectrum archive my files? For how long?

Yes, we keep duplicate files for at least 5 years from last printing. We can archive your files longer if you request it.

What is a typical time frame?

That depends on the project; how many are needed, and if there is any special bindery or finishing effects. For most projects we can deliver in less than a week. If you are in a pinch we can deliver in a couple days, and if you are in a panic we can be crazy fast.

Are recycled papers good to print on?

Actually the quality of recycled papers are better than ever. While the cost of paper in general has been going up, the cost difference between regular and recycled papers has actually been getting smaller. There are a lot to choose, coated and uncoated. Let us know if you are interested and we can show you many good environmentally sensitive choices.

How long does it take for Spectrum to design and print a brochure?

Much depends on you. If you have an outline in hand, and if art (product, or stock photography) is readily available, then turnaround including copywriting, design, approvals and printing can be under 20 days. If you don’t have an outline, or if artwork needs to be created from scratch, it can add a few weeks or more to the overall project timeline.

Will Variable Data add cost to a print job?

Very little. There is a set up charge of $40 per data field. That’s about it.

What kind of proof will I get?

For most jobs our digital proofs are all that are needed to make sure everything is as you want. But if you want to see exactly how certain images and colors will print, we’ll run an exact-match paper proofs using the actual press on the actual stock. It only costs about $40, but you’ll get to hold in your hands EXACTLY what the final pieces will look like. We recommend this when using new art for the first time, or when clients and designers are not able to meet in person.

What is the largest sheet size your digital press can print?

The largest sheet is 13” x 19” so the largest printable area (allowing for bleed) is 12” x 18”. When larger sizes are needed we will print on offset presses.

At what quantity will offset deliver a lower cost per piece than digital printing?

This depends on the particulars of your job, such as number of pages and page size. That said, for any job of 5000 units or less we typically suggest using a digital press. For larger quantities we compare digital to offset to determine the lowest cost.

Can digital presses print PMS colors?

The quality of matching Pantone colors on digital presses has never been better, but for some more difficult colors (some oranges, purples and reds), or if you have a corporate color that needs a pure Pantone ink, we’ll use offset presses.

How large a poster can you print?

Currently our large format 9-color printer can print up to 53” wide by whatever length you need. The stock (vinyl, canvas, or paper) comes on rolls, so we can literally print 25, 50, 100 feet or longer. BTW: Vinyl materials come with an adhesive backing that we frequently mount on a rigid surface, or you can have mounted exhibition-style directly on a wall. Either material will produce an awesome image quality – ideal for retail, trade shows, etc

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