NCR Products: Sets, Pads or Books – which one is right for you?

When it comes to ordering an NCR product, which one you choose really depends on how you intend to use them, if its within an office environment and you already have your own filing system then Sets are probably fine, however if you want to keep everything together then Pads are a better option, if you need to have certain copies fast and others removeable then books is the only option.

NCR Sets
A4 NCR Set

NCR Sets are NCR sheets glued together usually at the head (top). Unlike pads that contain multiple sets, these are just a single set so you will need your own storage solution to contain the sheets.

NCR Pads

A4 NCR Pads

NCR Pads contain multiple NCR sets glued together usually at the head (top) to form a pad, this makes them easier to transport than sets as everything is contained in a pad.

NCR Books

A4 NCR Book

NCR Books contain multiple NCR sets stitched (stapled) into books either on the left or at the head (top). The books have a stub which is perforated to allow the removal of the sheets. NCR books are the most robust NCR option and unlike pads, you can choose to have all parts removeable or certain ones fixed in the book so there is no chance of certain sheets falling out.


Both pads and books contain 50 complete sets. They come with a 180gsm cover and a 270gsm backing board, they also come with a loose writing shield so that pen pressure is not transferred to multiple sets.

We hope you found this simple blog useful

Good Old Google Images?

There is no denying that Google is a fantastic resource for information and ideas, and at times it may seem like the go to holy grail for everything … but when it comes to sourcing images for print it may not be your best option.

3 reasons not to use google images for print:

  1. Ownership

    Images/graphics found on google belong to someone, whether that be a stock photography site, a free resource site, a Company or an individual.

    In the case of free resource websites that offer photos/graphics, most are generally fine to use. Royalty free stock photography websites are a fantastic resource. Both types of websites will generally offer print quality photos/graphics.

    In the case of images found on a Company website, they may have taken the photos themselves or hired a photographer, either way the images are legally their property.

    Tip: Always check where an image comes from before you decide to use it on your artwork.

    Tip: Some stock photography can only be used for editorial use and cannot be used for any kind of advertising, this includes both print and web. Its a good idea to check the licence of all photos before purchasing them.

     

  2. Quality

    Images/graphics found on google are optimised for websites and portable devices, this means that the quality is downgraded and is often not suitable for print.

    Web images are only 72dpi (dots per inch) whereas print images are 300dpi, as you can see from the below jpeg examples, the resolution makes a big difference because print is resolution dependent unlike web.

  3. Colour

    Images/graphics found on google use the RGB/Hex colour format, neither format can be printed without first being converted to CMYK.

    The example below shows the conversion process, as you can see there is a slight change in colour. However in some cases the change in colour can be quite dramatic, most noticeable on vivid colours.

    I hope you found this brief blog about google images helpful.

 

 

Which black should you use on CMYK artwork?

Black vs Rich Black

There are several ways to create CMYK black, this blog will show you how and why.

Types of CMYK black

1. 100% black (K)

Only 100% black (K) is used ie no other colour (C,M,Y) is added to the colour mix.

Example: C (0%) / M (0%) / Y (0%) / K (100%)

  • Best for small text, graphics and fine detail such as thin linework.
    Because only 100% black is used, there are no other colours to register with, so the print appears sharper.

    The example below shows small black text, the text has been enlarged so you can see better. The 100%K black is clear and sharp whereas the Rich black suffers from registration issues, this will make the text appear blurred at actual print size.
    BLACKTEXTTEXT

  • Bad for large areas of solid black
    Because ink is absorbed into the paper during the printing process the black loses some of its density, it can appear grey or washed out when printed, in this case it is always better to use a rich black.

The example below shows a solid block of 100% (K) Black against a Rich Black, as you can see Rich Black produces better results for large areas of black.

100 RICH

 

2. Rich Black (Dense Black) CMYK

For large areas of solid black, you should use a dense black which uses a mix of all 4 CMYK colours, there is no set recipe  for the mix and what you use all depends how your using it, see the examples below .

BLUE

If your content is mainly blue & greys then you would want to use a cool black, it adds a blue cast to the black.
Example: C (50%) / M (0%) / Y (0%) / K (100%)

red

If your content is mainly browns, reds and oranges then you would want to use a warm black, it adds a red cast to the black.
Example: C (0%) / M (60%) / Y (30%) / K (100%)

neutral

If your content doesn’t really have a dominant colour then you would want to use a neutral black, no cast is added to the black. 
Example: C (60%) / M (40%) / Y (40%) / K (100%)

As you can see from the above examples, you need to consider the colour of your content when choosing a rich black mix to get the best results.

Rich Black Tip

If in doubt about what mix to use, l would always recommend using neutral black, in my experience it almost always produces the best dense black out of the 3 choices above.


Important

Although there is no set mix for rich black, for best results the combined mix of all 4 colours must not exceed 240%. 400% being 100% of each colour.

