PRODUCTION

5-7 business days from proof approval. You can select a quicker turn around time (2-4 business days, next day, same day production) for an extra charge. Keep in mind that this time does not include shipping time. Business days are Monday thru Friday. Saturday and Sunday do not count as production or shipping days.

10AM on the day of the order. If your artwork is not camera ready your order will be delayed. Production times are in business days, i.e. Monday thru Friday. We guarentee turnaround times ONLY on camera ready files that have been created using our templates.

SHIPPING

Due to varying production schedules and multiple production facilities, we cannot determine the location where your job will be produced once your order is placed. It is therefore necessary to charge shipping and handling on all orders that are processed through our website. All online orders are drop-shipped to the shipping address on the order by default. If it is more convenient for you to pickup your job at our facility, there will still be a shipping and handling charge to cover packaging expenses. The only exception to this rule is SAME DAY production. Shipping may be waived on SAME DAY orders if they are  being produced in the plant they are picked up from.

We do not ship to P.O. Boxes.

We calculate estimated delivery date as total production days + total shipping days = estimated delivery date. Note : Weekends and  Holiday are not included. Ground may be +1 day. Rural Areas may be +1 day. Only Next Day & Second Day are guaranteed by shipping company.

ORDERING

After you fill out all the details, you'll receive a quotation where you can review all the information concercing your order. If everything is correct, click the Approve Quote button so you can add it to your cart.

In case you want to review the quotation at a later time, you can log in to your online account and click the View button in the quote you'd like to review.

If everything's correct, you can then click the Order button.

Please note that quotations are only valid up to 30 days.

DESIGN

- Safe Zone: All critical elements (text, images, graphic elements, logos) must be kept inside the blue box.

- Trimming Zone: Please allow 0.125 in cutting tolerance around your work.

- Bleed Zone: Make sure to extend the background images or colors all the way to the edge of the black outline (0.125 in).

 

When the artwork extends all the way past the trim line to the edge of the card, that's called bleed.

 

The space within the blue line is called the safety space and that's where all the important information and elements should be to keep them from being cut off.

 

- Incorrect: The background colors do not extend to the bleed zone. This could result in white edges after trimming.

 

- Incorrect: The text and logo are outside the safe zone. This could result in them being cut off.

 

- Correct: The background colors are extended to the bleed zone and all the important information is within the safe zone.

1. Go to http://www.printdirtcheap.com/ and select the project you need to work on in the Categories sidebar. 

2. Download the project template in AI format. 

3. Open the file in Adobe Illustrator and follow the guides, create your artwork in the Place your artwork here layer, make sure that any artwork and details you don't want to get cut-off should stay inside the blue line (safe zone). 

 

 

4. Delete the Template Layer when done with the Artwork. 

 

 

To Save a Print-Ready PDF 

1. To save or export an Adobe Illustrator file to PDF, go to file - Save as, change the Save as type: to PDF. Click Save.

 

 

2. Leave everything at default, click Save PDF. 

 

1. Go to http://www.printdirtcheap.com/ and select the project you need to work on in the Categories sidebar. 

2. Download the project template in psd format. 

3. Open the psd file in Adobe Photoshop and follow the guides, create your artwork in the Place your artwork here layer, make sure that any artwork and details you don't want to get cut-off should stay inside the blue line (safe zone). 

 

4. Delete the Template Layer when done with the Artwork. 

 

 

To Save a Print-Ready PDF 

To save or export a psd file to PDF, go to file - Save as, change the Save as type: to Photoshop PDF. Click Save. 

 

When printing double sided products, like business cards, we do what it's called head-to-head where the top of both sides is alligned.

If you send us your files this way, the backside is going to be printed upside down.

 

This way both sides will be printed upright.

 

 

When you send us one side vertical, we rotate it 90° to the left, so make sure it's facing the right way otherwise, it will print upside down.

 

 

If you design your product vertically, you can send it to us that way and we'll make sure to flip it correctly before printing.

 

 

However, if you choose to flip it by yourself before sending it, please make sure to flip them as the next image shows to assure both faces are printed in the right way.

 

 

You should send us your files in CMYK mode since it's the mode used for color printing. If you send us a RGB file, there'll be a color shift when it's converted to CMYK and the printed work is going to look different to the one you sent.

The reason this color shift occurs, is because the RGB color scheme has a greater range of colors than CMYK, allowing it to produce more vibrant colors. Printing colors produced in RGB mode will come out darker and duller than they seem on the monitor. However, because of the greater range of colors RGB mode has, files shown in CMYK mode will always show up accurately on screen.

