Fotoprint Ltd.
975 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, BC V8V 3P4

P250 382 8218
F250 382 9952
TF1 888 382 8211
 

General FAQs

 
Are you competitive with copy centres/digital shops?

Copy centres are great for very small quantities such as 2, 5, 10, 50 copies of a document. As quantities increase and jobs and become more complex, along with a desire for higher print quality or colour accuracy, our prices become increasingly less than a copy centre. Those who receive estimates from us are often shocked because our prices are so much less than a copy centre. Here's a recent example from a customer who requested 3 estimates from local shops:

1000 11 x 17 Posters, printed 1 side in full colour on 80lb gloss book paper.

  • 1 - Local digital print shop - $400

  • 2 - Local digital print shop - $447

  • 3 - Local offset print shop - $459

  • 4 - Fotoprint - $257

Are you different than copy centres/digital shops?

Yes, all leading to a better print buying experience.

Before we print ...

We use professional PDF workflow software for processing supplied digital files, which means:
  • Supplied files are automatically checked for issues which will affect print quality. Most copy centres just print your file as supplied but we will always contact you first if there are resolutionbleeds, or other issues.
  • Many minor issues are automatically fixed at no charge.
  • Colour profiles are automatically applied which always ensures accurate colour reproduction.
  • All print orders and their digital files are archived for ease of reordering.
  • Both soft (emailed) and hard copy proofs are provided, which helps to ensure that content and colour is as expected. No negative surprises.

Ordering and proofing ...

  • Our customer service people are knowlegeable! This might not sound important but you wouldn't believe how much money and time we can save you with the right advice.
  • Fast and simple web based ordering and estimating.
  • Online proof approval, if colour accuracy is not critical.

Quality equipment, minimum environmental impact

  • We have an extensive equipment profile, including digitaloffset and ink-jet, which is necessary for different types, sizes and quantities of printing. Copy centres usually have small digital devices, which are not economical for larger run lengths and render questionable quality.
  • We consider the environmental impact of every equipment purchase.

Local ...

  • Locally owned, locally produced, locally delivered.

 

Can I view your proof on my smartphone/mobile device?

Not properly.

You can check the text for edits or grammar, but you MUST view your proof in Adobe Reader or Acrobat on a computer, or in person, for accuracy of layout, transparency, missing items, etc.

Can you just give me a ballpark price?

We always give you exact price with an estimate number to reference to. This eliminates any verbal "he said, she said" and ensures that everyone is on the same page. For some common items, there is sample pricing under "Things we Print".

Do I have to see a proof?

Yes, and here's why:

  • You may have sent the wrong file. It happens.
  • When we convert or separate the colours for printing, sometimes that can change the appearance.
  • Transparency issues are often more visible after we have prepared your file for printing.
  • A surprising number of our clients notice typographical or layout mistakes when they see the proof, even though they checked it before sending it to us.
Do you archive my digital files?

Yes. We archive all digital files for future access. For privacy concerns, we will not release thoses files to anyone other than the invoicee, unless authorized by that individual or company.

Do you charge extra for rush jobs?

No. We don't charge extra for rush, super rush, asap, snap to it, I'm out, blitz it, hurry, urgent, get cracking, hustle, make haste, scramble, shake a leg or step on it jobs.

Do you create bar codes?

Yes, we can create and print bar code. Here's the scoop: {cms_selflink page='digital-services'}

Do you deliver?

Yes. We use our local courier for deliveries within Greater Victoria, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Sidney or Deep Cove. For areas up Island or off island, we use different couriers or freight companies, depending on the destination and turnaround requirements.

Do you employ quality control?

Yes. We hired the quality control guy that used to work at the M&M candy factory until he got caught throwing away all the candies that said "W" (kidding :)

Quality control is a priority at Fotoprint. We enjoy one of the smallest reprint percentages in the industry because we"get it right the first time". When our customers pick up their printing (even business cards), we are used to big smiles.
A FRIENDLY WARNING: For thoses who have not dealt with us before, please bear with us if we seem overly attentive to details such as bleeds, folded panel sizes, low resolution images, etc. If you care about print quality, rest assured that the end result will be fabulous.

Do you ever make miss takes?

No, nevr.

Do you have stock images I can use?

We recommend www.istockphoto.com which is a good online source for imagery. You can either buy image(s) or record the number and we will buy it/them for you (good idea, because we have a prepaid account which has a substantial discount). Images are inexpensive and royalty free. If you buy any, make sure they are of the appropriate size and resolution for your project (contact us if you're unsure).

