Envelope Standards & Facts

January 11, 2010 by Brenda Bell · 2 Comments
Filed under: Finishing, Mailing, Paper 

With so many different shapes, sizes and categories, envelopes can quickly become very confusing. Here some info on the most common envelopes and their sizes to hopefully help make things a little clearer.

Commercial and official:
These envelopes normally have a commercial flap (standard flap), however some manufacturers offer a square flap version as well for certain sizes.
#6 1/4 envelope – 3.5625 x 6.25
#6 3/4 envelope – 3.625 x 6.5
#8 5/8  envelope – 3.625 x 8.625
#7 3/4  envelope – 3.875 x 7.5
Monarch – 3.875 x 7.5
#9  envelope – 3.875 x 8.875
#10 envelope – 4.125 x 9.5
#11 envelope – 4.5 x 10.375
#12 envelope – 4.75 x 11
#14 envelope – 5 x 11.5

Announcement envelopes:
These envelopes have a square flap.
A-2 envelope - 4.375 x 5.75
A-6 envelope – 4.75 x 6.5
A-7 envelope – 5.25 x 7.25
A-8 envelope – 5.5 x 8.125
A-10 envelope – 6 x 9.5

Baronial Envelopes (abbreviated “Bar”):
These envelopes have a baronial (pointed) flap.
#4 Baronial envelope
– 3.625 x 5.125
#5 Baronial envelope
– 4.125 x 5.5
#5 1/2 Baronial – 4.375 x 5.75
#6 Baronial – 4.75 x 6.5
Lee – 5.25 x 7.25

Remittance envelopes:
These envelopes have a statement or return flap
6 1/4 Remittance envelope – 3.5 x 6
6 1/2 Remittance envelope - 3.5 x 6.25
6 3/4 Remittance envelope – 3.625 x 6.5
#9 Remittance envelope – 3.875 x 6.5

Other Envelope Facts:

  • A Booklet envelope has the flap on the long side. For example, on a 9×12 booklet, the flap is on the 12 inch side.
  • A Catalog envelope has the flap on the short side. For example, on a 9×12 catalog, the flap is on the 9 inch side.
  • A converted envelope is when the envelope is printed on a flat sheet and then made into an envelope. This is opposed to printing on a preconverted envelope. A converted envelope is most economically feasible at larger quantities.
  • A square flap envelope with rounded corners is called a pictorial flap envelope. In most cases this is only available with a converted envelope.

Georgia State Graphic Design Students Take a Tour of Craftsmen

November 20, 2009 by Brenda Bell · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Educational, Press Releases 

On Wednesday, we were pleased to have Stan Anderson’s Senior Graphic Design students of Georgia State University take a tour of our facility to see the printing and graphics production process in action. Here are some pictures from the event taken with my phone.

Print’s Not Dead, It’s Just Getting Started

November 2, 2009 by alenz · 1 Comment
Filed under: Educational, Press Releases, Technology 

For a long time, print was the only way to communicate a message to the masses. Radio, television, and the web eventually came into the mix, giving users exciting new ways to reach their audience. Twitter, the Kindle, and smart phones continue to change the game every single day. 

Print has admittedly taken for granted it’s traditional role as the predominant medium, and other channels have been free to carve a huge chunk out of the marketplace for themselves. But other channels have their limits, and print still has plenty of tricks up it’s sleeve.

http://www.piag.org/TwainQuote.gifWhen I hear people saying “Print is Dead”, I am shocked at how little is known about its dynamic capabilities. Not only does print (traditional and digital) have a place “in the mix”, the print industry is a leader with its tried and true history of adapting to new technology and customer demand in order to stay relevant and innovative.

Printers are creating pieces that change copy and imagery according to our likes and dislikes, age, sex, income, etc. Through large format technology, entire buildings and vehicles are being wrapped in print. There are eco-friendly seed papers that can be planted after use, special varnishes and finishing processes that provide texture, glitter, pop, scent – the amazing experiences you can provide only through print are endless!

Right in our own backyard, Georgia’s printers are producing some of the most powerful and compelling examples of how print can be used better than any other medium. Ask your printer what they can do to make your next job stand out from the competition, and you’ll see their eyes light up as they tell you everything that’s here, and everything that’s coming. Printers are passionate about their craft, and for good reason. No other media offers the same visual, tactile, human experience…or has undergone the world-changing advancements that print has.

Ashley Lenz
The Printing & Imaging Association of Georgia (PIAG)
We believe in the power of print, that’s why Georgia Printer magazine, published by PIAG, recently teamed up with Envision Printing, Neenah Paper, & Scentisphere to produce our first-ever bubblegum scented cover. To request a copy, contact me at alenz@piag.org.

