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Online Printing Services PDF File Checklist

Thu, Aug 3, 2017 @ 02:04 PM Amber Gauthier 0 Online Printing

Online Printing Services PDF File Checklist header image

Our prices and times are based on you providing error-free, print-ready files. Correcting file errors may cost extra money and time. Take a few minutes to check your file using this handy checklist! Download the white papers throughout to learn about how to correct the problem itself.

Correct image resolution for online printing

1. Bleed, Trim & Safety

There are three main elements to know when setting up a document with a bleed. They are the bleed line, trim line, and safety line.

Bleed Line

Bleed = 1/8” (.125)

One important custom printing term to know is a bleed. Bleed refers to an extra 1/8" (.125) of image that extends beyond the trim area of your printing piece. The project is printed on an oversized sheet that is cut down to size with the appearance that the image bleeds off the edge of the paper.

Trim Line

Trim line indicates where to trim the printed sheet or where the edge of the paper is to ensure that the edges of the printed document are printed correctly. Similar to register or crop marks. The trim line is the final document size.

Safety Line

The safety line or inner margin is the area in which to keep all important elements (text, logo, and/or content) within to prevent them from trimming off. All important elements should be at least 1/8" (.125) inside the edge of the trim line. The cutting of your printed piece is done in large stacks and may vary from the top and the bottom of the stack.

Free Templates

Download White Paper: Adding Bleed


2. Page Count

We prefer that any booklet files be sent as single pages, not spreads. In your files, page 1 should be the front cover and the last page should be the back cover (see below).

Example for an 8 Page Document:

  • In the image below, Page 1 is the Front Cover
  • The Inside Front Cover is Page 2
  • The last page is the Back Cover, Page 8.

page count for an 8 page booklet

Download White Paper: Page Count

3. Accepted Files

accepted file typesThe preferred file format is a PDF file but we will accept  native files from these applications:

  • Photoshop (.psd)
  • llustrator (.ai or .eps)
  • InDesign (.indd)
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Word
    • If any Microsoft Word document is submitted, we require that you also submit a printable PDF document with your order.

We prefer PDF files but also accept .TIFF, .JPEG, .INDD, .PSD, .AI and .EPS file types. If you're working in a program not mentioned above, files must be exported as a PDF.

Download White Paper: File Formatting

4. Image Resolution

high resolution images vs low resolution imagesFile and/or image resolution should be set at 300 dpi to ensure that the final document is not pixelated (fuzzy) when printed.

Enlarging an image will lower the resolution while reducing an image will increase the resolution. Enlarging an image in a layout is NOT recommended. Images that are less than 300 dpi could reproduce poorly looking fuzzy or pixelated.

Images from the internet are not recommended, as most images are only 72 dpi.

An unfavorable image cannot be resaved as a different type of file. For example, you cannot place a gif file in Photoshop and resave it as an EPS file. This does not change the compatibility of the file. If you have to use low-resolution images we will print only after you consent to the quality.

Download White Paper: Image Resolution

font & transparency5. Font & Transparency

We recommend that all transparencies be flattened before file submission. We also ask that you set your fonts to outlines prior to file submission. Not flattening or outlining fonts can cause some items to fall off during file preparation for printing. Any files submitted without these things being done may result in items dropping out from your artwork during the conversion process needed to prepare your artwork for printing.

Download White Paper: Packaging Files Our prices and time frames are based on ordering online and providing error-free, print-ready files. File errors or extensive design edits may incure additional charges and/or delivery dates cannot be guaranteed. Ensure your files are correct before submitting them by following the requirements listed above!

Request Free Samples     Get Started!     Free Templates

Download Our White Papers for More Information:

Bleed       |       Page Count       |       File Format

Image Resolution       |       Packaging/Embedding Fonts

Saddle-Stitch Printing for Books, Calendars, Catalogs & Magazines

Saddle-Stitch Printing for Books, Calendars, Catalogs & Magazines header image

1. Sheets vs. Pages

1 Sheet has 2 sides diagramLet's start with a single sheet of paper. A single sheet of paper has 2 sides, a front side and a back side (shown in the diagram on the left).