Do you keep a history of my order?

Yes. We archive all customer supplied digital file artwork, which can be quickly and easily accessed for future printing. We do not charge for this archival service.

Do you keep credit card information on file?

No. For your security, we do not keep credit card information.

Do you offer graphic design?

We are not "graphic designers" but are great at production work, which includes typesetting, document creation/layout, image editing/manipulation. If you need something like a business card, a brochure or a rack card created and you have a general idea how you would like it to look, we are a perfect choice. Gather your ideas, your elements: ie. photos, illustrations, logos and bring them in.

A wonderful source for royalty free images, photos, etc., is istockphoto.com. Search, find and make note of the image number(s) that you would like to purchase.

Call or come in and talk to us. We can help.

Do you print in metallic gold, copper or silver?

Yes, with offset printing. It's important to note that the paper has a profound effect on just how metallic the ink will look. The basic rule of thumb is the harder and less porous a surface, the more reflective the metallic ink will appear. Based on this, coated paper works better than uncoated.

Do you print money?

Yes. Only after midnight. (kidding)

Do you print on plastic?

Yes…

We utilize 2 different production processes, each having their specialty. The products vary from large signage to business cards to menus.

Do you produce mail merge or variable printing?

Yes, in black or full colour. Personalized mailings are rapidly becoming a common tool for newsletters and a potent marketing solution.

Do you proofread my supplied file?

No. Sometimes we can avert print disaster by being attentive but ultimately, supplied files should always be double and triple checked BEFORE they are sent to the printer. It is also wise to solicit the help of someone other than the creator to aid with proofreading. Our experience dictates that an individual who is fresh to the project is usually more capable of finding misteaks :)

{* proof *}
Do you use a spell checker?

No. Here's a poem which passed a spell checker:

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revu
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.

Does printing green cost more?

Most recycled papers, especially those with a high percentage of PCW (post consumer waste), do cost slightly more than virgin papers. Volume purchasing keeps the premium to a minimum. We inventory 100% post consumer waste recycled paper, and we use it exclusively for our white bond, uncoated book and envelope stocks. All of our in house papers are either certified by one of the major environmental groups, recycled, or both.

How can I receive credit?

Our application for credit is available in PDF format here, or you may come in to obtain a physical copy.

How can I rush my order?

Let us know and we will jump on it. Rush jobs are normal for us and we don't charge extra.

How do I place an order through your website?

It's easy. Unlike most online print sites, we do not require you to register or to prepay.

Just click on Place an order and fill in the required fields with as much information as you can. If you have files to upload, you can drag and drop them. After the form is completed (which only takes a few minutes), you will receive a confirmation email, ensuring that we have received your request. If we have any questions, we will contact you. Don't worry, your order is in good hands.

If you are uncomfortable sending an order online, no problem, please call us or pop in. We enjoy a visit.

How fast is the turnaround for digital printing?

Fast. Upon approval of proof, most digital print jobs are completed within 24 hours as long as we are using in-house paper. Same day turnaround is common for rush jobs as long as the size of the job is not beyond the physical capability of the equipment and we are not swamped off our feet.

How long will it take to complete my order?

We work around your schedule, not ours. Let us know what your timeline requirements are and we will do our best to make it happen. We are used to extremely tight deadlines so don't hesitate to let us know.

If timing is NOT critical, here are some general standards:

Step 1: Proofs

We usually produce proofs for you to approve within a few hours. If you are supplying a digital file and we discover file issues which will compromise print quality, you will be contacted before we proceed or any costs are incurred.

Step 2: Print production

From proof approval, depending on size and complexity, we can complete your order from an hour on small jobs to a week on larger or more complicated projects. Again, if you need it quickly, let us know and we'll jump on it.

How long will it take to get a proof after I place an order?

If we are printing from a supplied file, usually within a working day.

If we are creating or editing, it may take slightly longer, depending on the amount of work involved.

If the job is a rush, let us know and we will jump on it.

How long will it take to process a request for estimate?

Requesting an estimate is easy and most are completed within a day. We can respond by email, phone, fax, mail or delivery. If you request an email and do not receive it within a day, please let us know. There can be many reasons for an undelivered email.

How many locations do you have?

Mentally, we are a worldwide corporation with head offices in Paris, Rome, London and New York. Decisions are made from our 68 story Fototower in Paris after siesta.

Physically, just one. Fotoprint is a single location with ownership and staff who live and work in Victoria.

I have a software question. Can you help me?

