WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING
I feel as though the quality of my product was okay. I wish that the final product was the deepest black possible; however, I will be coming back to work with Alphagraphics primarily because of Brian Murdoch! His customer service was absolutely amazing and he went above and beyond for me unlike many other companies I've worked with. He treated my small scale business as though it is global. I cannot emphasize enough how service like his is one of the many reasons that businesses succeed. I will more than recommend the company solely based upon the experience I have. I was promised deadlines that were met and given recommendations for future products. Thank you sooooo much Brian for treating me like family!
Lola M. Lola McCall
The wedding invitations were perfect. The communication was spot on. Hence, the perfect invitation.
Valerie H. Valerie Hidlay
I feel that across-the-board the staff that I have worked with has been friendly, efficient, professional, and altogether had a good experience.
Marina R. Studio M for Good
You guys are always so responsive and I appreciate that you try to get us the best price. As a non-profit, that is especially critical. Your turnaround time is also impressive, even during the coronavirus pandemic you fulfilled our our quickly and thoughtfully. AlphaGraphics is always my first choice.
Shannon P. Chicago Youth Centers
Nothing to be honest. I just don't do much proactive recommending in my day to day life.
Micah B. Pure Storage
Everything was handled very quickly and professionally for me. Very happy with the service.
Joanna G. Joanna Gusich
Brian Murdoch has been great and he deserves a raise. The rep before him, Fergus Calderwood, became quite rude for some reason over time. I was ready to look for another graphic designer until I heard he was replaced. Make sure you keep people like Brian.
Justin J. Chicago Electrical Company
Emily is terrific!
Ruth F. Henri's Reserve
Francisco went above an beyond in customer service for me, dropping things off to my building since we are quarantined in a senior community. He was just great.
Marilyn D. Gold Coast Kitten Sittin'
very professional and timely service!
Hillary L. Saks Fifth Avenue
the decals for my business look amazing!!! It was a great experience from beginning to end! Thank you so much!
Joel E. Rosie,s Furniture Restoration Corp
Brian and his team at AlphaGraphics do excellent work. Brian has a deep knowledge of the printing industry and all the print and large format products at his disposal, and is very thorough with his clients to develop an understanding of the project at hand and provide the best solution. He and his team are fantastic at meeting deadlines and communicating throughout the course of a project. I highly recommend Brian and AlphaGraphics for all digital printing, small and large format printing and signage needs.
Matt D. Doubletake Promotional Marketing
Emily is excellent to work with
Amalia R. Options Solutions
Brian is always a pleasure to work with and I have always received service exceeding my expectations. I will continue to order from Brian at AlpharGaphics and hope to bring more business to them with my growing needs!
Jane S. Redwood Logistics
Our order was produced quicker than expected!
Laura L. Capitol News Agency
I have to send a couple of emails to get a response to my request.
Beverly S. Hyatt Centric Mag Mile
Thank you for the speedy turnaround and delivery!
Rosie F. Logan Square Chamber of Commerce
We have always enjoyed excellent service from AG Chicago North and are very happy to continue using their support.
Tony J. Medical Expressions Ltd
I've used you for the last two years for an event that we attend in Chicago. Your staff, particularly Emily and Ken, are fantastic and extremely helpful and patient. In addition, your printed products are high quality and I've always been extremely satisfied with every item you've done for us.
Rio P. Clio
Very quick and helpful
Luisa H. Crown and Conquer
Ken D. has been great to work with. Our orders have all looked professionally produced and delivered with great turn around times. He’s leaving today for a few days off and I told him I was going to have a hard time coping with him not being a phone call away. He deserves a break.
Barry S. Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church
My alphagraphics experience is always fantastic. The turnaround is fast and the quality is great.
Max B. Max Bare
I was attending a tradeshow in Chicago and needed two signs to be printed quickly. I called two days before and wasn't sure if it could be done. I received an immediate response from the team and my order was placed and ready to be picked up the day I landed in Chicago.
