Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions and important things to know. If you have any further questions or have a question you cannot find below, please send us an email to or give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.

Artwork & Printing

For information about document sizes and specifications, bleeds, and files we accept visit our How To Prepare page.

Why does the color on my monitor look different than what I received?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions in the printing industry. The answer is very simple. First of all, there are millions of different types of monitors and monitor settings. Some are very bright, some are dark, some are average quality, some are great quality, etc. Also monitors use RGB, Red, Green, Blue, to show colors. Taking this into consideration, the most important thing now is the fact that a monitor has the ability to create a more vivid and intense color than actually possible. The reflection of the light going into your eye from the monitor, will give you a different color and brightness than the light reflecting the paper then going into you eyes. The monitor creates a light, while as the paper relies on the reflection of the ambient light, which is also different from place to place, to reflect an image into your eyes causing a different appearance.

What is OVERPRINT? How does it effect my design when printed?

Leaving any particular object or text in overprint in which the color is not black, will dramatically effect the outcome of the printed artwork. What OVERPRINT tells the press to do (when enabled) is to print every color then print the desired on top. For example, when you have a solid red background of cyan 0%, magenta 100%, yellow 100%, and black 0%, and you wish to apply BLACK text on top, what will happen is the press will print the solid background then print the BLACK text on top. If you do the same but with GREEN text, the color will now change. See below.

Does City Colors print with actual offset ink?

Yes. City Colors only prints with real offset ink. We do not use toner or anything other than waterless offset ink.

If I provide a color proof, will you match it on press?

No. We do not match any proofs on press. We print directly from your digital file.

At what resolution should I submit my files?

Files should be submitted at least at 300 DPI. Submitting a file less than 300 DPI might cause it to look bad. On the other hand, when submitting a file at a higher resolution than 300 DPI it generally will make the file much larger in size but it will not make it look any better.

Why does the text look pixelated?

When the text is pixelated it means the file is a bitmap file (TIFF, JPEG, PhotoShop File, etc.) In order for the text NOT to be pixelated it needs to be vector artwork (Illustrator, Quark, Corel, etc.) Sometimes bitmap files don't look as pixelated as previous times or look more pixelated than previous times. This is due to color contrasts used to create the artwork and also file resolution might be a factor.

When I design with a border, is the border going to always be even all around?

When designing with a border, the more space you leave around the card, the better the card will look. If you leave very little room, any minor factor will cause the card to be slightly uneven either to bottom or left to right. This is completely normal in the printing industry. There are many reasons why this occurs. First of all, whenever you buy paper it comes cut to a size many times by a guillotine. If it is guillotine cut, there is a very good chance that the paper will be slightly smaller or uneven in some parts. After this, the paper is fed into printing machine. There is some tolerance also in the press. The next step is UV coating (if applicable). After, it gets either slit or again guillotine cut to get to the final size. Any minor movements thru out these processes may make a difference even as large as 1/16th of an inch in any type of printed piece. Ultimately, it is not recommended to design with borders, but if its necessary, we will make a great effort to try to keep the job as good as possible but always remember there is some inevitable tolerance that must be taken into consideration.

What is a Gang Run? Does City Colors do Gang Runs?

A gang run is basically a sheet with multiple orders of multiple clients being placed on it to divide cost of production among many clients and to be able to offer very competitive pricing to our customers. The only down side is colors may vary from one time ordered to another because we cannot focus on any particular piece of art but instead we must focus on the entire sheet. Colors generally don't vary more than about 5%. City Colors does use this method of printing to offer competitive pricing. For example, on a 12" x 17" sheet we can produce up to 24 business card orders. On a run like this, up to 24 different clients will divide the cost making the price of 1000 business cards 4/0 be about $20 vs 1000 business cards 4/0 being about $480 which is the cost of the entire run.

What colors do you use to print? Can I use PMS colors?

City Colors ONLY prints in CMYK. No Pantone, PMS, RGB, etc. Very important, when sending colors that are not in CMYK the computer will often try to convert them to cmyk, but most of the time the computer conversion looks nothing like if the designer would physically try to make a cmyk combination out of it.

Why is printing heavy coverage or solids a problem?

Heavy coverages or solids is a pressmans nightmare. Lots of hickeys, banding, etc. It's not so much of a problem when printed on a large format press (20 x 29, 26 x 40) but nevertheless they maybe a headache at times and also the price of the job will be significantly higher. Here at City Colors we have two 13 x 18 Heidelberg QM DI presses and one 14 x 20 PressTek 52 DI. They are relatively small presses with a limited amount of inking rollers. The more inking rollers a press has, the smoother a large coverage job will look. The way City Colors likes to work is the right way. No matter how much a job costs or how much you are willing to pay, if we feel the job will print poorly (as far as coverage is concerned) we will let you know.