Graphics File Formats Demystified

Ever wonder when to use what file format and why a printer will not output from a .gif and a web designer cannot use your .eps?

Here is a listing and explanation of common files and the common uses of each:

First off, to fully understand the differences there are 2 terms that need to be defined; Vector graphics and Raster graphics.

A vector graphic is any graphic that is based off of math which in turn makes vector graphics resolution independent. What all of this printer babble means to you is that if you are using a vector graphic, you can stretch it or enlarge it to any size imaginable and it will still output nice and sharp because the graphic just recalculates the math. Another advantage of a math based graphic is small file sizes.

A raster graphic is a totally different story. Raster graphics are based off of pixels which are basically small chunks of information. For this reason, raster graphics are resolution dependent which means that there is a set amount of information contained in the graphic. If you enlarge the graphic, no real new information is created; which is the reason you see pixels and graininess in printed graphics that do not have enough resolution.

.ai – This is Adobe Illustrator’s native file format. Adobe Illustrator is the most popular vector graphics creation program and .ai files support layers. If your designer is using other Adobe programs for print and/or web design (such as Indesign CS4, Dreamweaver CS4 and/or Flash CS4) .ai files can be imported directly into those programs which makes this a good, high quality file format for your logos for use in print or on the web. Just be sure that that you convert all of your type to curves beforehand. Also, please note that in the final code that is uploaded to your webserver, an ai will be converted to a .jpeg or .gif by Dreamweaver.

.eps – This is also a vector file format and it stands for encapsulated postscript. Postscript is a computer language made to send to output devices such as printers, imagers etc. This is a high quality file format for print and mainly used for logos and similar graphics. Unfortunately, postscript does not display on your computer monitor very accurately so an eps is not a good choice for web graphics. Please note that this is not to be confused with a Photoshop eps which is a raster file format and not vector based.

.tiff – This is the preferred raster file format for printing. A .tiff is preferred for printing because it is considered a lossless file format which means there is not a compression system applied to the graphic that throws away your precious data upon saving and/or opening. Basically, all of the original information captured by the native device is maintained and preserved unless purposely edited. However, because of this, .tiffs will often have large file sizes which makes it a poor choice for use on the web which prefers optimized images with the smallest file sizes possible. Tiffs also support layers.

.jpeg – This is considered a lossy raster file format which means, you guessed it, it applies a compression to graphics that does throw away your data upon saving. Some images are high enough quality that throwing away some original data will not make a visual difference especially with today’s high resolution native capture devices. However, on images that you want or need to preserve all of the data possible and get the best quality out of, this is not a good choice. We can output files with placed jpegs with no issue, however do keep in mind that every time a jpeg is opened in a program, edited and saved it throws away data. This quality makes jpegs file sizes a lot smaller than .tiffs which in turn makes it a preferred file format for use on the web.

.gif – This is considered a lossy raster file format just like the jpeg. A gif can only have a maximum of 256 colors which makes is a low quality image file format that is not acceptable for use in print. Gif files are popular for use on the web due to their ability to display simple images well  with very small file sizes. Gifs can also contain simple animations and transparency.

Video of Flood waters in Downtown Atlanta

September 22, 2009 by Brenda Bell · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases, Uncategorized 

Here is a video posted on Youtube of the flood waters on the connector (which is I-75 and I-85) in downtown Atlanta close to Grady hospital.

Changes in mailing requirements for letter-size booklets

September 15, 2009 by Brenda Bell · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Design, Educational, Mailing 

Please note the changes posted below for processing letter-size booklets. There are changes in tabbing requirements and size and design of mail pieces. Fold can no longer be at the top of the mail piece to qualify for automation rates.
via Britt Boatwright at Metro Mailing

Processing Letter-Size Booklets
The Postal Service has established new standards to improve processing and handling of automation compatible letter-size booklets. There are changes to tab size and location, paper weight and dimensions.

Booklets are mailpieces with a bound edge and include sheets fastened with at least two staples in the manufacturing fold (saddle-stitched), perfect bound, pressed-glued, or joined together by another binding method that is automation-compatible and produces an end where pages are attached. In general, booklets are open on three sides before sealing, like a book, and must be uniformly thick. Large, bound booklets that are folded for mailing, also called “quarter-fold” booklets, qualify for automation and machinable prices if the final mailpiece remains nearly uniform in thickness.

To improve the productivity of processing booklets and to decrease damage to mailpieces, the new standards require that booklets have three, 1 1/2-inch tabs placed on the sides of the mailpiece. For larger or heavier booklets, the USPS recommends 2-inch paper tabs. Glue spots or a continuous glue line may be used to seal booklets designed with pages that are shorter than the cover.

