Before you start out on your printing journey—whether your project is a book, catalog, booklet, magazine, paper boxes, or a calendar—it’s essential to understand at least the basics of print design and processing. That’s why we created this set of easy-to-understand, step-by-step printing guides to support our clients. Each printing guide serves as a handy reference point before you get started on your specific print project.
But don’t forget that our enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of in-house printing experts is always here to help you. Just ask!
What Is Offset Printing?
Offset printing is a three-step process. First, we make an etched metal plate for each color or sheet and fix it around a rotating cylinder called the plate cylinder. The plate has an image etched flush with the surface and the printable and non-printable areas are distinguished by being oily or aqueous.
As the metal cylinder rolls, it comes into contact with a rubber sheet wrapped around another cylinder. The inked image transfers to the rubber roll and then onto the impression cylinder, which carries the paper. So, the printing is ‘offset’ onto the paper.
Each sheet requires its own plate. So, the setup and run time associated with offset printing is fairly long. But if you’re printing thousands of copies — a ‘long run’ — then it will work out cheaper than digital printing regardless of the number of sheets.
Our Printing Guides
To help you prepare your artwork and layout for printing, we have created a series of downloadable templates. We have templates for the covers and interiors of softcover, hardcover, saddle-stitched, spiral-bound, and wire-o bound books, along with flyers and posters. We’ll add other templates, including paper box templates, soon. To choose and download a template, go here.
A successful print run relies on properly prepared artwork and digital files. We’ve prepared detailed explanations of how to get this important step right. The pre-press artwork guide covers everything you need to understand, from choosing the best software to bleeds, margins, and crop marks, to creating cover files, managing color spaces, image resolution, embedding fonts, and more. To learn about preparing print-ready artwork, go here.
At QinPrinting, we provide you with PDF proofs for all printing jobs as part of our standard service. Once we receive your print files, our experts will manually check them to make sure there are no errors. If they find any issues, they’ll let you know and explain how to fix them. Once they’re satisfied that the files are in good shape, they’ll produce your proofs and send them to you for approval. For certain high-level print projects, you may need a physical sample to check final color reproduction and so on. We will happily send physical samples on request, but they incur a small added fee and are not included in your initial quote. To find out more about our proofs and samples, go here.
Different countries have different standard sizes for print products. For example, standard size for books, catalogs, calendars, brochures, and more are different in the US, the UK, Australia, China, and Europe. Some countries give sizes in millimetres, others in inches. So, to avoid confusion, it’s important to understand these differences and to know which units to use when requesting a custom size. It’s all explained, with examples, here.
We use a range of papers, including gloss art paper, matte art paper, offset paper, textured paper, and colored paper. All papers are available in different weights (in the printing industry, we use weight as a proxy for thickness). On request, for a small fee, we can also provide a comprehensive paper sample manual, in which you can find all the types of papers that we currently have in our stock. The paper sample manual allows you to see and examine the papers first hand so that you can make a fully informed choice that’s right for your print project. Find out more about our paper options here.
At QinPrinting, we offer several cover surface options, including; gloss lamination, matte lamination, soft-touch lamination, embossing, debossing, foil stamping, spot UV, die-cutting and more. You can find all our surface samples in our paper manual, which we will send to you on request for a small fee to cover mailing. To explore our range of surface options, go here.
Book binding is the process by which we collate, fold, and stitch or glue all the pages together between the book’s covers. We offer a comprehensive range of binding options to suit all your needs, including hardcover, perfect bound, sewn perfect bound, saddle-stitch, spiral bound, and wire-o binding. Each binding style requires specific materials and techniques and each suited to particular purposes. Choosing the right binding for your print project is an important decision. To find out more, go here.
From our facilities in Shanghai, we provide custom printing services to clients around the world. We are the global experts in printing books, paper boxes, board books, custom board games, and more. You can customize all our products according to your own designs, or you can ask us to create the designs for you based on the text and artwork you provide. As well as general printing services and a comprehensive board game manufacturing solution, we also provide wholesale offers, storage, and distribution options. Discover our services here.
We are an offset printing company, so printing is the core service we provide. We do not provide a comprehensive design service. However, unlike many printers, we are committed to offering significant design support. For example, we offer free downloadable design templates for book formats, flyers, posters, and more, along with an expert artwork file checking service and, of course, one-to-one advice and assistance for all our customers via telephone, email, Skype, and the online chat.
We need high-resolution PDF formatted artwork (including a 3 mm bleed zone) for printing. Photos and images should be exported as vectors or with a resolution of at least 300 dpi to guarantee professional quality results.
Offset printing uses the CMYK color space. Most design software uses the RGB color space. The most efficient solution is for you to change the color space to CMYK when you export your print-ready files. If you don’t know how to do this, ask us and we’ll explain. But don’t worry too much. If we receive your artwork in RGB mode, we’ll change it for you before we go to press.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and our commitment to providing the best possible service to all our customers. We have developed a range of rigorous quality control protocols designed to make sure that all our products are printed to the highest standards and leave our facilities in perfect condition. We have passed the GB/T19001–2008 IDT ISO9001:2008 Quality Management System Certification for excellence in our quality controls. We will be delighted to show you our certificates on request.
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