1 Sheet = 4 Pages diagram

A single folded sheet of paper gives you 4 numbered pages, as shown on the right.

How you number your pages depends on the page count. Page counts range from 8 to 92 pages and must be divisible by 4 (8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and so on).

How to Count Pages in an 8 Page Booklet

Page CountGenerally, the page numbers are on the outside of each page in the upper or lower corner (see red arrows above).

Request Sample Pack       Request Sample Pack

2. Uploading Files

To Set Up & Upload an 8 Page Document:

  • In the image below, Page 1 is the Front Cover
  • The Inside Front Cover is Page 2.
  • The Inside Pages continue like the diagram below, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • The last 2 pages will be your Inside Back Cover (Page 7) and the Back Cover (Page 8).

Page Order

Upload Your Files       Get a Custom Quote

Types of Covers

3. Plus Cover vs. Self-Cover

It all starts with the paper - our three most popular paper choices for booklets are 80# & 100# Text (Gloss or Matte), and 80# Cover Cardstock.

  1. Self-cover is when the cover and the inside paper are the same weight. If you want self-cover, we recommend 100# Text (Gloss or Matte) for both the inside and cover papers.
  2. Plus cover is when the cover is thicker than the inside pages. If you want a booklet with a thicker cover, we recommend 100# gloss text with 80# gloss cover, which can be UV coated to give a luxurious, high gloss feel.


4. Portrait vs. Landscape

Saddle-stitch printing is available in portrait sizes: 5½ x 8½, 6 x 9, 8 x 8, 6 x 6, 7½ x 10; landscape sizes: 8½ x 5½, 9 x 6; and square sizes 8 x 8, 6 x 6. Custom sizes are also available.

Portrait vs. Landscape vs. Square

5. Our Process

After uploading your files, our pre-press department will review your designs to ensure they fit our file requirements and send you a proof. Once you approve the proof, you don't have to do anything more! Check out the steps below if you want to know what happens with your order before and after proof approval!

PrintingCenterUSA's Process Infograph

Now that you understand the difference between sheets and pages, which order to put your pages in, the different cover options and our process, we hope you have an easier time putting together your final design! If you run into any issues, please give us a call at 800-995-1555.

Get Started Today

Program Fundraising, Advertising Ideas & Sales Tips

Fri, Jun 30, 2017 @ 09:32 AM Amber Gauthier 0 Online Printing program printing

Program Fundraising - Advertising Ideas and Sales Tips header image

A huge way programs make money for non-profit organizations, schools and businesses is the advertising. Program advertising can be sold to businesses and families, which can help to cover the cost of the program and add a nice profit to your bottom line! Not only are you creating a program that is beneficial, you become a prime source of ad space that sponsors are going to want to take advantage of.

Lower Your Costs with Sponsorships

  • Inside look at advertising pages in a programMany organizations have had great success in obtaining sponsors to support the cost of printing their event programs before they go to press and adding extra profits from the sales of the programs.
  • Companies are often happy to buy exposure in programs, especially if it's presented to the viewer as "company X is proud to sponsor the Y team/college/event" etc.
  • Business owners who are alumni often like to sponsor their alma mater, especially if the exposure makes sense as advertising as well.

 Request a Quote       Instant Pricing

Possible School or Non-Profit Sponsors

Local Businesses:   Large Corporations:
  • Local hangouts
  • Credit unions
  • Auto shops
  • Insurance agencies
  • Pet supply retailers
  • Coffee shops
  • Convenience stores
  • Doctors
  • Fitness centers
  • Grocery stores
  • Photography studios
  • Realtors
  • Restaurants
  • Anywhere students, parents, members, contacts and supporters frequent and shop.
  • Cell phone companies
  • Fast food franchises
  • Large soft drink companies
  • Pet supply stores
  • National insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Use your imagination. What businesses would benefit from the exposure in your program?


