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.

Printing FAQs In Wilmington, NC

As a premier business print center, we take great pride in our craft and welcome any questions you may have about the printing industry.

High Performing Print Technology

Here are some common questions we get asked from our valued customers. To see a full listing of our services, check out the Products & Services area of our website.

What is PMS?

Used to maintain color consistency, PMS means Pantone Matching System, which is used to catalog colors by designating each color a unique number.

What types of paper do you use?

We have a large selection in-house and if you need something different we work with our paper vendors to get it for you.  Common types include: coated (matte, gloss or dull), cover (used for books or presentation folders) and cast-coated which has a high-gloss reflective finish.

Is there a minimum order quantity?

No, we can accommodate any order size!

AG Printing Products

Our passion for printing shows in the breadth of products we offer.  Here are just a few of our comprehensive print offerings:

Not only do we offer the highest quality print technology, we also have eco-friendly printing policies to reduce your carbon footprint.  Contact us today to learn more about how our signage solutions can make your business stand out in the crowd!  Or, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to broaden your knowledge of print, marketing, and signage!

Our Story - Our Mission

AlphaGraphics is a worldwide company founded in 1970 in Tucson, Arizona.  There are over 260 independently owned and operated business centers. Here in Wilmington, NC, we opened our doors on South College Road in 2009.  We offer a one-stop shop for all of your marketing, sign, and printing needs.  We've built a team with a deep skill set and invested in a broad arsenal of equipment so we have the tools, experience, and motivation to create a stunning success from your next project. Learn more about our Wilmington, NC print center and team on our About Us page.

Areas We Serve

Our Wilmington, NC print center, located on College Road, is a full-service print and marketing company serving Wilmington and the surrounding communities of Leland, Burgaw, Southport, Shallotte, Oak Island, Rocky Point, Castle Hayne, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Bald Head Island.

Design FAQs In Wilmington, NC

Whether it’s for a website, building sign, or brochure, the design is the key to providing an engaging experience to your target audience. It requires well-executed planning and communication in order to achieve your marketing goals. Here are some answers to some frequently asked topics that we run into at our Wilmington, NC print center to help you navigate the process!

Nuts & Bolts Of Design

How does design impact my business and brand?

A strategically designed brand uses imagery and color to create impact and desirability of a product or service.  A good design also provides credibility and brand recognition vital to growing sales and visibility.

What goes into creating a design?

Once a brand identity is established our designers take many elements into account when designing.  First, our design team looks at your company logo, color and design. After that depending on the size and substrate you choose, they look at typography, color, photography, illustrations, layout, style and content.

What types of products benefit from using design services?

All types of products need good design in order to get noticed.  A poorly designed logo, website, or promotional product gives an unprofessional visual that won’t help get the results you’re looking for.  Some of our striking graphic design products include logos, corporate identity, large format printing, and brochures.

What do you need in order to start a design project?

We prefer PDFs (Portable Document Format) with a minimum 1/8” bleed and crop marks as well as resolution set to 300 dpi.  To ensure your artwork fonts will print correctly send them as outlined objects in your original file.

How do I get started?

It’s easy, simply fill out an online estimate request form or contact us to speak to one of our customer service team members.

What is your turn-around time?

Once we receive approval, most of our projects take 24-48 hours to complete.  Offset printing can take longer. If you need it fast, let us know when you request a quote and we’ll look into our print production schedule.

Areas We Serve

Our Wilmington, NC print center, located on College Road, offers design and printing services in Wilmington and the surrounding communities of Leland, Burgaw, Southport, Shallotte, Oak Island, Rocky Point, Castle Hayne, Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and Bald Head Island.

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