Category Archives: Uncategorized Info

The CMYK Four Color Language

Quick!!  What does this mean:

To begin with, you must understand how ink is applied on the paper.  ANY offset process that involves “full color” uses a MINIMUM of the four colors to the left.  These colors are put on the paper with tiny, tiny dots.

These dots are placed VERY close to each other (the finest offset dot available on Earth is called STOCHASTIC printing and you can read about it here.

Above you see a comparison of these dot patterns.  The top is from a newspaper where the dots are visible to the eye.  The next at 175 and still visible to the eye.  The last one is our version of the dots…which you can’t see without a lens.  They are simply too small.  My hope is that you can see how offset printing is really just the individual dots of C, M, Y and K ink.

For clarity, here is an enlargement of the top image (or, just go find a magnifying lens and start looking at printed pieces).

No mixing…just patterns that trick your eye into seeing colors that are not on the paper.  Even lousy printing succeeds at this mission!

So..if you were going to print FULL color on BOTH sides of a sheet, this is how you would represent that process:

4 / 4 …which means CMYK “over” CMYK…or full color, both sides.  This is read as follows “four over four”.

SO, let’s invent a few more formulas:

4 / 0 Means: Full color on one side and NOTHING on the other side (kind of like a poster)

4 / K means: Full color on one side and BLACK ink on the other side (traditional post cards use this)

4 + FLOOD VARNISH / SAME means: Full color then a flood varnish coating on both sides of the sheet (learn more about coatings here)

4 + PMS + SOFT TOUCH AQ + DRY TRAP SPOT GLOSS VARNISH / SAME means: Full color plus a Pantone color (silver? fluorescent green? you must specify) plus a soft touch flood the a dry trap of a spot of varnish on BOTH sides of the sheet.  Again, learn more about floods and coatings here).

We could invent many different combinations of this formula but this should give you the basics so you know how to speak the language.  Is this the Language of Love?  Not really…I would not recommend bringing this subject up while cuddling in front of the fire this weekend.   But it IS the language of printing and I love printing so, I guess, it COULD be some sort of language of love?


A simple light lesson

The other day we had a bulb replaced in the office:

The above image was taken just after we had a new bulb replaced.  Both pillars are painted the SAME COLOR yet the two different fluorescent bulbs totally tweaked the color of the paint…one looks almost white and the other (closer one) is more of a tan.

Remember this when you consider and examine your print projects.  Usually you have no idea what light the project will use when being viewed.  Daylight to incandescent lighting is a HUGE jump in reflective color.  Not everyone will look at that brochure under ideal conditions (and some are color blind too…).

Photo Contest #243-K (I have lost track)

Think you

know what

this is??

Email me at with your guess.  Be the SEVENTH CORRECT answer and win this FABULOUS LIZARD (see below).

Guess Right and Win ME!

Post Office News: 3,700 offices to close

Lately there has been a lot of news about the closure of about 3,700 post offices in the near future.  Of course this may effect your outbound direct mail pieces from our direct mail services system but, for the most part, this is just another sign of the times.

If you have not had a chance to review the list, here is a copy of it.  Actually one of the offices is in the town just next to my home!  I have been in there many times.

Click Here To See The List

Binding 101

There are often many questions about methods used to bind paper into a book or booklet.  Here is a quick reference for these questions.  Note that there are variations on all these themes…and many creative ways to use them.  Use this guide as a starting point and then add your imagination.


Saddle stitched books have staples (stitches) that hold them together.

These books can have the same cover paper as the interior sheets (self cover) or have a different cover stock (plus cover).


Perfect Bound books have a SQUARE (glued) edge that the interior pages fit into.

These usually have a thicker cover stock than the paper used for the interior sheets.


Wire-o books are often called “spiral bound” but they are NOT spiral bound at all (see below).

Wire-o books have wires that run parallel to each other and can be totally exposed (as shown), hidden or semi-hidden.


Spiral Bound books use a continuous coil of wire as a spiral.  These are common with note books, etc.


These books are known as “hard cover” books.  Too many styles to explain here…lots of options with paper, covers, dust jackets, etc.

Here is a table that will help define the “roles” of these various binding methods.

Saddle Stitch

Perfect Bound


Case Bound







8 Pages

About 1/8”

4 Pages

About 1/8”


96 pages (depends on stock)

About 1 1/2”

About 1 1/2”

About 2”


50 – ???

250 – ???

50 – ???

50 – ???

Of course, many of these variables depend on your project.  Lower quantities of Case Bound books, for instance, are availble but may be very pricey.  The best thing to do when considering any of these jobs is to simply call me and we can figure out what is best.

Photo Contest #8 (or so)!!

Molly says ” Take a photo of your pet and email it to “

It’s photo contest time again!

This time you are sending me your photos.

I need photos of your PET (dog, cat, horse, parrot…it’s up to you!).

I have no idea what categories I will award so do your best to send me your favorite photo that you took and we will go from there!

  • Limit three photos per contestant.
  • A short story about the photo gets you extra points
  • Email .jpg files to
  • I will post the winners on my blog
  • Entries must be received by August 3, 2011

So…go get that camera phone juiced up and dunk the dog in the bathtub!  Let’s see what you can do!!

How & Why We Bleed…

In commercial printing “bleed” is an important part of the trimming operation.  From business cards to magazines, if you don’t include bleeds in the original artwork, your project
will not trim properly and could even impact
your folds.  Here is a simple posting that shows
how to build a bleed into your original design.

Here are the general bleed rules for most projects but MAKE SURE before you build your designs:

1/8″ (0.125″) ADD crop marks:
For all standard projects

Follow this link to read related information on this blog that you may find interesting.