  • Relatives, friends, colleges, customers, members, contacts and supporters of your school or non-profit organization.

Design Your Program

How to Sell Ad Space in Event Program Printing

  • Example of a personalized ad bought by family membersThe key is to show that advertising in your event program will benefit all parties involved and that it's a great way to advertise their business.
  • Know your estimated distribution.
  • Make sure the sponsor sees how they can benefit from the partnership and convince them that by buying advertising space in your program they’re making a smart marketing decision for their company.
  • Gain additional exposure to a large, lucrative markets (parents, students, relatives, friends, colleagues, customers, members, contacts, and supporters of your school or non-profit organization)
  • The business gets relatively inexpensive advertisement space compared to advertising in a newspaper.
  • It can also get some positive publicity by supporting your school or non-profit organization and the community

    Sports Program Design Tips

Who Should Sell the Advertising?

The students (teams, clubs, band members, cheerleaders, etc.) or members of your non-profit organization or business are your most powerful selling tool. They are what it is all about and proof that the money from the ad sales is going to a good cause. They can pre-sell the program advertising to sponsors thus ensuring an extra profit from the sale of the programs.

Don’t procrastinate. Take time to teach your students or members of your non-profit organization how to sell an ad and make sure they know:

  • What school or non-profit organization are they supporting?
  • What will the money will be used for?
  • When does the event program begin and end?
  • The size of ads and what they cost.
  • Where the ad will be placed.
  • And above all spread the enthusiasm to your sponsors, students, parents, families, friends, relatives, colleges, customers, members, contacts and supporters of your school or non-profit organization.

Ways to Increase Revenue

  • Ad sizes in a sports programAsk local businesses for help with funds in return for free product placement within the program.
  • Different size ads can be sold to sponsors (full page, half page, quarter page, business card size, eight up on the individual page).
  • Advertisers could put coupons and specials on their ads to entice them to buy their products or services.
  • Players can be sponsored by family, friends, businesses, members, etc.  Pictures ads of the student or members are purchased by the families and friends to show support and express best wishes for the student or member and gather support and enthusiasm from the community for your team, school or organization.
  • Sponsors page (list of businesses).
  • Keep a record of past sponsors to contact for next year's program.
  • Nothing will beat taking the time to call your local businesses personally.
  • Programs are sold at the game or event to make a profit.

Now that we've shown you how program advertising can make money for non-profit organizations, schools and businesses, take these tips and apply them to your own event program. Not only are you creating a program that is beneficial, you become a prime source of ad space for local businesses and sponsors. To get started today, give us a call at 800-995-1555 or click the button below to order online!

Get Started Today!

Aspire to Go Higher: Using a Theme to Set Your Coloring Book Apart

Thu, Jun 22, 2017 @ 07:52 AM Emily Hendrickson 0

Inside pages of "aspire to go higher" coloring book

With the coloring book trend at an all-time high, what can you do to make your coloring book stand apart from the rest? The answer: Pick a theme that resonates with your audience. I spoke with Rhonda Mincey to learn more about her coloring book: Aspire to Go Higher.

Rhonda is the owner of GREAT Success books, a division of the RG Mincey Group, LLC. She told me, “Our focus is to write books that encourage and inspire our readers. We consist of a husband-wife team and have authored books for teens, “A Girl’s Guide to Being Great”, and “A Guy’s Guide to Being Great”.

With these previous successes under their belt, Rhonda wanted to continue with the trend of producing positive content. She wanted to offer girls an escape from growing up too fast and a coloring book seemed like an ideal way to do that.

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She specifically wanted to produce a book that would help them “de-stress their minds, express their creativity and profess positive thoughts”. 

