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.

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Sustainable vs Recycled Paper: Do You Know the Difference?

If you are a green consumer, you may sometimes check for labels and seals on product packaging in order to purchase paper products that come from sustainable and/or “recycled” resources. But what does all of that even mean?

Never fear! CatPrint is here!

…To make it as easy as possible for you to understand.

Sustainable Paper

Sustainable practice means that as humans, we take the responsibility in trying as best we can to put back what we take from the environment. The idea is that we maintain harmony with nature, so for which ever resource we take, we have to replace it back in the environment in order to continue the balance.

A variety of much more environmentally friendly practices have developed throughout the years as a response to sustainability and better practices in harvesting trees for paper.

One practice is that in order to fell a tree sustainably, tree cutters will do their best to make sure that the seedlings from the trees fall onto the ground so that new trees will grow from them.

Another practice is that once an area is cleared of trees, new trees will be planted in place of them, and that area of trees will not be touched for many years until it is deemed ready to be harvested again.

These practices are sustainable because we are putting back as much as we can for what we have taken, which is completely different from clearing a forest and putting back absolutely nothing.

Recycled Paper

Recycled paper products means exactly what it sounds like: the product was made from previous paper products. If you read our previous posts on the history of paper and how paper is made, you would know that paper is made from fibers. So if you take paper fibers from paper products, mash it together into pulps, then smash them into thin layers and lay them out to dry, you would have recycled paper!

What does this all mean as a CatPrint consumer?

At CatPrint, we are committed to do our very best to provide you with environmentally friendly paper products.

So guess what?

All of our paper stocks are FSC certified!

FSC is the Forestry Stewardship Council which is a non-profit organization that does its best to ensure responsible forestry management internationally. This means ALL of our papers come from sustainable forests, which means you’re printing from CatPrint, you’re doing your part for the environment just as well! Click here for a listing of our paper stock, or click here for a sample request of all of our paper stock!

We are also a White Badge Partner with TerraPass. Click here to find out more!

You Should Know: Layers & Flattening in PS

The Importance of Understanding LayersFlattening in Photoshop 

Photoshop Layers

Photoshop is a very diversified tool that can help you make minor touch-ups to a photograph or complete the creation of an artwork. Either way, you may or may not have heard about layers. With layers you have the ability to efficiently edit different elements of your image without the worry of mistakenly losing other parts or your design. Layers accomplish this by allowing you to manipulate individual layers with filters, editing tools, and more. You can even change the order of your layers.

Flattening Your Layers

So what is the big deal within flattening an image in Photoshop and why might it be important when it comes to your printing?

  1. First, the biggest thing you will notice, depending on how many layers you had, is a reduction in file size. Flattened files can be more easily transferred for print in this reduced size.
  2. Second, you will no longer be able to manipulate the individual layers…simply because they are no longer there. We suggest saving a copy of your layered file, just in case you need to get back in there and edit a thing or two.
  3. Third, all vector artwork, including text, will be rasterized (converting into pixels). This will prevent your fonts from defaulting to some undesirable font you were not expecting. The rasterization will normally prevent issues with transparency as well.

How to Flatten Layers

There are a few different ways of flattening your artwork in Photoshop. One of the quickest is to locate the menu button on the layers window tab. Click the menu button to bring up a list of options and simply select Flatten Image.  

You can also find the Flatten Image command in the Layer menu at the top of your screen.

Photoshop has so many features so we hope this mini-tutorial helps you in the creation of your artwork and designs. Happy creating!  

View this on our website: http://www.catprint.com/pages/setting-up-your-files/photoshop-layers-and-flattening

Do You Know What Toner Is Made Of?

If you check out our previous post on Toner vs Ink, you will know the basic differences between the two. But what exactly is toner made of anyway?

Carbon powder up close!
Carbon powder up close!

In the old days, toner was only made of carbon powder. But now, different polymers have been added with the carbon powder to help increase the quality of printing, specifically polymers called styrene acrylates and other various styrene copolymers coated with polyester resin (resin is an organic molecule that plants secrete).

This is what polyester resin looks like up close.

This is what polyester resin looks like up close.

 

This is an example of polyester resin art. Isn't it pretty?

Polyester Resin Art

This is an example of polyester resin art. Isn't it beautiful?

This is another example of Polyester Resin Art.

What does toner powder consist of?

Toner is not actually just one powder; it is made up of a different combination of powders put together in a very specific and precise way that allows it to be used in a laser printing process!

The Big Three

1: Iron Oxide

Iron oxide powders are able to create either positive or negative magnetic charges to become the needed opposite charge of the other toner powder particles during the printing process. It acts as a carrier so that the toner particles stick to the right parts on the rotating drum of the laser printer when printing.

2: Plastic

Heat sensitive plastic powders are melted during the laser printing process. This allows the toner to adhere to the paper and print the image needed.