 

     

 

Here are some examples of how the convertion from RGB to CMYK can affect your images.

 

 

 

To get a better representation of how your final print will look, choose CMYK when creating a new file. Keep in mind, however, that an uncalibrated monitor may not match the finished print.

 

 How to convert to CMYK in Photoshop from RGB

 

 

You can also check if the file you're working with is in CMYK or RGB mode in the tab at the top-left corner of the screen.

 

Here's how you can change your file mode from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop, simply by going to Image > Mode > CMYK color.

 

 

How to convert in Microsoft Publisher

In Publisher you can go to File > Info > Commercial Print Settings > Choose Color Model > Process Colors (CMYK).

 

 

 

You can also change the color model in the Colors selection window.

 

 

 How to convert in PowerPoint

You can't. Note that colors will shift if you use PowerPoint, Word, etc. to make your design.

There's a reason not to design for print in RGB. The range of colors that can be reproduced in CMYK mode is considerably smaller than the RGB range of colors reproducible on a standard monitor, so when the file it's converted to CMYK for printing, the colors will shift and lose vividness.

For example, most bright blues in RGB will turn purple when converted to CMYK because they're outside the range of CMYK colors.

Rather than trying to match that same bright blue, here are some blue mixes that you could use instead.

 

One way to avoid this color shift is not to use colors that show the gamut warning in the color picker since that means that the color is out of the CMYK range and will shift when it prints. If you click the warning icon, Photoshop will choose the closest achievable CMYK color.

 

 

Blue and purple are really close in the CMYK spectrum, so if you want to avoid your blue turning into purple always use a low amount of magenta and a high amount of cyan, make sure to leave at minimun of 25% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values.

How to make sure you're working in CMYK

When creating a new file, make sure the Color Mode is set to CMYK.

 

 

You can also check if the file you're working with is in CMYK or RGB mode in the tab at the top-left corner of the screen.

 

 

If the file is in RGB mode, you can easily change it to CMYK by going to Image > Mode > CMYK color.

 

Don't use low res!

Resolution, displayed as dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch), indicates the number of colored dots or pixels that make up one image. The higher the resolution, the clearer and better the resulting print will be.

All files and images must have a minimun of 300 dpi resolution in order to have a clear and high-quality prints.

 

 

Most images taken from the web are going to be low res at 72 dpi, we can’t turn a low res image to high res, so you have to make sure the image is bigger than the file you’re working with. Here’s how to do it:

1. Do a Google Image search, click the Search Tools button and then Size drop menu.

 

 

2. Here you can choose the size of the image results pixelwise, Large should work most of the times. Keep in mind, the bigger the image, the best it will look on the final print.

When you open the image on your browser, make sure that it covers the whole window, if it appears small then it's not suited for printing.

 

        

 

3. A formula you can use is multiplying your file size by 300. For example, if you want to cover a 3.5 x 2 business card, then your image should be at least: (3.5 x 300) x (2 x 300) = 1050 x 600 px large.

4. You can check an image’s dimensions on your computer by right clicking and choosing Properties on Windows or Get Info on Mac.

 

 

 

 

Other ways to get hi res images

- Take a photo with your camera or phone, make sure to set it at the highest resolution possible.

 

 

-Buy it from a stock image site. We recommend depositphotos.com

 

 

How to tell if I'm using low res in Photoshop

In Photoshop go to the Image > Image Size.

 

 

A window will pop up where you can check your image’s resolution.

 

 

72 dpi is good for web, but not for printing. 300 dpi is the minimun required to have 
high-quality prints.

To speed the printing process we use a machine like this to cut many sheets at the same time. During the process the sheets may shift so it's very common that any border designed too close to the cutting line will look uneven in the printed product.

 

.   

Because of this, we highly recommend that you don't design with borders and if you do, make sure they are at least 1/4" inside the trim zone or 3/8" inside the bleed zone. However, we still  can't assure the borders will be even. For example:

 

   

Incorrect: Here the border is at less than 1/4" inside from the trim zone or at  3/8" inside from the bleed zone.

Correct: Here is what your file, incluiding the bleed should look like for the best results. The border is at least 1/4" inside from the trim zone or at least 3/8" inside from the bleed zone.

Thin borders may look uneven. The thicker the border, the better it will look.

 

    

 

Our cutting tolerance is 1/32 of an inch at either side for a total visual effect of 1/6.

 

If we cut business cards one at a time, our name would not be PrintDirtCheap

 

 

Here's a video showing how this problem occurs:

Why are borders sometimes uneven on printed jobs? from PrintDirtCheap.com on Vimeo.