In addition, under the new standards, to minimize tab failure, tabs used to seal booklets paying automation or machinable prices may not be perforated. Tabs with perforations are easily broken, do not maintain their integrity, and are damaged in transport prior to entering the mailstream. Therefore, only solid tabs made of plastic, vinyl, translucent paper, opaque paper, or cellophane tape will be acceptable.

The allowable dimensions are changing for booklets. The maximum size for booklets is changing from 6 1/8 by 11 1/2 inches to 6 x 10 1/2 inches. The paper basis weight for booklets is changing from 50- to 60-pound paper to 50- to 70-pound paper.

The minimum size, thickness and piece weight for booklets are not changing. Although the current maximum weight of 3 ounces will not change and is applicable to all mailpieces prepared without envelopes, to improve machinability, the Postal Service recommends that 3-ounce booklets be no longer than 9 inches.

Beginning Sept. 8, booklets that do not comply with the new standards will not be eligible for machinable or automation letter prices. Nonmachinable booklets will be assessed a surcharge (for First-Class Mail), pay nonmachinable prices (for Standard Mail), or pay nonbarcoded prices (for Periodicals).

Final requirements for letter-size booklets mailed at automation and machinable letter prices can be found in the April 15 Federal Register, “New Standards for Letter-Size Booklets,” available on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com. Customers requiring additional information can contact their local manager of Business Mail Entry.


If the spine or fold is… Length Cover Stock Sealing Tab in these locations…
Spine or final fold on the bottom (longer) edge 5 inches to 9 inches long 50-pound Three 1 1/2 inch nonperforated tabs Two tabs on leading edge, one tab on trailing edge. Position lower leading tab 1/2 inch from the bottom edge. Position upper tabs within 1 inch from the top edge.
Over 9 inches, up to 10 1/2 inches long 60-pound
Spine on bottom (longer) edge, non-perforated inner flap sealed within top (upper) edge 5 inches to 9 1/2 inches long 80-pound Continuous glue line or glue spots Perfect bound or saddle stitched, flap sealed inside, continuous glue line along flap preferred, minimum 1 inch glue spots acceptable if placed within 3/4 inch of right and left edges.
Spine on the bottom (longer) edge, Cover extends no more than 1/2 inch beyond inner pages 5 inches to 9 1/2 inches long 80-pound Continuous glue line or glue spots Perfect bound or saddle stitched with a continuous glue line along the 1/2 inch cover overhang preferred, minimum 1 inch glue spots acceptable if placed within 3/4 inch of right and left edges.
Final fold on the bottom (longer) edge, with the folded spine on the leading or trailing (shorter) edge 5 inches to 10 1/2 inches long 40-pound Three 1 1/2 inch nonperforated tabs Two tabs on leading edge, one tab on trailing edge. Position lower leading tab 1/2 inch from the bottom edge. Position upper tabs within 1 inch from the top edge.
Spine on the leading (shorter) edge 5 inches to 9 inches long 60-pound Three 1 1/2 inch nonperforated tabs Two tabs on top edge, one tab on trailing edge. Position top tabs 1 inch from left and right edge. Position trailing tab in the middle.
Over 9 inches,
up to 10 1/2
inches long
70-pound

Above taken from: http://www.usps.com/mailpro/2009/julyaug/page4.htm. Visit the USPS site for complete details.

What are all of the paper weights and what do they actually mean?: Basic size & weights explained

August 21, 2009 by Brenda Bell · 2 Comments
Filed under: Educational, Paper 

Have you ever wondered what exactly say an 80# text is and why is called 80#? It’s a topic that is often overlooked and often misunderstood. I even had someone tell me once that they thought the weight of paper meant how much pressure was applied to the paper when they made it. As you will see below, that is not true at all.

Simply put, the basis weight (a graphic arts term for the # number eg. 80#) is the actual weight of 500 sheets (a ream) of the basic sheet size. The basic sheet size depends on the grade of paper, so here is a listing of commonly used paper grades and their basic sheet sizes:

Paper Grade: Book (also called text)
Basic Sheet Size: 25 x 38

Paper Grade: Bond and Writing
Basic Sheet Size: 17″x 22″

Paper Grade: Cover
Basic Sheet Size: 20″ x 26″

Paper Grade: Tag
Basic Sheet Size: 24″ x 36″

Paper Grade: Index
Basic Sheet Size: 25.25″ x 30.5″

Referring to the list above you can see that our example of 80# text comes from the fact that 500 25″x38″ sheets actually weigh 80 pounds.