Carrie C. Open Implants
prompt service, quick turn-around, very easy to order and pay
Geoffrey S. Eris Innovations
I will return, in the very near future, with a couple of small projects. Thank you for your help.
Caroline G. Chicago Women Take Action
Picking up my order was confusing. No one was in the office.
Ashley S. ENTER
Fast service and communicate good
Janice N. University of Chicago - Global
Brian and team were awesome. We were under a very tight timeline for our project. Brian was able to quickly triage our needs, pull the right resources together and deliver a 30 page document that exceeded our expectations.
Karyn L. Conagra
AlphaGraphics will do everything they can to make sure you're happy with the final product. Brian, from Chicago, is especially fantastic to work with in this regard!
Will W. Foxtrot
As a small nonprofit, we genuinely appreciate AlphaGraphics’ reasonable pricing, top-notch customer service, and attention to detail. They are our go-to!
Stephanie A. Chicago Appleseed Fund For Justice
Alphagraphics was quick in response and turn around time. Quality of work did not suffer with short turn around time!
Kelsey C. NCSA Athletic Recruiting
Emily was great to work with! Very responsive and provided a lot of support through the process.
Lena E. Lena Elkhatib
Parameters for postcard promotion design were communicated very clearly from Brian. The design was excellent and delivery right on time.
Robert S. Robert Shiverts Photography
I admit to not always knowing exactly what I need, but the staff always helps me understand my choices and make the best one.
Matt Y. Matt Young
Utilizing Alphagraphics design services greatly improved on our original idea. The price was fair, the turn around was great. Everything went smooth.
Joseph A. Prison Yoga Chicago
Y'all always pull through with quick turnaround requests, and the quality is great. Thanks to the team on Evergreen St!
Luke B. NEXT/NOW
Sarah L. City Club of Chicago
Staff was very attentive and responsive
Robert E. Lavoll & Edger
Char is the best - could not survive without her.
Kati K. Convene Chicago
I’ve had nothing but great service working with Charlotte, not only is she knowledgeable but she’s great fun to work with.
Michael B. Bostrom (CCG)
It was fast and reliable. Good service overall.
Darwin R. Heartland Alliance - AG Online Ordering
Great customer service and quick turn-around!
Abraham C. Levy Restaurants
Quality service delivered on time at a fair cost..
Rand S. Rand Sparling
Ken has been great. I often refer clients your way. Ken has made many projects possible for us that would have been out of reach.
Aaron S. Fast Signs
I've worked with Brian on a couple different projects and he is always a pleasure to work with.
Tomer B. Tomer Blackburn
It was great! Quick, convenient, easy to communicate with - great finished product as well!
Kathy R. Professional Sports Catering
Great service, great product- thank you so much!
Anna G. University of Chicago - Medicine
Brian Murdoch is an excellent Acct Exec
Jeff K. Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
Emily has been wonderful To work with. Replies quickly to my emails and hit my tough deadlines
Mckensie K. GTI
customer service has been good! i appreciate the willingness to print proofs for us so we can make an informed decision
Emily B. SpaDerma
ALL ABOUT PRINTING
ARE THERE PRINT SIZE LIMITATIONS?
Yes, and no. Our digital copiers will take sheet sizes as small as 4.25” x 5.5” up to 13” x 19”. Traditional offset can accept sheet sizes up to 12” x 18”. Our in-house large format printers can produce graphics up to 41.5” wide. If you have specific questions about our sizing options, please do not hesitate to give us a call.
WHAT IS A PROOF AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
In printing terms, a proof is a one-off copy of your document after all modifications and printing setup processes have been completed. It is your last, and best, opportunity to make sure that your print job comes out the way you envisioned. By carefully inspecting the proof, you can help ensure an accurate, flawless delivery of your print job the first time.
DO YOU REQUIRE MINIMUM QUANTITIES ON ANY OF YOUR PRODUCTS?