There are two types of black used in printing: standard black and rich black.

The standard black doesn't produce a really deep black. If used in larger surfaces, they look a bit grayish. Professional designers mix another printing inks with the black ink to get what is called rich or deep black. We recommend a mixture of C=60 M=40 Y=40 K=100 (240% ink Coverage).

 

 

We avoid using Photoshop's black value (C=75 M=68 Y=67 K=90) since it goes above the maximun ink coverage of 240% resulting in a muddy looking black when printed.

 

 

When to use them

Standard black should be used for text and small areas to avoid overlapping colors. Rich black should be used for larger areas to get a darker black color.

 

We absolutely have the ability to keep artwork on file so that you do not have to constantly resubmit.

If you need graphic design, our minimum charge is $35 for any changes needed. If you want to send the files over and let us know what you need changed, I'd be happy to get you a quote. It's likely we will be able to edit/change the file if it is in its original format (photoshop, etc.)

Be very careful when creating blues for print. The range of colors that can be reproduced in CMYK mode is considerably smaller than the RGB range of colors reproducible on a standard monitor, so when the file it rendered to CMYK for printing, the colors may shift and lose vividness.

If we feel that your file may turn purple and you are looking for blue, we may ask you to correct the color and this may also delay your job. We want to make sure that you get your desired outcome. Since color is so subjective we may not always catch this issue, so please, when in doubt, follow the below guidelines.

For example, most bright blues in RGB (RGB is displayed on your monitor) will turn purple when converted to CMYK because they're outside the range of CMYK colors.

Rather than trying to match that same bright blue, here are some blue mixes that you could use instead. Remeber, you want to create your files in CMYK, not RGB.

 

One way to avoid this color shift is not to use colors that show the gamut warning in the color picker since that means that the color is out of the CMYK range and will shift when it prints. If you click the warning icon, Photoshop will choose the closest achievable CMYK color.

 

 

Blue and purple are really close in the CMYK spectrum, so if you want to avoid your blue turning into purple always use a low amount of magenta and a high amount of cyan, make sure to leave at minimun of 25% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. 

 

When we print products, the colors often don’t match the exact colors shown on the screen. This shift is due to many different reasons that are out of our control.

Color Mode: We use CMYK inks for printing, so if your design is in RGB mode, the colors will shift. For more information about color modes and how they affect your design, click here.

 

 

Unknown Colors: When uploading an image taken from your camera or scanner, some colors may not be properly identified.

Other factors:

Gang Run Printing

Unless stated otherwise, we use a process called Gang Run Printing in which we combine multiple jobs to print on the same sheet. This process helps to significantly reduce prices by dividing the production costs across several jobs. The downside is that by going from product to product, the colors may shift depending on the designs next to it.

 

Papers and Inks

Over time, the brand of paper and of inks we use may change. So if you print a product with us and months later you ask for a reprint, the change of brands can cause a slight shift in colors. Other factors affecting this, are the humidity in the air and the temperature which can affect they way the inks dry and how they look after.

 

 

Color is in the eye of the beholder

Everyone perceives colors in a different way and adding to that; there’s a large percentage of people with some color-perceiving condition, this means that even if the colors stay the same or change in just the slightest, you may see them different than someone else does.

Tips for a more accurate color matching

  • Make sure your design is in CMYK mode.
  • You could ask for your product to be printed on its own sheet of paper, although that comes with an increased price since you’re not sharing the production costs with other people.
  • Use the Pantone Color Matching System, which is a standardized catalog of colors that you can achieve using CMYK which you can find easily on the internet.

Here in PDC, we care about your satisfaction, and we will do our absolute best to bring you the most accurate colors possible.

 

 

With the use of transparencies in your design, you can create a lot of unique effects that look great on screen, but sometimes, they cause trouble when printed. These kind of problems are mainly present in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, so don’t worry if you’re using Photoshop.

What are transparencies?

Transparencies are images or text that are "see through" or that show what’s behind them, but the name also applies to certain effects like shadows and glows.

Transparencies include:

  • Transparency or partial opacity
    • Lightening parts of images
    • Making an object fade into another
    • Mix colors
  • Drop shadows
  • Glows
  • Feathering an image
  • Placing files or objects which already contain transparency from another Adobe program.

 

 

To avoid any issues its best to flatten any element that uses effects like this. Also, please don't use transparency with spot colors, they will have unexpected results. Always convert spot colors to process for four color printing. Additionally, it may help to have a solid white box on your canvas as the bottom most layer. This "white box method" is not a standard fix, but we have seen it solve some issues with transparencies.