We will try. Call any of our customer service reps at 250.382.8218, explain your question, and they will be happy to transfer you to the person who is most knowledgeable to help you. You may also contact our premedia manager directly here.

I need my digital file returned. Can you email it to me?

Yes. We can email a PDF to you at no charge. If you would like us to modify it, convert it to a different format or extract elements, there will be a Premedia charge to do so. We can accomplish most small editing changes within our minimum charge of $27.00.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, are you the cheapest printer of them all?

Once upon a time there was a cheaper printer, but that was a long time ago and far, far away :)

There will always be a cheaper printer if you look hard enough but if you want your printing done quickly and properly, every time, we are your best choice on Vancouver Island.

What are bleeds and why do you require them?

'Bleed' is the term used to indicate the area of a printed image that will be trimmed off after the document is printed and cut to the finished size. Printed pieces that have a white border around all 4 edges do not bleed. Projects that make use of image bleed must extend any background and-or images 1/8" (3mm) beyond the final trim edge (crop marks). We create bleeds by cutting on the crop marks, through the enlarged image. Depending upon which software you are using, if you do not understand how to create bleeds, we can typically create them for you. Let us know when submitting your job or estimate request.

Business card showing bleeds and crop marks

Fotoprint has a reputation for providing high quality printing and we can only produce this quality if we start with a properly created file. Some print shops will 'fudge' a bleed by enlarging the artwork or trimming under size. We will only do this as a last resort because doing so may affect the final size, fold/crease positions, or may have unwanted and/or uneven white lines around the document. We encourage you to visit this section for tips on creating bleeds properly.

What are OS and OE envelopes?

OS (Open Side) envelopes have the flaps on the long side.

OE (Open End) envelopes have the flaps on the short side or end.

For a list of standard envelope sizes, please see Sizes & standards

What are PMS colours?

PMS is an acronym for Pantone Matching System. It is a colour reproduction standard in which colours across the spectrum are each identified by a unique, independent number. The use of PMS allows us to precisely match colours and maintain colour consistency throughout the printing process.

What are the pitfalls of purchasing from an online printer?

These are points to be aware of.

  • These days, most commercial/business printing is from files that are pre-desiged, ready to print. In our world, about 10% of those files have various issues, which, at minimum, will affect the print quality. Without proper intervention to address those issues, we shudder at the thought of the outcome.
  • Accuracy of colour is a gamble. Most online shops don't offer an online proof, but if they do, or you choose to pay extra for it, the colours will not match your monitor. Most people care about accurate colour. Some don't.
  • You must pay in full when you order. What recourse do you have if the printing that is delivered to your door is not acceptable? Who do you call? Gostbusters can't help.
  • Many web sites are individuals with a web presence, working out of their apartments. They are brokers and have little control.
  • You wait ... and wait.
  • For anything larger than a business card box, the cost for freight is a consideration.
  • Many websites charge an annual fee. When your credit card is taken, an annual amount can be automatically charged at the next anniversary.
  • You are not supporting your local community.
What are the standard panel widths for 8.5 x 11 brochures?

3 panel letter fold

inside right/outside left short panel - 3.625"
middle panel - 3.6875"
inside left/outside right front panel - 3.6875"

3 panel accordion/fan fold

all panels same - 3.66"

2 panel single/centre fold

both panels same - 5.5"

What are the top 5 problems with supplied PDF files?
  1. Missing bleeds.

  2. Missing bleeds.

  3. Missing bleeds.

  4. Low resolution images (mostly taken from the web)

  5. Incorrect file sizes.

A bleed is an area on a printed sheet where the image extends to the cut edge. The outcome of missing bleeds is uneven and sometimes crooked white lines on the edge of the printed piece which leaves an unprofessional look, especially on business cards. While missing bleeds can be easily applied in the native software application, repairing bleeds in a PDF can be a time consuming process. In some instances we can fix it but there will be extra charges for us to do so.

There are many printing companies and copy shops that do not worry about bleeds. Our print standards are higher. Please bear with us as we try to get it right, the first time. The end result will be worth the effort.

What can I expect when I request an estimate?

Our estimator analyzes your request and determines the best approach based on your specifications. Given that we always attempt to produce economically, options may be offered, which will save money or production time. It's amazing how much can be saved when the most efficient sizes are used to fit the specifications of equipment. Sometimes a 1/4" size change can save considerable money. Once an estimate is completed, most are emailed but we are happy to phone, fax or mail.

What do you charge to make changes or modifications?

Creating/typesetting or editing charges are subject to computer time plus new proof(s).