Acceptable: C (60%) / M (40%) / Y (40%) / K (100%) = 240%
Not Acceptable: C (100%) / M (100%) / Y (100%) / K (100%) = 400%


 

Why just 240%?
Litho printing uses inks, the more ink applied to paper the wetter it gets causing set-off problems because the ink is unable to dry properly. The result can be sheets of paper sticking together and ink smudging. 240% mix is within ink tolerances and should be used whenever possible.

Paper also has a major factor on how quick the ink dries, a coated stock like art paper (flyers and leaflets) will perform much better than a non-coated stock (letterheads, NCR Paper). This is because the coating in the paper allows the ink to bond and dry quicker.

When to use a custom rich black

There may be times when you have no control over the black mix such as when it is already part of a photograph or graphic and this is fine, however if you intend on placing the photograph onto a document with a black background, it is important that all blacks match.

The following is an example of a stock photo that already contains a black background. 

girl

I have used the eyedropper tool within Photoshop to sample the black and this is the mix.

Black background mix: C (76%) / M (69%) / Y (64%) / K (86%)

You might be thinking, hang on you said there is a limit of 240% and this is 295%, this is true but in this case its fine. Unless you feel the need to re-colour the background of the photo in photoshop you can leave it has it it. The easiest option is always to match the document page colour to the black mix in the image.


Always make sure that you use CMYK for the document and all linked source files, otherwise the colour will never match.


In the below example, A warm black as been used for the document background but because the photo uses a different black they clearly don’t match, you can quite easily see all the edges of the photo. 

wrong

Compare the below example which uses the exact rich black mix for both the document background and photograph, you can instantly see the difference – the black is seemless, you can’t see any edges on the photo.

smallwithback

This blog only covered the basics of using CMYK black but I hope you found it useful.

 

 

Using a Promo Code

How to apply a Promo Code

If you have seen one of our Promo Codes through either email or social media you may be wondering where to apply the code on our site.
This simple guide will show you how.

Step 1
Choose the Product on our website which is on offer, in the example below it is a business card. Once you are happy with the options you have selected, click the Add to Cart button.

product page

 

Step 2
You can now either choose Continue Shopping or Go to Checkout, in this example we are going to choose Go To Checkout.

add to cart

 

Step 3
Your Shopping Cart will show which products you have in your basket, at the bottom you will see a small link which I have highlighted, it says I have a gift voucher or promo code, click this link.

PROMO CODE

 

 

Step 4
When you click the link, an empty box will appear underneath, type the Promo Code in the box, in this example its JAN10 and click the button to the right Add Code. Please Note: Promo Codes are case sensitive, so they must be typed exactly as shown.

add promo code

 

Step 5
Once you have applied the promo code you will see a description of the promotion, in this example it is 10% off everything and also the discount amount, in this case it is £1.58.

promo code added

I hope this guide was helpful

 

Why is it so much cheaper to have more printed?

If you have the same job printed regularly, having more printed but less frequently will save you money.

For every job that gets printed, there is a certain amount of time required for setup. Before we can go ahead and print the entire job, several checks are made. These will include checking the print quality, any potential flaws in the design and making sure the print is level on the paper etc. During this stage several test prints will be created, for digital print this could be just a few sheets but for offset printing (press) it could be several hundred.

Once the job is setup the entire order will be printed. Whether you have 1000 or 10,000 printed the setup time is the same, this is what makes larger quantity printing more economical.

our lingo – print and design terms

 

You may come across several print and design related terms whilst using our website that you are not familiar with, although this list is by no means complete, it will explain some of the more common terms.

 

Alteration – Is any change made by the customer after the proof has been received. The change could be in copy, specifications or both.

Application – The program used to produce artwork eg. Adobe Indesign, Corel Draw, Microsoft Word etc.

Artwork – All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing.

Binding – The joining of paper together with either glue, staples or other means.

Bleed – Refers to any print that extends beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off.

Bond paper – Type of paper commonly used for writing, printing and photocopying. Also called business paper, communication paper, correspondence paper and writing paper.

Carbonless Paper (NCR) – Is paper coated with chemicals that enable transfer of images from one sheet to another with pressure from writing. NCR products such as invoices, delivery notes etc use carbonless paper.

CMYK – Also known as process colour consists of 4 inks – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, which are mixed together to produce a wide and varied range of colours.

Coated paper – Paper which has been coated by a compound or polymer to impart certain qualities to the paper, including weight, surface gloss, smoothness or reduced ink absorbency. Art paper is an example of coated paper and it can be gloss, silk or matt.

Collate – To organize printed matter in a specific order as requested.

Creasing – Is a process that prepares the paper for folding by creating two parallel folding points, this puts less stress on the paper grain which results in a better finish with significantly less cracking on the fold. This is better for paper above 150gsm.

Crop marks  Crop marks, also known as trim marks, are lines printed in the corners of your document so we know where to trim the product.

Die Cut – To cut irregular shapes in paper or paperboard using a die.

Digitally printed – Print that is produced on a digital press using toners, it allows for fast production and is suitable for small quantities.