 

     

 

Thank you for understanding that if you fail to follow these guidelines and have an unexpected result, we cannot be responsible for the outcome.

Here’s how transparencies look on screen

 

 

And this is how they look in printing when you don’t flatten or rasterize them.

 

There are different ways in which Pantone colors affect how your job prints.

The first is using Pantone (PMS) colors in a job that is printing in a full-color process. Many Pantone colors do not have an exact process color match; this will cause the color to shift when the software converts it from PMS to CMYK. It is best to use a Pantone Color Bridge and create your colors according to the Bridge Color that best matches your desired outcome. Below are some examples of color shift when converting from Pantone to CMYK.

 


You may purchase a Pantone Color Bridge here.

If your job must print in a PMS color, we do have the capability to print in PMS, just keep in mind that it will more than likely increase the cost of the job over CMYK by 50% to 100% or more. You may request a quote here.

The second way Pantone colors can affect the way your file looks is by using images with transparency. This means using effects like drop shadows and glows on top of the Pantone colors.

Here’s how they look on screen

 

 

 

And here is how it will look on printing

 

Here is what an image with transparency looks like on screen

 

 

Here is how it will look like printed

 

 

So make sure to convert all your Pantone colors to CMYK before saving and fixing all the color changes that may occur. You could also flatten any image or object that has an effect or transparency to avoid these issues.

Bi-Fold Brochures

   

Bi-fold brochures are one of the most popular types of brochure you can find. These are made out from one sheet of paper folded in half. This folding forms 4 panels: a front cover, a back cover and two internal pages. There are also catalogs and multi-page brochures that are made by stacking multiple sheets of paper and then folding them. The folding line can run along the shortest side of the sheet or the longest.

 

Tri-Fold Brochures 

A very popular type of brochure, trifold brochures are made by folding a sheet of paper two times. To fold it, looking at the inside, you fold the right panel inwards and then fold the left panel so that it sits on top of the right panel. This type of brochure has 6 panels, 3 inside panels, and 3 outside panels, that are almost the same size (one of the panels is slightly shorter so it can be folded inside the other two without overlapping).

 

Roll-Fold Brochures

Roll fold brochures are made of a sheet of paper with three fold lines that make four panels on each side. Roll fold brochures have two large panels of the same size, followed by a smaller one and then an even smaller one. You start by folding the smaller panel inwards and continue in that direction.

 

Z-Fold Brochures

Also called fan fold or zig-zag fold, the z-fold brochure is similar to the trifold in which both of them are made by folding a sheet of paper three times, resulting in 3 outside panels and 3 inside panels. What makes them different, is that in the z-fold, one panel is folded inwards and the other one outward, in the shape of the letter Z. Since the panels don’t fold into one another, they’re all the same width.

 

Double-Parallel-Fold Brochures

A double parallel brochure has three parallel folds that make for eight panels (4 on each side of the sheet of paper). In this type of brochure, the sheet of paper is folded in half and then folded in half again so that one-half of the sheet is inside the other half. This makes the panels of the inside half to be smaller

 

French-Fold Brochures

French Fold brochures have 2 perpendicular fold lines in the form of a cross, reason why they’re also called right angle fold. Following this folds, the sheet of paper is first folded in half horizontally and then vertically. This brochure has 4 panels on each side.

 

Gate-Fold Brochures

The gatefold is a type of brochure folding that has two parallel folds to create six panels, three outside panels, and three inside panels. The side panels are roughly half the width of the center panel and fold inward without overlapping. This type of brochure is not that common, which is why they can make a great impact.

 

Double-Gate-Fold Brochures

Double gatefold brochures are very similar to gatefolds, except that they are folded one more time along a central crease. This achieves a narrower size. The central fold makes it, so it has now 8 panels (4 inside and 4 outside), dividing the large central panel in 2.

 

Half-Fold Then Tri-Fold Brochures

This type of folding has a central horizontal fold line and two vertical fold lines, which divide the paper into 6 panels, front and back. This brochure folds in half horizontally and then folds like a tri-fold brochure.

A font is a set of text characters in a specific style. Is recommended to make your fonts around 8-12 pt so they can be easy to read.

 

 

A problem that occurs very often when the fonts aren't embeded in the document, is that the style you chose for your designs gets substituted by a default one or rasterized, making it look pixelated. This happens if the computer where your file is opened doesn’t have the exact font you used.