  • The cost will depend on the amount of work required. We can accomplish most small editing jobs, like creating or editing a simple business card, within our minimum charge of $29.25. Additional changes to the same job are subject to a minimum of $15.75.
  • Hard copy proof charges vary depending on the type (laser or ink jet) and the number of proofs required.
What if I don't like the proof from my supplied file(s)?

Once an order is placed, we preflight (fancy word for "check") all supplied file(s) to determine what issues, if any, will affect the print quality. If there are issues, we contact you to organize whether we, you, or whoever created the file, will repair it and re-supply.

Once the file passes our "preflight" process, we produce a colour accurate hardcopy proof as well as a soft (emailed) proof for you to look at. For those who are critical about image quality or colour accuracy, we encourage you to view the proof in person.

If, at the proof stage, you do not like the proof, either:

1) You fix/adjust the file and resubmit it for a new proof.

2) We fix/adjust the file and output a new proof.

3) You can cancel the order, in which case, there will be no charges. (We can't remember the last time this occured, but it may be a comfort factor for those who are unsure of our printing capability.)

What if I have an issue with my supplied digital file?

We contact you with the details before incurring any costs. You can either fix the issue and re-supply the files or get us to fix it. Admittedly, our standards are high, so even small issues are referenced.

What is a QR code?

A QR Code is bar code that can be read by any smart or mobile phone equipped with a camera. QR Codes direct a user to a specific web page the creator intended. The "QR" is derived from "Quick response" and is a call to action that allows your organization to direct someone to your website or directly add your contact information to their phone. All they need is a smart phone or a mobile phone with a camera which has the free software installed which will read the QR code.

These QR codes can take your printed piece to the next level by increasing traffic to your website, and by providing tracking or contact information.

For more information, visit out {cms_selflink page='digital-services'} page.

What is Emulsion Aggregation?

On Jan 1, 2010, we upgraded our digital black printing equipment which incorporates the use of Emulsion Aggregation (EA) fine particle toner. This revolutionary toner creates quality that is comparable to offset level output quality with finer lines, higher levels of detailing and a smooth matte finish.

Short run, high quality black printing will now have uncompromised quality at digital prices.

What is PCW?

Post Consumer Waste. This is recycled paper which is produced from waste paper. The waste papers are de-inked, cleansed and made into pulp to produce a brand new, bright white sheet of paper that did not involve cutting down a single tree.

What is Premedia?

Premedia is a relatively new term which covers everything that precedes print production, e.g. typesetting, creation of art and images, file preparation, preflight, scanning, colour management, proofing, imposition, etc.

Traditionally, this department was called Prepress, but the modernization of the printing industry required a reinvention of the process.

What is the difference between RGB and CMYK colour?

RGB and CMYK are two different methods for generating/viewing colours. RGB files must be converted to CMYK before printing.

What is RGB?

The colours you see on your computer monitor, smartphone, TV, digital cameras, etc. are in RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

What is CMYK?

Commercial printers print with CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK), also known as '4 Colour Process'.

You convert from RGB to CMYK (recommended)

Many graphics software programs give you the option to work in either RGB or CMYK colour spaces. An image created in RGB is not going to look the same when it's printed using the CMYK four colour process. That means you should convert your images to CMYK before you pass the file to us. The best way to do that is by creating your document in a CMYK workspace and converting your RGB images to CMYK in Photoshop (ideally using the GRACoL profile) before placing them in your document. All of this should be done BEFORE you make a PDF, unless you are working in software which doesn't support conversion, like MS Word or Apple Pages. Other times it may be a matter of timing or necessity (e.g. you've collected a bunch of tiny logos from Web sites, and the output quality isn't critical for this project). We have set up a system at Fotoprint which scans your entire PDF and converts images to CMYK using the GRACoL profile, which is the profile our equipment is calibrated to.

Or... we will convert from RBG to CMYK

If you are a professional designer, we may assume that an RGB file was provided to us unintentionally, and we will advise you accordingly. For the majority of jobs, however, we will proceed with converting and outputting a proof, but will advise that you see the proof in person to confirm the conversion meets your needs.

What is the difference between your digital and offset printing?

Fotoprint utilizes both digital (high definition, reyclable organic based polymer toner) & offset (vegetable and waterless ink based) printing. Both processes are the latest and best of their respective technologies but there are differences between them.