Nope! Some printing methods may be more cost-effective than others, but our professional staff are happy to work with you to determine which printing method is best for your project.
DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COLOR SEPARATIONS OR HALF-TONE PRINTING TO GET MY JOB COMPLETED?
Absolutely not! We handle all the "back-end" production for you.
The terms are pretty easy to understand, though. Color separation refers to our offset printing process, where we use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black in four separate plates that go directly to the press. These four colors can create almost any color you can imagine!
Half-tone printing refers to converting a solid tone of black ink or one color into tiny dots that are invisible to the eye to create your image. You see a solid image, but it’s really created from the spacing of these tiny dots.
IS WHITE CONSIDERED A PRINTING COLOR?
Not typically. Because white is the default color of paper, it is simply recognized as the absence of ink.
WHAT PAPER TYPES DO YOU OFFER?
We have a large collection of “house” stocks in our production area. If you have a specific style in mind, we can check our in-house inventory to see if our selection is able to match your tastes. Or, we’ll check with our paper vendors to see what they have on hand. Keep in mind that special stocks or materials may require bulk purchasing from suppliers.
WHAT IS THE PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM?
The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color reproduction standard in which colors all across the spectrum are each identified by a unique, independent number. The use of PMS allows us to precisely match colors and maintain color consistency throughout the printing process.
WHY DO THE PRINTED COLORS LOOK DIFFERENT THAN THE COLORS ON MY SCREEN?
In short, printers and monitors produce color in different ways. Monitors use the RGB (red, green, blue) color model, which usually supports a wider spectrum of colors. Printers use the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model, which can reproduce most—but not all—of the colors in the RGB color model.
Depending on the equipment used, CMYK generally matches 85–90% of the colors in the RGB model. When a color is selected from the RGB model that is out of the range of the CMYK model, the application chooses the closest matching color. Programs like Adobe Photoshop will allow you to choose which color will be replaced; others may not. We’ll provide you with a sample print right before we print your job to ensure a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" final product.
COMMON PRINTING TERMS
BIND: To fasten sheets with wire, thread, glue, or by any other means.
BINDING: A name given for any of many procedures used to put pages together.
BLEED: Printing that goes to the edge of the sheet. Trimming is required to make the printing run to the edge of a sheet.
CAST-COATED: Coated paper with a high- gloss reflective finish.
COATED PAPER: Paper with a clay or other coating applied to one, or both, sides. The coating can be dull, gloss, matte, or a number of other finishes. Coated paper generally produces sharper, brighter images and has a more refelctive quality than uncoated paper.
COLLATE: To put pages in a certain order for binding.
COLOR CORRECTION: Methods of improving color separations and definition.
COVER PAPER: A heavy printing paper primarily used to cover books or make presentation folders.
SIDE-STITCHING: Stapling through the spine from front to back. The publication will not lay flat when opened.
CROP: To trim a picture, image, or printed sheet.
CROP MARKS: Printed lines showing where to trim a printed sheet.
GLOSS: A shiny paper coating that reflects light.
LAMINATE: To cover with protective film. Also used to bond or glue one surface to another.
MATTE FINISH: Dull paper or ink finish.
OFFSET PRINTING: Printing which involves a plate that makes an inked impression on a rubber-blanketed cylinder, which, in turn, transfers it to the paper.
PERFECT BINDING: An unsewn, flat-spined book binding made with glue.
RESOLUTION: The degree of sharpness of a computer-generated image as measured by the number of dots per linear inch in a hard-copy printout or, the number of pixels across and down on a display screen.
SADDLE-STITCHING: A type of binding that uses wire stapling at the center of a magazine or pamphlet.
SCORE: Creasing paper to help it fold more neatly.
WHAT TYPES OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
AlphaGraphics is a full service marketing communications provider, and offer a wide range of products and services. To see a full listing of our services, check out the Products & Services area of our website.
