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Our Newsletter

Artwork & Design FAQ's


Q • Can I use borders on my design?

A • You can use borders however we cannot guarantee that they will all look even when cut. The bigger the border the better off you are. Avoid thin borders. The main reason we specify in our file prep guidelines not to use borders is because of a phenomena called “Draw” in the cutting process. When you cut a piece of paper one sheet at a time you can position the cut exactly where you want it. When you cut a 4 inch stack of paper at once the cutting blade will draw the paper - make the paper move - when the cutting is happening. Even if this is a tiny acceptable amount, say 1/32 of an inch, it can affect both right and left sides of the product. 1/32 on the left + 1/32 on the right is 1/16th total. With thin borders 1/16th of an inch may be very noticeable. The wider the border the less noticeable the effect will be. Here’s an image that shows draw.



Q • What should the resolution of my artwork be?

A • All grayscale, RGB, photos and artwork should be 300 dpi in CMYK. All line art should be a minimum of 600 dpi. 


Q • What type of files do we prefer?

A • PDF and JPEG


Q • Can I make an MS Word document sized to the correct proportion and then converted to pdf? 

A • Yes that is an acceptable format. Just make sure it is a high resolution PDF so that the graphics look clear!


Q • Do we charge for uploads?

A • We don’t charge for uploading but you can't use the upload unless you are placing an order. If you want us to look at your artwork just email it to us.


Q • Are you able to keep files on hand and reprint them as necessary?

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


Q • I want to know if your pdfs show the final product. The one I'm viewing includes a bleed -- how do I know my cards will be printed correctly?

A • We include bleed on the proof emails so that both of us will know the files were bled correctly. The bleed will be cutoff on the final job


Q • What are the guide lines for full bleed artwork?

A • We need at least 1/16", preferably a 1/8" bleed around all artwork



Q • Should I add the customized size of the business card in the notes area when I upload the designs? Or in the pdf file of the card design?

A • Make sure the .pdf is already formatted to your custom dimensions and add it into the notes area. That will indicate to our order fulfillment department what you want.


Q • If changes are needed on the artwork, does your company offer that type of support? If yes, how will that affect my cost?

A • 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.)


Q • Does it cost extra to have printdirtcheap.com design my card?

A • 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.


Q • What is the difference between process and Pantone colors?

A • Process color is a common shortened form of the term “four-color printing process.” Process color (and similar terms) refers both to a method of reproducing colored images on printing presses and to the specific ink colors used. Other ways of referring to this printing process include "four color," "CMYK," "full process" and "full color." Pantone, or PMS, refers to a standardized color reproduction system where various colors can be stimulated by 13 different pigments. CMYK is not able to reproduce some PMS colors.


Q • When I viewed the items I just sent you guys, why did it seemed like all the colors were different?

A • Your file might have been created in RGB (red green blue) then changed to CMYK. Your color values may be too high to get a predictable print. Color values like c86 ,m76, y53, k62 are so saturated  that you're going get black when it prints. It may look blue on your screen because monitors have no black color since they are in RGB. If you want to have a predictable color you should use a pantone chart that has spot to process on it and send over vector artwork.


Q • Can you please tell me the best CMYK color space to use for your printing? I'm doing a RGB conversion

A • You need to make sure your total color saturation doesn't go over 250% of c,m,y,k, otherwise the backs get muddy. That's the problem with RGB to CMYK. Remember, all clients are responsible for making sure their files are in the right color format before being printed.


Q • How can I convert a grayscale image into CMYK color? 

A • Grayscale images that are converted to CMYK will have a color shift in the final print. That shift may be green or yellow. Always check the CMYK values of your grayscale in the final CMYK document. If there are values other than K in your grayscale image, there is a chance that the color will vary. To eliminate all values other than K, use your Channel Mixer (adjustment layer) in Photoshop, then click "Monochrome" and adjust accordingly.


Q • How can I prevent my blues from looking like purple when my job is printed?

A • When using a blue in your design, always make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. If you have less that 30% difference we cannot gaurentee the outcome.


Q • How can I prevent banding in my work?

A • Many things can cause banding. Banding can be caused by the program that it is exported from, such as Indesign or Corel. Too many gradient steps, such as going  from a light color to a dark color in a small area will cause banding. To prevent this, check your digital files before sending. If you use a gradient, make sure it has enough room for a smooth transition.


Q • What is rich black and how can I create it for my products?

A • Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker tone than black ink alone. If you print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not be as dark as you might like. We recommend using C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100.


Q • Do you color match CMYK print jobs?

A• NO. It is not possible to have the exact same color output from run to run on gang-run printing.