Partially colored example of the coloring book vs. black and white page

She initially planned on creating each page herself but after some trial and error she decided that it would be faster to achieve her vision by hiring a professional graphic designer. She ended up utilizing the services of three designers, two to work on the artwork for the inside pages and one to design the cover. This was a bit of a challenge because she had to find people who could capture the look and feel of what she wanted. I was surprised to hear this because the overall look of the coloring book is very cohesive. I think the reason it all came together so well was because Rhonda drafted each page and worked very closely with the designers to achieve her vision.

Find a Graphic Designer     Design Your Coloring Book

Rhonda found us through an online search and ultimately decided to print with us because she thought that our customer service was superb. She felt like we truly cared about her project and that we wanted to get it done right. Her advice for anyone with a print project is to do your research and get a sample (also known as a hardcopy proof) to ensure that the project is exactly what you want. When she received her hardcopy proof she said that it was “absolutely beautiful with vivid colors [on the covers]”.

The front and back cover of the Aspire to Go Higher coloring book

By sticking to a theme, Rhonda created a coloring book that stands out and resonates with her audience. We have printed coloring books with themes on nutrition, nature and even cats! There are no limitations to the different opportunities for coloring books right now. Rhonda chose to produce an uplifting coloring book designed to uplift and encourage young women, what will your coloring book promote?

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Ocean View Football Programs: Case Study

Mon, Jun 12, 2017 @ 04:59 PM Emily Hendrickson 0

OceanView-Mockup-Inside1.pngJeff Meyer, an amateur photographer with two sons participating in their high school’s football program, was volunteered by his wife when she found out they needed a new photographer and designer for the football program. Surprised to be chosen, but excited to help, Jeff started researching what he would need to put the programs together.

The Design

Ocean View's football program printing 2016Jeff initially wanted to use an online design tool to put the program together and the tool we have on our website caught his attention. While we do have a free online design tool and free design templates to help you get started, our customers are not required to use them. Jeff was already using Adobe Photoshop to edit his images and after testing several online design tools, he determined that they didn’t have as much flexibility as Photoshop. Since we do accept custom made files he ended up using Photoshop to design the program. 

Free Templates     Design Now

The Final Product

When designing the program, Jeff included several things that made the program look very professional. He included vital elements such as the upcoming game schedule, a welcome message, team and individual player photos, advertisements from local businesses and the school song. Personally, my favorite pages in the football program are the “Football 101” pages, which showed images of what the referee hand signals mean. Since they are a smaller school and don’t have a loudspeaker in their stadium, these pages help parents and fans understand what is happening on the field (which is definitely a plus if they are like me and don’t know a thing about football).  "Football 101" football program printing pages

Choosing the Print Shop

case-study_final---.pngOne of the biggest concerns small schools typically have when purchasing sports programs is the price. The reason they decided to order with PrintingCenterUSA is that we have the lowest price for what they were producing. They may not make much of a profit from selling their sports programs for only $6, but they continue to produce the programs for two main reasons. The first is that the fans like the quality and the information that the program provides. The second (and in my opinion more important reason) is that the programs serve as a memory book for the students. Since there are often several pages dedicated to the seniors, it serves as a keepsake of their high school days.

Tips & Advice

Inside football program pages with coaches and team photoBefore you start designing your program, Jeff advises having a written plan for the photography schedule. He said that as an amateur photographer, he had to learn a lot on his own and the biggest thing that made a difference was having a game plan. He plans the order that the photos will be taken (for example, group photos first, then individual pictures, then coach pictures last). He also brings helpers along who help get people organized during the photoshoot. He said that high schoolers get bored quickly, so it’s important to keep them engaged.

Sports Program Design Tips

With a written plan and some Photoshop skills, you too can create a professional program for your next sporting event. Be sure to include important information that the fans care about, and highlight the students. After all, we know that high school doesn’t last forever and a keepsake like this will be cherished for years to come.

Get Started On Your Program Today!