3: Pigment

Pigment powders give the toner its colors, such as cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Toner powder... such pretty colors!

Toner powder… such pretty colors!

Other Ingredients

Groundup sand, wax, or silica hold the combination of the big three together in the toner. Wax is melted during the printing process to distribute the toner powder on the paper (similar to what the plastic does) while silica is sometimes added to the toner to stop the powder from clumping up together when it is packed in the toner cartridge.

The Future of Toner

Although they’re combined, these individual powder particles are very tiny, ranging from 5 to 15 microns (that’s a millionth of a meter!), which is around the size of your blood cell. Even so, there are researchers working on creating even smaller toner particles. That is because the smaller the particle, the higher the quality of the printed image will be.

Once again, this is just a hint as to a reason why your prints at CatPrint are so beautiful. If you are not ready to print an entire order, receive an instant quote from us and a free hard copy proof just to see the amazing quality of what your prints will look like.

Paper, Papyrus, Parchment

How fast can you say paperpapyrusparchment?

Papyrus: The Mother of Paper

Papyrus (plural papyri) was first produced around 3000 BCE as the standard writing material for the Ancient Egyptians. It was so popular it spread to many places throughout the world including Greece, Rome, and Syria.

How is a papyrus scroll made? Papyrus actually comes from the papyrus sedge plant that is native to Africa. In ancient Egypt, it was largely cultivated in the Nile Delta. The stems of the plant are thinly cut and then pasted to each other until they become sheets almost like paper. It would normally be sold in rolls that would stretch out up to 30 meters in length. These were used for long texts such as legal documents and literature. If it needed to be shorter, it would have to be cut into smaller scrolls.

Parchment

Library Rivalry

Around 200 BC, the King of Egypt felt that his library at Alexandria was threatened by the Ancient Greek library located in the city of Pergamum. Thus he ordered an embargo of exporting papyrus to Pergamum. As a response, the King of Pergamum told his people to develop a replacement to papyrus that would also be more durable and lasting than tanned leather. This is how parchment was developed.

Parchment Processing

Parchment is created from animal skin, such as from cows or sheep and is not to be confused with tanned leather. Parchment is a form of leather but with more elaborate processing.

The skin needs to be washed, scraped, soaked in lime, stretched out, then scraped again. This lengthy process was repeated until everything was cleansed, leaving only the skin. After that, it was wetted, coated with chalk, and smoothed with pumice on both sides. Whereas tanned leather only allowed for one side to be written on along with poor ink adhesion, the rigorous parchment making process provided the ability to write on both sides with high durability and flexibility. These properties allowed for the creation of books and codices, giving easier access to information compared to a papyrus scroll that had to be unrolled then rolled back up. It was popularly used from the 4th to 15th centuries as the standard for European scribes, and it is also what you see in the illuminated manuscripts in many monasteries and museums.

Paper

The word paper is actually a derivative from papyrus. Paper is credited as being developed by Ts’ai Lun in 105 AD, who was a Chinese official in the royal court. Before paper was invented, bamboo and silk were the main writing materials in China. However, silk and bamboo were too expensive and rare, so it wasn’t practical to use for mass writing. With the growth and development of Chinese literature, he wanted to figure out a way to create a more readily accessible writing material.

The most important thing to remember is that paper is fibrous, meaning it comes from the combination of fibres such as from wood, cotton, and linen. The first sheets of paper were created from the pulp of mulberry tree bark, old rags and fishing nets, and hemp. These were pounded and macerated by hand until they were thin enough. Afterwards, they were laid out to dry, which then became paper. However, it was not until around the 12th century that it became a very popular writing material throughout the world. Now, paper is so popular that we have over 30 different types of in stock here at CatPrint due to customer demand! Check out our stock here: http://www.catprint.com/pages/what-we-offer/paper

So what’s the gist of it?

Papyrus – shredded papyrus sedge stems

Parchment – animal skin

Paperpulps of fibers beaten into thin sheets

Toner & Ink.. Not the same thing!

Toner? Ink?

Often heard used interchangeably, these are actually two very different things with the same purpose. Ink and toner are the materials that are used to create any printed image, but with different techniques and outcomes, kind of like the difference between writing with a marker and writing with a pen.

catprint q

Ink: For Inkjet Printers

Ink is used in inkjet printers for basic personal printing, like for home and school use.

Two Types of Ink… It matters!

Dye Based Ink

The dye is absorbed by the paper which provides bright, vivid colors, which is very good for color printing photos. Unfortunately, it can fade when left in sunlight for too long and smear when it gets wet.

Pigment Based Ink

These are made of resins (organic molecules that plants secrete) that are ground into small particles. Pigment based ink sits on top of the paper instead of getting absorbed like dye inks, which gives the print less vibrant colors. However, it is fade resistant, and is also resistant to water. This is typically used for printing documents.

Toner: For Laser and Digital Printers

Toner is most commonly used in laser printers and copy machines, which are usually found in a busy environment like workgroups instead of just at home. They’re required for fast, high quality, high production printing.