Hd digital (for smaller quantities)

  • Print quality similar to offset, with subtle differences that generally need a magnifying glass or loupe to discern.
  • Super fast turnaround times, same or next day.
  • Less expensive than offset for smaller quantities.
  • Wide range of paper choices up to 15pt thick.
  • Prints on up to 16pt. thick plastic. Will not rub off.
  • Capable of variable data (mail merge) where each print is unique.

Offset (for larger quantities)

  • Very high print quality. (perfect for fussy people :)
  • Slightly longer turnaround times, a few days max.
  • Less expensive than digital for larger quantities.
  • Wide range of paper choices up to 16pt thick.
  • Enviro friendly offset print process (see our Environmental Management Plan).

Please note: the term 'digital' printing is used by copy shops to commercial printers. These devices and the companies who utilize them are NOT created equal. Be cautious when buying 'digital' printing. Always ask for samples or a proof to make sure your expectations are met. Print quality and colour accuracy vary considerably.

What is twin-loop binding?

There are many different binding styles (mostly plastic) but Fotoprint has adopted what we consider to be the most elegant binding styles available for documents, presentations, proposals, etc. It is known by a number of different names including twin loop wire, wire-o, double loop wire, double-o, ring wire and wirebind. Unlike plastic binding such as spiro-bind or Cerlox, it is recyclable.

What is uv coating?

This unique coating protects our offset and digital printing and will make your print projects look even better. It is a 100% non-toxic polymer resin which is a perfect fit for our concerned approach to the environment. This polymer resin can be applied to any coated paper or card stock, enhancing the appearance with a smooth, glossy finish. In addition, the printed material has an extra layer of protection from abrasion and will not rub off in someone's hand or wallet. There is also no loss of flexibility. If your project will be subject to a lot of handling, such as the cover of a book, please consider our uv coating option to seal the image and make it highly durable. For more information, please see our uv coating page for more details.

What is your return policy?

We're proud of our 'get it right the first time' record but in the rare occurrence that you receive a defective printing order, please follow these guidelines:

  • Bring back or request that we pick up the entire printing order.
  • Provide a clear description of the issue.
  • Allow us to investigate and identify what happened.

If the problem was on our end, we will reprint it as fast as possible.

If the problem was not on our end, we will contact you to discuss your options. Most errors occur when our customers do not proofread carefully enough. Regardless of the source of the artwork, it is the customer's responsibility to catch any errors in the proof before we print. This is, and always has been, an incredibly important step in the printing process and is the reason why we require approval before going to press.

What makes a business card effective?

Is it originality? Legibility? Simplicity?

Perhaps it's how your business card prompts the recipient into contacting you. A clean, uncluttered design shows that you care about appearance and immediately sends out a professional vibe.

The only mandatory element is that your card must show your contact details, which should be readable and uncluttered.

Do you want some ideas? We have over 5000 samples in our front office for your perusal.

What stocks do you carry in-house for business cards?

For cost savings and quick turnaround, we carry:

Coated: (can be uv coated for a higher gloss and enhanced protection)

  • 10 pt high gloss coated 1 side, white
  • 10 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 10 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 11 pt semi-gloss coated 2 sides Elite Silk, white
  • 12 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 12 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt *Kalima* semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt Polyester plastic cover, white (we recommend round corners)

Uncoated:

  • 9.5 pt uncoated Mohawk Loop linen, grey, ivory or white (100% PCW)
  • 10 pt uncoated Mohawk Loop smooth, gypsum, pumice, rose quartz or talc (100% PCW)
  • 11 pt uncoated Mohawk Via vellum, kraft (30% PCW)
  • 13 pt uncoated smooth, white (100% PCW)
  • 15 pt uncoated Mohawk Superfine smooth double thick, white
  • 34 pt uncoated Superfine smooth eggshell ultrawhite G1s (super thick!)

All of these papers, other than the polyester plastic, are North American and are "forestry certified", with various percentages of post consumer waste.

We also have many unique stocks on clearance. Some of them are very cool and the best thing is that they are marked down. Pop in to our office and have a boo.

 

Why do I need to see a proof? My document passed a spell checker.
These passed a spell checker:
  • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert says
  • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  • Miners Refuse to Work after Death
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
  • Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
  • Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
  • Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
  • Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
  • New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
  • Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Will the ink rub off or crack on my business cards?

Depending on the specifications, we use both digital and offset technologies to print business cards.

Dry toner based digital printing is prone to cracking, especially if a dark image is on a fold or bleeds off the edges, but our HD digital press uses new ink technology which is much less likely rub off or crack.

Offset printing is unlikely to crack. The ink tends to soak in to the stock, rather tha sitting on top of it.