General Info
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Design Hints
·  What types of images will work ok?
·  Do I need to send you my fonts?
·  How do I convert files to CMYK
·  Will my printed piece look exactly like it does on my computer monitor?
·  Colored Type
·  Can I put text over an image?
·  What are bleeds, and do I need them?
·  What dpi should my pictures be?
·  What is line screen?
·  Not Sure We Can Print From Your File?
What types of images will work ok?
If you are scanning the images yourself from photographs it is better to save them in either TIFF or EPS format. These image formats will preserve the color and sharpness of your pictures the best.

File formats like GIF or JPEG compress the picture's color and pixel resolution and this can cause color shifts and blurring. JPEG and GIF are the most commonly used image types on web pages and are not adequate for offset printing.

You should scan your images using a resolution of 300dpi at the final dimensions you intend to use them. Don't scan at 300dpi and then enlarge the picture in your layout program! Images taken from web pages are generally 72 dpi and using them will result in pixilated (blurry) images.

If you are using pictures from your digital camera we recommend that you bring them into your imaging software and make sure that they are the correct size and pixel resolution. For instance, if your camera puts out a typical image of 1280 x 960 pixels at 72dpi you get about 17" x 13" of photograph (at 72dpi); this is the same amount of detail as an image which is 4" x 3" at 300dpi (just divide the pixels by 300 to arrive at the optimum reproduction size for offset printing, if the size is larger than you need for your job you can safely reduce it, however you cannot make it larger than the reproduction size.
Do I need to send you my fonts?
We recommend that you include all fonts, this will help avoid possible delays due to missing fonts.
How do I convert files to CMYK
Many graphic programs have the capability to convert the layout/images from the RGB color space to the CMYK color space. In order to make sure that the final result meets your expectations it is imperative that you set your graphics program up to work in the CMYK color space whenever possible. Most desktop publishing programs allow you to do this quite easily.

In Adobe Photoshop - open the file go to image - mode - cmyk.

In Adobe Illustrator - Select all - filters - color - convert to cmyk.

Be especially careful to keep backgrounds light if there is black or dark colored text over it, so that the text remains readable. Visit our Design Hints area for more details.
Will my printed piece look exactly like it does on my computer monitor?
Because of wide differences in monitor calibration and the different technologies used, some printed colors may not exactly match the colors on a your specific monitor. Please see our RGB - CMYK Information page for important instructions on getting the results you want.

You will have more control over the appearance of your printed piece if you convert all of the images from RGB to CMYK before sending them to us. When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking. We want you to be happy, so please, take the time to prepare your file properly. We cannot be responsible for sub-par results if you furnish low-res images or RGB images.

If you look at the images below we show a photograph and some color swatches. These images show you the effect of converting files from RGB to CMYK. As you can see the effect on the photograph is hardly noticeable but the color swatch show dramatic shift. So as rule of thumb you should be working in the cmyk color space on all artwork and colored type.

RGB Full Color Image (what you see on screen) CMYK Full Color Image (how it prints)

RGB Balloons CMYK Balloons
RGB Swatches CMYK Swatches

You most likely won't notice this kind of color shift in a color photograph. It is more likely to happen if you pick a very rich, vibrant color for a background or some other element of your layout. It probably won't look bad; it just won't look exactly the same. But it may not be noticeable at all either. In any event it will look spectacular compared to a piece printed on an inkjet printer.
Colored Type
In many cases typography is used as a graphic element such as in headlines and as part of a picture. When type is used in this manner by all means use color. However when type is used as part of a story or paragraph it is generally not a good idea to color it. Small type like that used in a story or paragraph is harder to read when it is in color. As a general rule of thumb if the type is smaller than 12 points it should be printed in black or if the type is in a dark background you might want to reverse (white) it out of the background.
Can I put text over an image?
Be careful about using photographs for backgrounds. If you put text (any color) on top it can be very hard to read. So the secret is to lighten the photograph a lot--more than you may think is necessary. Use a photo editing program like PhotoShop, Paint Shop Pro or Adobe PhotoDeluxe. To screen back the photo, a good rule of thumb is to output the photo at no more than 30% of it’s original density.
What are bleeds, and do I need them?
Bleed is when an image prints off the edge of the paper. In order for us to have the image trim off the edge of the paper we must start with an image that is slightly larger that the finished trim size. The easiest way to make sure we have enough image is to make the picture overlay the document by 1/8" wherever it is going to bleed. For example let’s say you are creating artwork for a 4x6 post card and that you have a picture that is going to bleed all 4 sides. You would create you document at 4 x 6 inches, then you would import your picture but instead of placing exactly within the 4 x 6 document you would make the picture 4.25 x 6.25 and place it so that it extended 1/8th of an inch beyond the documents edge on all 4 sides, this would give us enough room to bleed your post card.
What dpi should my pictures be?
DPI (dots per inch) is a description of how large a picture can be reproduced without it becoming pixelated (jagged). The thing to remember is that in order to print your pictures at the highest quality you need to supply them to us at 300 dpi. If they are smaller than that they may pixelate and if they are larger than that you are wasting disk space and causing slow uploads and down loads. also remember that if you enlarge a 300 dpi image say from 1" to 2" you have changed the dpi from 300 to 150. It is generally ok to reduce an image but not enlarge it.
What is line screen?
Line screen is directly related to how fine the dots in the image will appear. Take a color picture in a magazine and look at it under a magnifying glass you will see tiny dots of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink (CMYK). The line screen determines how small these dots are the more lines per inch the smaller the dots and finer the detail in the printed piece. If you look at a newspaper picture you will see that the dots are much bigger than the dots in the magazine, this is because most newspapers are printed at 85 lines per inch while most magazines are printed at between 150 and 200 lines per inch. The best way to think about it is that lines per inch translates directly to dots per inch. We at Layton Printing suggest that a minimum of 150 lines per inch be used. If no line screen is specified we make all our images at 175 line per inch. As a general rule the image should be twice the dpi as the line screen it will be printed. In other words an image that will be printed at 150 lines per inch should be scanned and saved at 300 dpi at the size it will be reproduced.
Not Sure We Can Print From Your File?
If you are not sure that your file will work, you can send it to us and we will examine it to see if there are any major flaws that would prevent us from printing your job.