Describe That Paper!

We know that picking the best paper for your project can be hard when there are over 30 stocks to choose from, and not everyone always has time to wait for our free sample booklet. So, we have interviewed various CatPrint employees to review some of our most popular stocks and describe how they look, feel, and what they resemble to create this handy new chart!

Paper Chart

Click the image to view it in a bigger size!

Click the Chart to Zoom in.

But what about the cream stocks?! The cream stocks have significant variance in terms of the cream color between stocks, and the difference can be hard to explain in words, a sample booklet is highly recommended if you are interested in a cream paper option.

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Printing Wide Format and Giclée Posters With CatPrint

Did you know that CatPrint offers archival quality Giclée printing?

Questions you might have about Giclée poster print are:

What is Giclée printing?

How do I set up files for a Giclée job?

What is a wide format job?

How do I set up a wide format or Giclée job through the CatPrint site?

The answers to all of those questions are below:

What is Giclée Printing?

Put simply, Giclée printing refers to fade-resistant, pigment based, archival quality, inkjet printing.

Giclée printing is used when your print job requires the absolute best print quality possible. This type of printing is commonly used for digital art prints and high quality reproductions of traditional art.

What are the File Requirements?

Just like with our toner based digital printing, your file needs to be at least 300 DPI. They should be high-resolution JPGs, PDFs, TIFFs, or PNGs created in CMYK color format.

Additionally, the file dimensions must be EXACTLY the same size as the print dimensions. For example, if you are printing a 24”x36” poster, your files must be 24”x36”. Full bleed jobs need to be sized 1/4″ larger than the final cut size.

Finally, the widest print our HP Inkjet Printer can produce is 44”, so be sure to keep that in mind when designing your files.

What Is Considered a Wide Format Job?

Any print larger than a no bleed 12″x18″ is considered wide format  by CatPrint’s standards.

Prints larger than 12”x18” must be printed using our HP Inkjet Printer, on either our Luster Gloss Poster Paper or Art Quality Poster Canvas which can be selected from the bottom of the paper selection menu on the Order Builder page.

How Do I Set Up a Giclée Job?

If you want your job to be printed on our HP Inkjet Printer, simply select the “Luster Gloss Poster Paper” or “Art Quality Poster Canvas” from the paper menu on the Order Builder page. Afterwards, you can fill in the rest of your print job specifications.

Please note that you do not have to print larger than 12”x18” to use the HP Inkjet Printer; we can do smaller sizes as well! However, please keep in mind that the substrates we now offer can only be printed on one side.

Keep an eye on our social media and monthly newsletters for announcements about new substrates in the upcoming months. Take the survey below if you have a substrate in mind that you would like to see us start carrying!

Easy Guide to How Digital Printing Works

As “CatPrint Short Run Digital Printing” suggests, we use a digital printing press to bring your designs and artwork to life. You might be wondering exactly how toner based digital printing works. We sat down with our Founder and CTO Mitch earlier this week to discuss how your files are processed and turned into physical prints on our Xerox iGen 4 Digital Press.

Xerox iGen4

Xerox iGen4

Taking out a lot of the of the technical lingo leaves us with these 5 basic steps:

  1. After you prepare your digital image file and upload it through the CatPrint website, the image file is converted into a raster graphics image. Whether the image file is a photo, a scanned piece of art, digital art, or a wedding invitation, all of the image files go through this conversion process known as “Raster Image Processing” or RIPing for short.
  2. RIPing creates a bitmap which assigns X/Y coordinates to each color and blank space (like on a graph). This bitmap is then used to guide a laser within the digital printer to erase the charges from a positively charged photoreceptor belt. The laser will only erase charges on the photoreceptor belt wherever there is supposed to be blank “unprinted” space.
  3. After the positive charges are removed, toner, which is negatively charged, is attracted to the remaining positive charges and the image is built onto the photoreceptor.
  4. The toner filled photoreceptor is then rolled over the paper and applied.
  5. After the toner is applied to the sheet, it is fused to the paper by hot “fuser rolls” which are around 400 degrees Fahrenheit!

These steps allow all 4 colors (CMYK) to be applied to the paper in one pass through the printer, unlike other printing options as inkjet printing. This whole digital imaging process happens in a matter of seconds, as the iGen4 allows us to print up to 400 5×7 wedding invitations per minute.

Benefits of Short Run Printing

Is Short Run Printing for You?

First, how are short run prints different than traditional offset printing?  

Offset printing is a technique that transfers ink from a custom made plate to a rubber blanket, and finally to a printing surface (link to previous post on offset printing).  

Short run printing is generally done digitally.  For this, no printing cylinder plates are needed. Instead, an inkjet or laser printer reads the ready-print file and deposits pigment or toner onto the printing surface.

Cat Ran Out of Toner

Cat Ran Out of Toner

Is there an advantage to short run printing?

Depending on your needs, short run printing may be right for you.  Here are the key advantages:

Price:  It is very costly to create custom plating for each page in offset printing.  Digital printing allows you to forgo this expense as well as the additional set up fee linked with offset printing.

Speed:  Due to a reduced setup time in short run printing, you can expect a quick turn around time.  This is advantageous if you are on a tight deadline because next day delivery is often an option.

Adaptability:  As you change, so will your designs.  Short run printing allows you to create customized print jobs without additional set up costs.

Proofing:  Short run digital printing allows easily produced and inexpensive proofs.  You are able to make file adjustments with ease.

CatPrint is proud to offer all of the above benefits and more.

With short run printing, we are able to keep our prices low and competitive because the more you print, the lower the cost per print will be.

Also available is next day to 7-day turnaround time. Yes, this includes printing and shipping!

You are able to submit as many different files as you like, all of which are then stored in your account library which you can access later on.