What do I do if the size I want to print is not listed in the website?

When this happens what you should do is either give us a call or just select a size that what you want will wit into that particular size. For example, if you want a 5 x 8 choose 8.5 x 5.5 or if you want a 5 x 4 choose a 4 x 6. Usually its not a problem just specify it at the end of order online in the special requests box. If you want to be 100% sure give us a call.

Is there an extra charge for bleeds?

No. City Colors does not charge extra for bleeds. The artwork may or may not have bleed. It is up to you.

UV Coating

What is UV Coating?

UV coating is a liquid like a varnish with a lamination-like appearance used to instantly dry and shine printed paper. The liquid is applied with a coating tower on to the paper. After it passes through extremely intense Ultra Violet lights that instantly dry the ink on the paper. With the UV liquid City Colors uses, you well get extremely high gloss and shine as a standard for business cards and postcards. UV has many advantages. When UV coating is applied, the printed material will never fade off in someone's wallet or hand or even the sun.

Is UV Coating mandatory?

As of June, 9, 2008 UV coating became optional ONLY for 4/0 business cards. For all other business cards and post cards it is mandatory. Also it is optional for MOST of the "OTHERS" orders on 14pt covers.

Can I write or print on UV Coating?

Although there are people that have done this, City Colors does NOT recommend this at all!!! There are a number a things that probably can be used but we always say NO to writting and printing on UV.

General Information

If I have multiple orders, how do I submit the jobs?

It all depends on what are the orders. For example, if you have 3 orders with the same exact job specs (quantity, 4/_, paper, etc) then what you would do is put them all into one folder, compress that folder, and attach the compressed file into our website. When placing the order in this case, you would put the quantity x 3 (lots). If job specs are different, then you would have to place an order for each one individually.

What do I do if I need an order faster than what is on the website?

Whenever an order is needed at a faster turnaround time, give us a call and we will gladly give you a quote on what's needed.

If I need to cancel an order, is this possible?

City Colors will TRY to cancel an order for you, if possible. Due to our fast turnaround times, most of the time orders cannot be canceled or in some cases may only be cancelled for a fee. We will make a great effort to cancel an order but remember once an order is placed it is basically final.

What are all the turnaround times for orders?

City Colors can provide anywhere from 5 working day turnaround to even SAME-DAY service. Our standard turnaround times are 5 working days, 3 working days, 24 hours, and SAME-DAY service.

What are the payment terms?

City Colors does not offer credit to any customer. All orders must be payed in full by the time they are ready for shipment.

Is my information secure?

YES. Your information is secure with City Colors. We have top of the line software for protecting our customers information.

Will I always receive the exact amount and the exact size of what I order?

With City Colors 99% of the time you will receive more than what you ordered. We always print over than the desired quantity. You will never get less than what you ordered. GUARANTEED!!! As far as the final size, due to INEVITABLE tolerences in paper mills, on printing presses, and on cutters, the final size of your may vary slightly. For example, if you submit a 4 x 6 the final size can really be as small as 3 7/8 x 5 7/8 (3.875 x 5.875). This is a printing standard and completely ACCEPTABLE.

How many printing presses do you own? What are they?

City Colors currently owns 2 Presstek 52DI presses and a Heidelberg QMDI PRO press. The Presstek 52 DI is only used for business card and post card printing. All other jobs will be printed on Heidelberg DI Pro press which will not have the ULTIMATE sharpness of 300 LPI but it is still superior quality. The Heidelberg DI press prints at 1270 DPI and 150 LPI. The PressTek 52 DI press prints at 2540 DPI and at 300 LPI. As of December 18, 2006 The Presstek 52 DI is only used for business card printing. All other jobs will be printed on Heidelberg DI presses which will not have the ULTIMATE sharpness of 300 LPI but are still superior quality.

Order Pick-Up / Shipping

What freight carrier do you use for shipping?

We only use UPS for shipping. We do not have accounts with any of the other freight companies.

Can I use another carrier other than UPS?

You can use another company but its not recommended. You must schedule pick ups, fill out paper work, and make all other necessary arrangements. Once again we do not recommend this.

Can MY customer pick up the order if I wish?

This is 100% unacceptable. We do not allow your customer to pick up your orders. This is mainly to protect you from having them find out information on who you use to print your work. The only alternative is if you ship it to your customer. This we do allow.

Can I send a courier to pick up my job?

Yes you may. Once again you must do all the scheduling and be sure to give the courier YOUR company name.