DPI – Short for (Dots Per square Inch) is a measure of output resolution in relationship to printers, imagesetters and monitors.

Emboss – To press an image into paper so it lies above the surface.

EPS – Short for (Encapsulated PostScript) and is a file extension for a graphics file format used in vector-based images in programs such as Adobe Illustrator.

Format – Size, style, shape, layout or organisation of a layout or printed product.

Font – A font is a set of printable or displayable text character’s in a specific style and size.

GSM – Short for (Grams per Square Meter) is the quality of the material, the larger the GSM number, the thicker the paper will be.

Imposition – Arrangement of pages so they will appear in proper sequence after printed sheets are folded and bound.

JPEG – Short for (Joint Photographic Experts Group) a standard used for compressed digital images.

Laminating – Transparent plastic film applied to one or both sides of a printed sheet to enhance its appearance and to protect the surface of the paper or board.

Litho printed – Also known as offset, is print produced on a printing press using inks, great for large quantities.

Panel – One page of a leaflet or brochure. E.g. A 3rd A4 leaflet has six panels, not three because its printed both sides.

PDF – Short for (Portable Document Format) is a file format used to exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Our preferred file type for supplying print ready artwork.

Perfect Bind – To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue.

Perforating – A line of tiny dotted holes applied to the paper for the purpose of tearing-off part of a printed product, our NCR books are perforated.

Printing Plate – A sheet of metal carrying an image to be reproduced using a printing press.

PrintReady  – Describes a file that has all the specifications necessary to print directly from the file, without any additional intervention or alteration. 

Proof – PDF proof to reveal errors or flaws, and show how a printing job is intended to appear when finished. Proofs are usually delivered via email.

Raster – Raster images are made up of dots called pixels, they ARE resolution dependent so increasing the size of the image will result in quality loss. JPEG, TIFF, GIF and PNG are all raster graphic files.

Resolution – Is the number of pixels (individual points of color) contained in a image.

Saddle Stitch – To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine.

Scoring – One stress point is created for the paper to fold, this is fine for 150gsm or below.

Solid – Any area of the sheet receiving 100 percent ink coverage.

Spiral Bind – To bind using a spiral of continuous wire or plastic looped through holes.

Stock – Is the type of paper/card which the product is printed on.

TIFF – (tagged image file format) used for digital images

UV Varnish – A clear gloss or matt varnish is applied to a printed product to enhance its look

Tint – Any area of the sheet receiving less than 100 percent ink coverage, tints are produced from dots.

Vector – Vector images are made up of points, lines and curves, they are NOT resolution dependent so you can scale to any size without loss of quality. AI, EPS and CDR are all vector graphic files.

Make it yourself! Tealight Terrors

MAKE IT YOURSELF!

 

LED TEALIGHT TERRORS

 

Our little LED battery operated tealight terrors make a great spooky Halloween decoration, we have four designs to choose from: pumpkin, skull, witches hat and a bat. You will need a craft knife for this one so it is not suitable for children. You will need a standard LED tealight (upto 50mm) (DO NOT USE traditional tea lights as it will be a fire hazard, you MUST USE LED battery operated tealights)

What you will need

  • Printer
  • A4 Card
  • LED battery operated Tealight
  • Craft Knife
  • Ruler & Coin
  • Glue or double sided sellotape

Step by Step

  1. Download the PDF, there are 2 pages, each page as 2 designs on
  2. Print the PDF onto A4 card
  3. Place a ruler on the fold lines and using a coin, press into the card and drag along each fold line, this will allow for easy folding later.
  4. Carefully cut away all white parts with the craft knife until you are left with just the black shape with internal details removed (see below example)
  5. Put either glue or double side sticky tape on the black side of the flap
  6. Fold the card inwards until it forms a rectangle shape and stick the glued flap to the inside (white) of the plain back panel (see below example)
  7.  Place on top of LED tealight

cut out tealight

Step 4 – Template cut out

 

folded tealight

Step 6 – Template folded up

 

LED tealight

LED battery operated tealight

 

DOWNLOAD BUTTON

 

Make it yourself! Severed Limbs Halloween Garland

MAKE IT YOURSELF!

 

Severed Limbs Halloween Garland

 

severed limbs garland

 

 

Our severed limbs garland makes a cool gruesome Halloween decoration, it’s easy to make but young children will need help from an adult.

Things you will need

Printer
A4 Card
Scissors
Pencil
Bluetack
String

Step by Step

  1. Download the attached PDF template, there are 2 pages in the template.
  2. Print several pages of hands and feet onto A4 card, how many you will need will depend on the length of string you will be using.
  3. Cut around each limb following the dotted line on the templates.
  4. Place a big ball of bluetack onto a flat surface, then put your card cut out on top, then using a pencil, push a hole through the white circle on the template.
  5. Thread string through each limb alternating the body parts. Attach the completed garland using bluetack.

 

DOWNLOAD BUTTON