Arvest Press Inc.

252R Calvary Street
Waltham, MA 0245

Fax: 781.894.4434

Open Monday thru Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


Directions to Arvest

Arvest Impressions:

An inside look at the printing process

In Armenian, the word Arvest means "art". At Arvest Press we love what we do, and treat each new printing project with the artistic care of a skilled craftsperson. This passion translates to a high level of customer satisfaction, and top quality products.
Starting with the Basics: Image is everything

On a basic level, the most important thing to understand with bitmap or pixel images is how much resolution is needed for the project you are working on. Other pieces of the puzzle might be - What type of format is best for each image, and what is the right color space to keep the images in?


Starting with resolution, the old adage was to set the resolution at twice the linescreen the project was going to be printed at. So if your printer planned to produce the piece with a final linescreen of 175, the ideal resolution would have been 350. The problem was in most cases whoever was preparing the files didn't necessarily know what linescreen the printer planned to use, and in the case of a print shop with multiple presses, linescreen may not be determined until right before the work is printed. So what do you do?


A good rule of thumb is to have a minimium resolution of 240 dpi and unless you are doing a really high end (300 linescreen plus) piece, keep the top resolution at around 450 max. Best practice is also to place images at 100% within the layout as well, which means if you need the image to be 3"x4" in your design, save a copy of your original at the proper size and resolution before you import it into your design package. Remember, a placed image shrunk to 50% size is essentially twice the resolution. Also, more resolution does not mean a better result. In some cases, having an excess of resolution will actually make the image appear less sharp, and flatter.


As for color space, again, best practice is to do the color conversion on a copy of the original before placing the image in the layout package. Images typically start in the RGB color space. This is the color space for your computer screen, digital cameras, scanners etc. Mainly because RGB will have a larger color gamut. There have been a number of advanced developements with images that allow the user to attach various color profiles within a single image to allow for a variety of uses (e.g. Print, web, digital billboard) but since we are working with the basics to start, we'll keep things more simplified and do the conversion by hand.


Unless you are using a monotone or duotone mode with specific PMS colors, the best color mode for printing a 4-color image is CMYK, the process colors used on the printing press. By doing the color conversion prior to printing, you will be able to determine if any color shifts occur, and use the tools in a program like Adobe Photoshop to correct the color so the printed result is more to what you expect. Here at Arvest, we can provide a color proof before the job is printed to catch any issues before they show up at presstime.


As a last point on resolution and color, typical resolution for the internet is 72 dpi with an RGB color space. Perfect for viewing on your computer screen but not for high end printing. If you choose to use an image from the internet the results will probably not be what you expected.


Next Blog: Vector Graphics.

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