WHAT TYPES OF MARKETING TECHNIQUES CAN YOU ADD TO MY PRINTED MATERIALS?
OUR MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING OPTIONS INCLUDE:
- QR Codes
- 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 in concert with your printed communications to improve your ROI.
MORE OF YOUR PRINTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Types of paper: There are two main types of paper; coated and uncoated. As the name suggests coated paper has a coating applied that makes it appear smooth. Uncoated stock has no coating and can appear slightly textured to the touch.
Coated papers tend to give colors a more vibrant finish. It is important to note that when choosing a PMS color, the end result will appear duller and deeper on an uncoated stock and brighter on a coated stock. This is mainly due to the uncoated stock absorbing more of the ink. Uncoated stock is ideal for using for corporate stationery, writing pads or projects where a textured finish is required. Coated stocks are best used for brochures, catalogues, flyers or posters, any kind of marketing or promotional material where the desired end result is a glossy finish or bright colors. Increasing awareness of the environment and climate change has meant that there are also a greater amount of environmentally responsible fiber sources available. These include Recycled fiber and alternative fiber.
Whether you are stopping by our offices at 444 N Michigan or our production house at 811 W Evergreen we have samples of every paper you could want. We also offer hardcopy proofing for prints so that you can see how the print looks on the paper you selected before making your order.
CMYK vs Pantone Color: As noted in our article on Sign Design and Production, color plays a huge role when considering print media. Color can sway thinking, affect mood, change actions and cause reaction. There are two main ways to print color, Process - CMYK and PMS - Spot.
In four-color process (CMYK) digital or offset printing, primary colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black or the 'Key' color) are mixed together to produce any and all of the colors that are seen in magazines and color books. This is often referred to as a ‘full’ color print.
Spot colors, also known as PMS colors, and officially as the Pantone Matching System colors, are specific color formula's used in offset printing that will reproduce accurately in print. Instead of simulating colors by combining the CMYK primary colors, spot (PMS) colors are pre-mixed with existing and published color formulas. Because of this, you can rest assured that the PMS color that you have chosen from your pantone booklet will be matched accurately every time. The use of CMYK or PMS colors largely depends on the print process you choose for your prints…
TWO COMMON TYPES OF PRINTING
Digital vs Offset Printing: The vast growth of digital printing technology has brought a number of technical advancements, exciting new features and more options to today’s commercial printing. It's also brought some confusion. An understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of digital printing and how those compare to traditional offset printing is critical in making the right choice in terms of price and end result.
Offset printing is the most common high volume commercial printing technology. With offset printing, the desired print image is burned onto a plate and is then transferred (or offset) from the plate to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface. The process is based on the repulsion of oil and water. The image to be printed gets ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free. Digital printing eliminates many of the mechanical steps required for conventional printing, including making films and color proofs, manually stripping the pieces together and making plates.
Advantages of digital printing include:
- Shorter turnaround.
- Every print is the same. More accurate counts, less waste and fewer variations.
- Cheaper low volume printing. While the unit cost of each piece may be higher than with offset printing, when setup costs are included digital printing provides lower per unit costs for very small print runs.
- Variable Data Printing is a form of customizable digital printing. Using information from a database or external file, text and graphics can be changed on each piece without stopping or slowing down the press.
But, there are also many advantages to offset printing:
- High image quality
- Works on a wide range of printing surfaces including paper, wood, cloth, metal, leather, rough paper and plastic.
- The unit cost goes down as the quantity goes up.
- Quality and cost-effectiveness in high volume jobs. While today’s digital presses are close to the cost/benefit ratio of offset for high quality work, they are not yet able to compete with the volume an offset press can produce.
- Many modern offset presses use computer-to-plate systems as opposed to the older computer-to-film work flows, further increasing quality
We offer both offset and digital printing services at our production house at 811 W Evergreen Ave. Stop by anytime and talk to one of our experienced reps as to what paper, color and print process makes the most sense for you project.