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!

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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

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.

FYI: What is DPI?

DPI stands for dots per inch, which refers to the small ink dots that come on paper during the printing process. The amount of these ink dots in one inch of paper is the number you get for your DPI.  These little dots are important because they determine how well your file will print.

You may ask, how do they do that?  The dots per inch determine this based on another small number known as PPI or pixels per inch. To make sure your file prints in a high resolution you need to make sure that your dots per inch are larger than your pixels per inch.  An example would be having a DPI of 1200 and a PPI of 300, leaving you with 4 ink dots for every pixel.

Finding out what the DPI of your image is can seem like a difficult task but is actually quite easy! If you are using a Mac computer, you simply open up the file in preview, click tools > Show Inspector.  To resize on a Mac open the image or file in preview click tools> adjust size.  If you are working in Windows, you want to open the image or file in the picture viewer on your computer.  Once opened you will right click the file, then select “properties”, after that click on the “summary” tab.  If “title”, “subject”, or “author” fields are displayed click “Advanced>>” on the bottom.

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!