 

 

 

From time to time, any type of font can have a problem. To 100% avoid substitution or raster in your fonts, the least you can do is embed the fonts to your file, but we recommend to outline your text (Illustrator) or flatten the image (Photoshop).

 

 

Illustrator

Go to Type>Create Outlines

 

Photoshop

Layer Options>Flatten image

 


Keep in mind that after outlining your text, you will no longer be able to edit what it says, so you should keep a backup file that you can edit in case you need to make some changes later on.

PUBLISHER

 

If you’re creating your files in Publisher, make sure to save it in PDF so that we can open your files for printing.

 

1. Go to File > Export > Create PDF/XPS Document

 

 

2. Type the name of your file

 

3. For Save as type, choose PDF

 

4. Click Options and for the publish option choose either High Quality Printing or Commercial Press, to make sure you’re sending us the best quality file possible

 

 

5. Click Ok and then Publish.

 

 

WORD

If you’re using Microsoft Word the steps are pretty much the same.

 

1. Go to the File tab

 

 

2. Click Save as

 

 

3. In Save as type choose PDF and type your file name

 

 

4. Choose the location and click Save

PRELIMINARIES

Online Printing System is a prepress process that bridges the gap between online digital content and commercial print production. The process allows a print house, a client or a graphic designer to create, edit, and approve computer-based online templates during the prepress phase. This process increasingly calls for a Portable Document Format (PDF) workflow environment with output provided by digital printing.

This solution will make your company run more efficiently and profitably by streamlining your business processes, maximizing your resources and eliminating redundant operations.

PRODUCTS

Spot UV is when only a part of the card is super shiny. For example, if you have an image of an apple that you want to "pop" we can UV just the apple and the rest of the card remains matte. Spot UV requires a third file showing in black only the area for UV.

The site currently supports eight major and popular print products as listed. We are shortly going to introduce more products like logos/mailing labels, vinyl stickers, catalogs, banners, calendars, door hangers and raised ink cards.

There are three options for designing and customizing a product. Click a product on the left-hand panel and choose one of the options.

1. Custom Design: lets you customize the products. Click it to open the design studio and use multiple tools to create your own design.

2. Upload Design: using this option, you can upload your own JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, EPS, AI, PDF and PSD images.

3. Browse Design: use this to select hundreds of pre-loaded templates. Work on them or customize them through our design studio.

The type of paper used for difference purposes is expressed in weight. In the countries following the European system, it is grammes per square metre (gsm or g/m2 or simply g) and in the US system it is Pound (lb).

The paper used for writing/printing (letterheads and such stationery) is generally between 60 to 120 gsm (20 to 70 lb) and is called the paper or text stock. Anything heavier than this is considered the card stock, i.e. the paper used for business cards, postcards, greeting cards, etc.

Coated papers are available in two finishes – glossy (shiny and smooth) and matt (flat and lusterless). Coated glossy papers reflect the light evenly so they are suitable for almost all types of printing jobs. Glossy papers have a good ink holdout, which is important for creating sharp, bright images.

PRINTING

Our system supports RGB (red, green, blue) for producing digital prints. We have accurately mapped color pallet to match RGB to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key) to ensure proper 4-color printing.

300 dpi (dots per inch) is the resolution of the output PDF file.

We use offset printing, which provides the highest quality of print material for both text and images.

Yes we do! If you see the "Made in the USA" logo, IT IS!! Due to a lack of US suppliers, some of our materials and ad specialty products are sourced from outside the US.

PRICING

No, the price list indicates basic prices of products against the speculative quantities. The prices are calculated with regard to the most basic paper/card types, sizes and single side printing. As you know, the final printing cost depends on many parameters: paper/card weights or thickness (GSM/Pt), glossy or matt finish, 2 or 4 colors, square or rounded corners, single or double side printing, quantity, destination shipping charges and the mode of transport. Please use the indicative prices for calculating the basic cost. Once you place the order using the above parameters, we will quickly mail you the final, exact cost.

For the design of the card itself, there will be a one-time $45-$90 graphic design charge. We require payment for this before design is started, but guarantee satisfaction on the design. If it is not to your satisfaction, we will make adjustments until it is. For every set of business cards with a new name and picture, there is a one-time $15 typesetting charge. The typesetting charge covers any typesetting, proofing, correction and reproofing required. For example,the first order of 500 business cards will cost $19.49 plus a $15 one-time typesetting charge with a total of $34.49. The following reorder of the cards will be $19.49 flat because the business card file will have been saved and print-ready. You are paying for this service, so the design belongs to you once we create it. You can always use your design for future orders placed through PrintDirtCheap.com.