Organize and Prepare
Expert tips on how to prepare your files.
Q: How do I ensure that the color of the printed product is what I am expecting? Is there a way to match what I see on the screen to what I will get from the printer?
A: No printer can guarantee an exact color match, however there are some options to help you get the best color possible. You may request a Color Proof, download our press profiles (for use with Adobe Photoshop) or request a Color Reference Guide. See our Color Quality page for more information.
Q: Will the color on my cards look the same as it does on my computer monitor?
A: There is no way to guarantee an exact color match, however there are some options to help you get the best color possible. You may:
- Request a Color Proof. This will add one day to your total turnaround time and $55 to your order total. This fee is waived for order quantities of over 5,000. Certain products will warrant a free Color Proof if the quantity being ordered is 5,000 or more. Please note that your quoted production time will not begin until we receive Approval of your Color Proof.
- Download our press profiles (for use with Adobe Photoshop).
- Request a free Color Kit, which will help you adjust your monitor and convert your files via color management. See our Color Quality page for more information.
- Send in a color sample, and we will review the color on the digital file. If necessary, we can edit the file for a fee of $35.
Q: What type of files should I send?
A: We have the ability to accept a variety of file types from numerous applications. For specifics, please review our Preparing Materials section.
Q: What’s the difference between “We Build Your Layout” and “Design It Yourself?”
A: “We Build Your Layout” means that we are assembling your layout design using the materials and instructions you provide. Our skilled graphic artists will design the layout the way you want it!
“Design It Yourself” means that you are working with (or you are) a graphic designer and are submitting supported file formats from one of these applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress, or Macromedia FreeHand.
Q: Do I still need to prepare my materials even though you are assembling my layout?
A: Yes. All materials (whether physical or digital) require some sort of preparation or at least an understanding of how they will be used by us to build your layout.
Q: I’m lost! Which option is right for me?
A: Are you a professional graphic designer preparing industry-standard graphic file formats for us to print? If so, you’re in “Design It Yourself” and should get your information there.
Are you a non-designer and would like our experts to create a pleasing design using your raw materials and ideas? Then you’re in “We Build Your Layout.”
Q: How do I collect fonts for output?
A: Typically your fonts are located in the Fonts folder inside the System Folder in Mac OS 9, in several Fonts Folders in Mac OS X (Hard Drive / Users / Library / Fonts is one such location), or in the Fonts folder inside the Windows Folder (or the WINNT folder) in Windows. Programs like Quark and InDesign have options to collect all necessary files, including fonts for output.
Different kinds of fonts:
Type 1 Fonts – require two pieces, a screen font and a printer font (also known as a PostScript font). Type 1 fonts require that both pieces be active in the System for any typeface to print correctly.
True Type or Open Type Fonts – require only the single font file.
Q: Do you accept MS Word Documents?
A: Yes, we do accept these as mockups that our graphic artists follow when building your layout for you. We cannot print directly from Word documents because components such as text flow, fonts, and color may vary computer to computer (what you see on your computer in Word may differ quite a bit from what we see on our screens). Also, Word documents do not produce prepress-ready PDF files. Our experts will copy / paste text from your Word document into a professional graphic design application, like Adobe InDesign, and will do their best to match your layout as it appears in Word. If you want very specific placement of text, you have a couple of options:
- Send us a laser print that shows exactly what you’re expecting or
- Work with a graphic designer using one of the professional design applications we support.
Q: Should I prepare my materials before I order?
A: It is always best to prepare your materials prior to placing an order. We’ve found that it’s best to work with us in this order:
- Gather information about our products and services
- Decide what product you would like to order
- Prepare your materials for that product
- Order and submit your materials
It is OK to do this after as well, but we cannot proceed with your order until we have all necessary materials. To ensure the best turnaround time, it is always best to have prepared your materials prior to ordering so that you can submit them at the end of the order process.
Q: I’m not preparing the layout/graphics, but I’m placing the order. What information should I pass along to my graphic designer?
A: Please have them download our Templates and read our Instructions carefully. By following our guides, your graphic designer will be able to create a pleasing layout with less potential problems that typically delay orders. If color is a concern, have them calibrate their monitors to approximate our press output by requesting our Color Management Kit.
Q: What if the materials I submit do not meet your specifications?
A: If your materials do not exactly meet our specifications, but the infraction is relatively minor, we may simply ask you to waive or acknowledge before proceeding. (Example: Your digital images are slightly low resolution at 250 PPI.) We will, however, put a waiver if the image falls below 200 PPI. If we are missing materials and they are prepared in such as way that they are extremely low quality or unusable, we will ask that you resubmit them to meet our specifications. (Example: Your faxed mockup is completely unreadable by our graphic artists – we will ask you to resubmit a version we can read so that we can build your layout correctly.) Be aware that any additional resubmittals after the first occurrence will be $25 and will delay your turnaround time.
Q: I’m preparing my own layout/graphics and I want the best scan possible. Do you provide scanning services on purely digital orders?
A: Yes. Please mail your photograph, slide or transparency to our address with your job number on it. After we scan this using our state-of-the-art drum-scanning equipment, our graphic artists will place your image(s) into the digital layouts you provided. It is a good idea to create image boxes with low resolution for-position-only images in your digital layout and mark the graphic as “FPO”. Our experts will swap the FPOs for our high quality scanned images.
Q: What file types do you accept and would you prefer to receive?
A: If Modern Postcard is going to assemble your layout, please send your high resolution images in any of the acceptable file formats below:
- For Photoshop: .jpg, .tiff., .psd, .pdf, .eps
- For Illustrator: .ai, .eps
- For InDesign: .indd
*We also accept PDF’s made from the programs listed above.
We can accept Word files .doc and Power Point .ppt for mock-up purposes but we cannot print directly from such files. Additional fees for Modern Postcard assembly may apply.