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Design FAQs
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444 N. Michigan, Suite 1200
Chicago, Illinois 60611
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YOU'VE GOT PRINTING QUESTIONS. WE HAVE ANSWERS

Wondering how to turn your ground-breaking vision into a high-impact visual? Need a short run print project for your corporate event next week? Whatever the job, AlphaGraphics marketing and print professionals have you covered.

Check out the answers to some of our most frequently received questions below. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us right now and a friendly team member will be happy to assist you.

ORDER QUESTIONS

HOW DO I GET AN ESTIMATE?

You can fill out an online estimate request form, or call and talk with one of our team members.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY ORDER TO BE COMPLETED?

Most jobs take 24-48 hours to complete once approval is received; though offset press projects take longer. If you’re working within a time constraint, let us know when you call for a quote. We can look at our print production schedule to ensure that you will meet your deadline.

DO YOU OFFER DELIVER AND PICK-UP?

Yes, we offer free local delivery and pickup of your projects within our main service areas.

Design FAQs

FILE DETAILS

WHAT FILE FORMAT IS PREFERRED FOR DIGITAL DOCUMENTS?

We prefer PDFs (Portable Document Format) with a minimum 1/8” bleed and crop marks. Most office and design programs allow you to save or export your files into a PDF format. Occasionally, the original file may be needed if artwork edits are required.

WHAT RESOLUTION DO MY PHOTOS AND GRAPHICS NEED TO BE SET TO?

Resolution should be set to 300 dpi. Pictures and graphics pulled from the internet are often low resolution, typically 72 dpi or 96 dpi. Avoid these graphics, as they will appear pixelated and blocky when printed. Also, save all photos in CMYK mode, not RGB when possible. Images saved in RGB mode may not print properly. If you are unable to save your image in CYMK mode, please let us know.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY FONTS WILL LOOK CORRECT?

The best way to ensure your artwork fonts will print correctly is to send them as outlined objects in your original file. If your program doesn’t allow this, packaging or sending us the fonts will work as well. If you have a question about how to send your fonts properly, please call us and we’ll be glad to help.

 Design FAQs

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT TYPES OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?

AlphaGraphics is a full service marketing communications provider, and offers a wide range of print, marketing, design, and sign services. To see a full listing of our services, check out the What We Offer area of our website.

WHAT TYPES OF MARKETING TECHNIQUES CAN YOU ADD TO MY PRINTED MATERIALS?

OUR MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING SOLUTIONS INCLUDE:

  • QR Codes
  • PURLs
  • SMS and MMS marketing
  • Video production and editing
  • Variable mapping
  • Social media marketing
  • Mobile optimized websites, and so much more!

 

Call our team today to learn more about the tools we can use with your printed communications to improve your ROI.

CHICAGO'S TOP FAQ'S ON DESIGN SERVICES

At Alphagraphics Chicago North, we offer full-service in-house graphic design solutions for any of your project needs. Our Alphagraphics representatives can assist with projects as complex as fully designing a new logo for your company or as simple as making edits to company business cards, and everything in between. Below we have compiled some frequently asked questions our Chicago clients typically have for us.

 

How do you charge for graphic design services?

At Alphagraphics Chicago North we charge by the hour, starting at a minimum of 15 minutes. This will run at just under $20, and increases in increments of 15 minutes. Your Alphagraphics representative will help to determine total design time and cost based on your project’s specific needs. If the estimate your Alphagraphics representative gives you is over the project’s finished design time, your price will reflect this change. If the estimate is over we will contact you first and re-estimate your project’s design time before proceeding.

 

Will I see the progress of my project during the designing process?

We strive to have every customer 100% satisfied with their project every step of the way at Alphagraphics Chicago North. We do this by providing complementary digital proofs which we can be updated with any changes you might have before ultimately being printed.

 

What file types should I provide for design work?

A vector file in a pdf or Ai format is preferred if available. This will allow our designers to modify the artwork as needed for your project. If these are not available a high resolution jpeg or png may also work.

 

I want to use specific fonts and colors in my project. Will you have these?

At Alphagraphics Chicago North we have will have most standard fonts found on a Mac or Windows computer. If your particular font is not available you can either send us a packaged file of your font or we can find a close substitute. If you have a particular color in mind, let your Alphagraphics sales representative know the specific CMYK or Pantone color code and we will make sure this is used.

 

What types of files will I receive after my project is finished?

We can supply a range of file sizes, resolutions, and types depending on your project’s specific needs. Let your Alphagraphics sales representative know and we can have these packaged for you.

 

I need something designed for tomorrow. Is this possible?

This will depend on the current design and production schedule as well as the scale of the project. Contact your Chicago Alphagraphics representative to consult you.

 

Still have questions? Give us a call!

 

 

 

Common Design Terms

 

Crop Marks - also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your publication’s sheet or sheets of paper to show the printer where to trim the paper. They are used by commercial printers for creating bleeds where an image or color on the page needs to extend all the way to the edge of the paper. 

 

Bleed - refers to graphics or design elements which extend beyond the print edge of your design piece. A bleed ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document. 

 

CMYK - refers to the four inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). This is not to be confused with RGB (red, green, blue), which should only be used for elements being shown on a screen.

 

Pantone (PMS) - is a standardized color matching system, utilizing the Pantone numbering system for identifying colors. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a Pantone numbered color, making sure colors match without direct contact with one another.

 

Vector - is created using vector illustration software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, which uses mathematic equations and geometric primitives (points, lines, and shapes) to create art that is clean, camera ready, and can be scaled infinitely, without any loss of quality or fidelity.

 

DPI (dots per inch) - refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity, for example printed onto paper.

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