Zipping your files

August 7, 2009 by Brenda Bell · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Educational, Internet/Web, Prepress, Technology 

So, you have finished your artwork, collected your files for output and need to send them over the internet to us to produce. You could just attach them to an email one by one and go, however, if you do this, the fonts and any postscript files will likely corrupt in transfer. To protect your files from corruption and to save yourself the hassle of having to resubmit parts of your file and thereby risk delaying the project, just compress your files by zipping them before sending. Here’s how:

If you are on a MAC, you have it easy. Just highlight all of the files and/or folders you want to include in your zip folder, ctrl + click (right click if you have a mighty mouse or other 2 button mouse). This will bring up a submenu. Select the option “Create Archive of” (or on some versions of OS X it says “Create Compressed file of”). This will zip all of your files up into one file with a .zip extension.

If you are on a Windows based pc, you will have to download a simple third party program to create zipped file such as WinZip or FreeZip. Follow the simple on screen instructions to create your zip file.

If you are uploading your files to our FTP site, our site will automatically zip your files for you so your files will get to us in one piece.

If you want to unzip a file someone sent to you, just double click. Both Mac’s and Windows based pcs have a unzip utility built in.

Exporting a Print ready PDF from Quark 8

August 5, 2009 by Brenda Bell · 3 Comments
Filed under: Design, Educational, Preflighting, Prepress 

The procedure described below applies to QuarkXpress 8 for Mac. Other versions of the program work in a similar fashion.

Make sure you’ve saved your file before attempting to create a PDF. First, select the Export option in the File Menu:

A window similar to the one below appears:

Choose a destination for your PDF document, select PDF/X-1a: 2001 as your pdf style, then click the Options button to access settings in the PDF Export dialog box. We recommend using the preset designated PDF/X-1a: 2001 because this is a PDF standard that has been put together specifically for print PDFs.

An additional dialog box opens, which is filled with export settings. In the color section (shown in the above), make sure you create a composite PDF and specify to your job specs: CMYK, CYMK +spot, B&W, Grayscale or As Is if your
project is printing in just spot colors.

Next you will want to add crop marks and bleeds as shown in the following two screen shots:

Click the OK button. You will be returned to the “Export as PDF” window.

Click “Save” to create the PDF

Exporting a Print ready PDF from Indesign CS4

July 31, 2009 by Brenda Bell · 5 Comments
Filed under: Design, Educational, Preflighting, Prepress 

The settings shown here apply to InDesign CS4 for Mac. Other versions of the program work in a similar fashion.

Use the Adobe PDF Presets in the File Menu to access PDF export (as seen below). As always, be sure you have saved your file first. The presets range from Monitor proofing to PDF/X-certified settings. We recommend using the preset designated PDF/X-1a: 2001 (or PDF/X-4a: 2008; see edit at the bottom following this article). This is a pdf standard that has been put together specifically for print pdfs. If you’re using an earlier version (Pre CS) of InDesign (v1 or 2), X-1a:2001 is not offered, so choose the “Press” preset instead.

InDesign will then ask you for a file name and where you would like to save the pdf in a window like the one shown below. Enter the information and click the “Save” button:

After clicking the “Save” button, you will see a window appear like the one below:

Click the Marks and Bleeds section. Crop marks are often necessary when outputting your printed piece, so they should be included on all of your PDFs. Remember that if your source document has bleeds, it is critical to create a minimum 1/8” bleed in the document itself before creating your PDF.

Set your marks and bleeds as shown above.

Please note: The Preset designation changes automatically to “modified” when any of the settings are changed. Changing crop settings in itself is not a violation of the PDF/X-1a standard, so you may proceed with the “modified” setting after doing so.

The Output window will allow you to specify the color mode for your PDF. By clicking the Ink Manager button you’ll see which colors you’ve used in your file.

This feature allow you a final opportunity to determine if color has been applied correctly throughout the document and convert colors to 4-color process if necessary, without having to edit the colors in the document’s color swatch list. Click the OK button when you’re satisfied that all of the ink colors are correct.

IMPORTANT TIP: Do not select any security features in the Security tab. Doing so will prevent your PDF from being processed by our RIP. Password protection isn’t allowed under the PDF/X-1a specifi cation. Leave all of the checkboxes unchecked.

When you are satisfied that all PDF export settings are correct, click the “Export” button to make your PDF:

Edit 8/10/09: As mentioned in the comments below, you could select the X-4a: 2008 standard instead of X-1a:2001 and make the same adjustments as specified above. X-4a: 2008 is a newer revision of the X-1a standard which supports transparency better than the 2001 revision. However, it does allow RGB images, where as X-1a:2001 does not, so be sure to convert all of your images to CMYK before making the pdf, because it will not alert you that you are including RGB images.

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