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?
    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.

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.

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.
  • 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!

 Printing FAQs

  • 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 of 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 reflective quality than uncoated paper.
  • Collated
    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.
  • 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.



We are located at 5708 Upper 147th St. W., suite 108 in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  We moved from our Plymouth location to the former Apple Valley Kwik Kopy as of February 2, 2018.  With a long history of servicing the South of the River business community under previous local ownership, our Apple Valley design, print, and marketing center is excited to offer the commitment and enthusiasm that comes from local ownership combined with AlphaGraphics’ high-quality standards.


AlphaGraphics was founded in 1970 in Tucson Arizona and has grown to a worldwide company with more than 260 independently owned and operated business centers.  If you’re looking to increase your visibility choose AlphaGraphics, a global leader in print and marketing communications. 


Our website offers vital information from some of the leading experts in printing innovation that can be found on our blog as well as our social media.  Here are just a few of the topics recently posted to our AlphaGraphics blog.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to receive the latest news and information in design, marketing and print.


Our portfolio of products and services are part of a broad range of marketing, sign, and print solutions.  Some of the top-notch quality printing projects we do include: brochures, presentation materials, catalogs, letterhead and more.  Contact us to talk to one of our knowledgeable and experienced reps as to what paper, color and print process makes the most sense for your project.


Because we are industry leaders when it comes to our team of experts, our cutting edge technology and our innovative marketing and design solutions.  When you choose AlphaGraphics, you get certified accuracy, consistency and quality.  How?  Because we created a Quality Management Program that ensures every project meets the highest quality standards.  Let us show you why our motto is “can do”!


Our Apple Valley commercial print center offers print, marketing and sign services in Apple Valley and the south metro, including Eagan, Burnsville, Lakeville and Rosemount. 



We moved from our Plymouth location to the former Apple Valley Kwik Kopy located at 5708 Upper 147th St. W., Suite 108 as of February 2, 2018.  The previous local ownership had established a long history of servicing the South of the River business community.  We wanted to combine that local history with our own history and experience in upholding AlphaGraphics’ high-quality standards.


AlphaGraphics started in Tucson Arizona in 1970 and has grown to a worldwide company with more than 260 independently owned and operated commercial printing centers.  We are a global leader in print, sign, and marketing communications.  Want to increase your visibility?  Contact your local AlphaGraphics to learn more.


One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in design and marketing is to follow the leading experts in these fields.  Our website provides some vital information on design innovation in the form of our blog and social media.  Here is a sampling of the topics recently posted to our Apple Valley commercial print center blog:

●       Strategies for successful healthcare marketing

●       Three things you can do to make your tradeshow booth stand out

●       How to increase conversions and avoid banner blindness

●       Five tips for designing large format graphics

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to receive news and information that can help boost your design and marketing strategy.


We have a broad range of design and marketing solutions.  Our portfolio of products and services range from design & marketingsign and print solutions.  We provide top quality design for projects that include: logo design, promotional products, mobile and online marketing, and graphic design.  Stop by anytime and talk to one of our knowledgeable and experienced reps as to what design solution makes the most sense for your project.


If you want your customers to recognize your brand and associate it with quality, a professional design and marketing strategy is a must.  When you work with our experts, you get certified accuracy, consistency and quality.  How?  Because we created a Quality Management Program that makes sure every project meets the highest quality standards.  Start working with us today!

Still have questions?

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

Contact Us