A free hard copy proof is available with every order.  After receiving your proof, you can submit edits with no additional charge.

If you have any questions on how digital printing or CatPrint works, feel free to contact Customer Service at support@catprint.com. We have dedicated customer service representatives happy to answer any questions you may have.

What is Full Bleed Printing?

Here at CatPrint, we often get a lot of questions regarding to full bleed printing, or print full bleed. It sounds like a foreign term if you aren’t a seasoned customer.

Full. Bleed. Printing.

Usually when you order prints, there is a white border that appears around your printed artwork or image. Some people like it. Some people don’t. For those of you that are satisfied with the white border, you’re good to go!

But what about those of you who want your image printed to the very edge and make that white border disappear?

That’s where full bleed printing comes in. Full bleed printing makes sure that your image or artwork is printed all the way to the edge of the stock. There will be absolutely no white border.

But first, you have to set up your file for full bleed printing.

When creating an order for full bleed printing with CatPrint, we very much advise and recommend to all of our wonderful customers that your file needs to be ¼” (.25 of an inch) larger than the finished cut size. Still confused?

Let’s say you want to full bleed print a business card.

A typical business card has a sized dimension at 3.5” x 2”.

So we add .25” to those dimensions:

3.5 + .25 = 3.75”

2 + .25 = 2.25”

hint on full bleed printing

Hint on Full Bleed Printing

Your file size would be 3.75” x 2.25” for optimization of full bleed printing.

If you don’t set up your file correctly and choose full bleed printing, your printed piece may not come out the way you want it to due to ⅛” of your image being cut, and may even miss parts of your image!

But don’t worry too much: The CatPrint customer service team will always check your files before allowing your order to go through. If CatPrint sees a concerning issue, we will reach out to you to give you a warning.

full bleed printing hint

Add .25″ to your file dimensions for full bleed printing.

Paper? Papyrus? Papyrus Paper?

Paper? Papyrus? Papyrus paper?

The term “paper” itself comes from the word “papyrus”, which is the plant that the Ancient Egyptians processed to write on. However, papyrus isn’t actually paper. The Egyptians sliced the stem of the papyrus plant into thin strips and pasted them together until they formed something that looked like scrolls and sheets. This is not how you create paper today.

papyrusmaking

From Goopy to Sheets

To actually make paper, you need fibres. Fibres can be from various tree barks, cotton, and many other natural sources.  The fibres are then soaked and mashed into a goopy mold, the mold is then pounded into really thin sheets, and finally hung or laid out to dry.

Paper > Bamboo + Silk

The invention of paper is credited to a man named Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese official back in 105 A.D. During this time, China was writing on either silk or bamboo sheets. The issues with this method were that silk took too long to cultivate and process to create the scrolls, and bamboo was heavy to transport. Not only were they problematic, but they were also expensive and hard to come across (just think about the effort in processing, shipping, and handling these raw materials 2,000 years ago). You couldn’t readily call CatPrint and say, “This is the type of stock that I want my books to be printed on.”

chinese bamboo writing

At this time, the growth of literature also created the need for cheaper and readily accessible writing material. Ts’ai Lun invented the first sheets of paper from pounding the wet pulps of the bark of mulberry trees, rags, hemp, and old fish nets and leaving it out to dry for about a day. Now, instead of having to pay heavy prices or waiting for the next shipment of silk and bamboo, you could just make paper. The best thing about this was that it was easily accessible, and just about anyone could do it if they had the time and material!

Paper Today

Despite this process dating to almost 2000 years ago, we are still using this method to create sheets of paper now, just at a more rapid and advanced technological level. Now we have tree farms dedicated to being cut down for the creation of paper. There is  equipment to chip the wood in preparation for it to become pulp. Complex machines are used instead of hand-macerating the pulps into sheets. Instead of hanging out the pulps to dry for days, hot rollers quickly dry the pulp into paper in a matter of minutes.

Think of how instant and readily accessible papermaking seemed to be 2000 years ago, yet is now even more instant. CatPrint already has 30+ different types of paper ready for you to choose from, which you can see and feel in our sample booklets. Try out our Instant Quote and order your prints today!

Sample Booklet

Just For Fun

Here’s a fun link on how to make your own paper at home!

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Paper

Quick Explanation: Offset vs. Digital

Most people don’t realize that there are two ways to print, with huge differences between them: offset and digital.

Offset printing is most commonly used for high volume commercial jobs. The process starts by burning an image onto a plate, transferring (offsetting) the image to a rubber blanket, and then onto the paper. The image to be printed gets ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free.

Digital printing eliminates many of the mechanical steps required for conventional printing, including making films, color proofs, and making plates. Think of it as a larger version of what you have at home but capable of handling larger sheets of paper.

A few reasons why digital printing can help include the following:

  • Shorter turnaround time: At CatPrint, if your order is placed by 2:00 PM EST it can be delivered the next day if you choose 1-Day Delivery. The quick turnaround also allows us to send you a single hard copy proof for free with your paid order.
  • Affordable low volume printing: While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than with offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs. This is why CatPrint is able to offer no minimum quantities on your orders.
  • Variable Data Printing is a form of customizable digital printing. Text and graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press. For example, clients ordering business cards from CatPrint are able to print the same design with multiple employee names and job titles in a single order.

Still not convinced digital printing is right for you? Feel free to contact one of our Customer Service Representatives to answer any other questions you might have about digital printing.

Why You Should Also Love PDF Files!

PDF stands for “Portable Document Format.”  

A PDF file holds data that is readable by multiple types of software, hardware, and operating systems. It is a preferred format to save text, fonts, and graphics – all flattened into one file. In the world of digital printing, this is a great way to keep all layers present in your design software. PDFs are always an option when saving a project created in design software applications such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

No wonder it is our preferred file type!