What’s it made of?

Toner is typically made of electrically charged dry carbon powder that is contained inside plastic cartridges. These powders can either based with carbon or based with organic dry granules with polymers.

When printing, the toner sticks to the paper through a heating process where the toner melts and binds to paper fibers, which makes it hard to smear, making it usually of higher quality than inkjet prints.

Why CatPrint’s Prints are so Awesome

Now you have a hint as to why your prints at CatPrint look so amazing! If you have yet to place an order with CatPrint, you should do so today! Here’s one of the very special things about CatPrint: you can put your entire order on hold and receive a free hard copy proof if you want to see what your print will look like before your entire order is printed. Click here for more information!

How QR Codes Can Help You

QR Codes: Quick Response Codes.

Many people don’t know that QR codes have been in use for about a decade now in Japan’s automobile industry. However, recently QR codes have shown up in everyday usage. They are kind of like improved bar codes! Bar codes have a maximum capacity of 20 numerical digits and make it easy to keep track of products in a warehouse or supermarket. However, QR codes are able to contain thousands of alphanumeric characters, which allows it to be scanned and used versatilely.

Try scanning this with a QR reader!

Try scanning this with a QR reader!

You can generate your own QR Code!

There are a number of QR generators online that are free. You can even get a little more creative and have them custom designed with your logo within the QR Code.

qr code catprint logo

Now try scanning this one!

 

How do you use it?

You simply need a QR code scanner/reader app on your phone, which you can download in your app store for free. When you scan the QR code, it takes you to the direct URL for what the QR code was meant for.

What can it be used for?

QR codes can be on basically any type of media such as business cards, flyers, posters, shirts, cups, whatever you want, and link them to these items and much more:

  • Webpage URL
  • Full Contact Details such as a vCard or meCard
  • Phone number
  • Product Info or ordering
  • Special offers and coupons
  • Event page
  • Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks
  • YouTube video
  • Physical address including maps
  • App Store Download
  • Skype Call
  • SMS Message
  • Surveys
  • Email Address or Message

A Small Price for Management

If you use a website to generate a QR code that also has QR code management, by paying a small price, you can use the QR code management to change the destination address after your QR code has been created or printed. This is especially helpful if you have made an error or need to make an update to the URL or basic information.

Tracking and Analyzing

QR Codes can be tracked and analyzed to see where the QR codes were scanned, which is very helpful to see where and what type of marketing has been successful. For example, you can create a QR code for a billboard poster, and then a separate QR code for flyers that you pass out to people, and compare which form of media advertising has obtained the most response.

Simple, Easy, and Versatile

Maybe next time you’ll put a QR code on your prints with CatPrint!

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

PMS: Not What You Think!

What is the Pantone Matching System?

Pantone Colors are colors within the Pantone Matching System that make it easier to match colors across different printers. It is especially useful so that if you talk to a graphic designer in California, they can match the color you want with the printer in New York, and your prints can come out in the exact colors that you want!

Each color within the system has a specific Pantone number which allows everyone who utilizes the Pantone system to know how much of certain inks to put together to create a specific color. These are organized in sheets with the color on top and the number on the bottom.

pantone_color_chart712-814

The History of the Pantone Matching System

The Pantone system was created around 1962 when a part-time Pantone Print Company employee and Chemistry student named Lawrence Herbert wanted to figure out a better way to organize the 60 or so pigments that Pantone had to print on.  Herbert narrowed down the 60 pigments to just 12 colors that could be mixed and matched in specific ways to make every other color.  Due to Herbert’s chemistry background, he came up with mathematical formulas to help decide exactly how much of each color would go into making the other colors.  When Herbert got a handle on this, he bought out the printing segment of Pantone for $50,000 (because the other side of the company was exactly that much in debt) and started systematizing the colors in order to universalize his newly made system.  

Herbert Solves Kodak’s Problem

Herbert realized that not having universal colors for printing was especially a problem when Kodak had multiple companies printing the packaging for their products.  The multiple companies would print the packaging with different yellows, leaving some packages darker than others.  Customers thought that the darker packages were older and meant the product inside had gone bad.  When the Pantone Matching System was released, Kodak no longer had a problem with merchandise staying on the shelves due to the consistent color of their packaging.

Pantone Colors are Important

Since the first universalized color system was made, Pantone has continued to create color systems for textiles, plastics, as well as other types of materials so that everyone can have a standardized color system.  There is also the color guide which is a huge book of all of the colors that has a Pantone number. Different countries and states (including Texas) even claim Pantone numbers for their flags.  

You may have also heard about the Pantone Color of the Year! Allegedly, there is a secret committee that have a secret meeting in a secret location in Europe to decide on the Pantone Color of the Year!  

This year’s color is Emerald, and here is a chart so you can see the colors for the past 13 years.

color-of-the-year