FAQs & File Prep Tips

What is the best way to send a file?
PDF files are Red Dog’s preferred file format.

  • When sending files please submit as high resolution print-ready PDF files.
  • All images should be CMYK and at least 300 dpi, more if an image includes tiny text.
  • If your artwork has bleeds add .125” to all sides.
  • Combine multipage documents into one PDF file as single one-up pages.

How to create a PDF from Adobe applications.

  • InDesign Select File > Export
  • Illustrator/Photoshop Select File > Save A Copy
  • Select PDF as the format.
  • Set “Adobe PDF Preset” to Press Quality.
  • Set “Compatibility” to Acrobat 6 (PDF 1.5).
  • In the “Marks and Bleeds” section, set “Bleeds” to .125 inch on all sides.
  • In the “Output” section set “Color Conversion” to No Conversion.
  • Click Save PDF
  • Your file is now print-ready and may be uploaded.

How do I upload my artwork?
You can upload your PDF file here.

Designing Tips for Letterpress
Because there are always exceptions to the rules, we review all artwork prior to platemaking.

  • Lines: Line weight should be a rule of .25 point or greater. Anything less than that and you run the risk of the line breaking on the plate.
  • Type: Letterpress excels at printing type and handles most typefaces very well. Still, if you want crisp results use a font size of 6 point or larger. Reverse type needs a font size of 12 point or larger. If your reverse type is too small, they can clog up on a letterpress. You may want to consider adding a small stroke to the reverse type to compensate for letterpress ink gain.
  • Color: Letterpress printing traditionally uses 1 or 2 spot colors. Unless you have a pretty lavish piece (and budget) one or two colors is ideal when printing letterpress.
  • Screens: The letterpress process is meant to print inks at 100%. If you’d like to incorporate a lighter tint, use a second lighter ink color instead of a screen.
  • Large Solids: For uniform results, keep your solid areas to less than 1 inch. With letterpress, the paper tends to show through large solids, creating a slightly textured look that’s almost suede-like. You’ll also notice the depth of impression may appear less noticeable on larger letterpress solids.
  • Light ink on dark paper: Dark ink on light paper is letterpress printing’s strength. Printing light ink on dark paper will be like using a thin coat of white paint on a black wall: you’ll see the black color through the paint (think chalkboard for the final look). If using a pure white ink or metallic ink, we can run a piece through the press twice, at an additional cost, to create a denser color.
  • Double-sided: If something is two-sided, let us know which side of your project will be the feature side, and then we will go with a lighter impression on the reverse side. The impression will show through to the other side of the sheet a bit, so it is recommended to move your job to a double thick cover weight paper or have a custom duplex made after the job is printed, if your piece (and budget) is well-suited for that.

How long will it take to get my quote and order?
Quotes take about 1 business day. After you place your order, we order your paper and you will receive a PDF proof the next business day. Offset jobs take 3-5 days after you approve your proof. Digital jobs take less time. Letterpress jobs usually take 7-10 days. Let us know if you are on a tight timeframe and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

What is a PDF proof?
A PDF proof is a digital proof that has been through our preflight process. We carefully look over your files, searching for potential issues with color, image resolution, folding, or anything else that could cause trouble later on. If we see anything we’re worried about, we’ll let you know when we send the PDF proof. Digital proofs are a great way to catch small mistakes before they become big, expensive ones. This is where you want to do your final proof reading and content checks.

What are my proofing options?
First you will receive a proof in PDF format via email. In order to review the proof, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available here. If your work is 4-color process, your proof will be color correct. Once we receive your signed final approval, we go into production. You are welcome to Press Check your job or see a first-off for digital printing. For more details about proofing options go here.

What is a Bleed?
Bleed refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. Often the paper is trimmed after printing to ensure that the ink runs fully to the edge and does not stop short of it.

What Resolution should I scan my images at?
Images should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the size they will print. The human eye cannot detect more than 300 dots of color per inch so printing at 300 dpi will produce crisp, clear images. If you intend to enlarge your image by 200% for printing, you should scan at 600 dpi. This way the effective resolution of the enlarged image is still 300 dpi when printed. If you want your image to print at exactly the same size as the original, then scan it at 300 dpi. If your image has text, the image should be no less than 600 dpi at their final size to help preserve hard edges.

What is a Press Check?
A press check is an on-site, last-chance proofing step for the main purpose of achieving color accuracy. The press is literally set up and ready to run with your project but, before it does, the press operator brings out a proof on the actual paper, right off the press. A press check occurs only after you have given final sign-off on your project. The press check is really not the stage to be proofreading, since making corrections may incur costs for additional prepress time, metal plates and setup. However, sometimes the benefits of catching a significant error on press can outweigh the expense.

Do you do file impositioning?
Yes! Please send us single page files, 1-up, and we will optimize the layout for you.

How do I set-up a file for saddle-stitched booklets?
Saddle-stitched booklets must have a page count that is divisible by four, including covers. It can be four pages, eight pages, 12 pages, 16 pages…you get the idea. When your booklet is ready for print, please submit a PDF in single pages, not printer spreads or reader spreads. We will set up the job so it folds properly.

Is there a Red Dog?
Why yes, there are two! Benji and Roxy, our barkless red basenjis (a site hound breed which originates from the Congo) inspire us daily with their comical, irrepressible, highly intelligent disposition. With such a zest for life it’s difficult to leave our shop without a smile on your face.