Frequently Asked Questions

Printing Services  |  Printing Processes  |  Printing Papers, Stocks & Materials


Our FAQ provides "real person" answers concerning printing processes and our services. We invite you to submit questions that we can add to our ever-growing FAQ.



What is a BLEED and does it hurt? Bleeds are simply full ink coverage or ink extending to the edges of the page.  We typically don't charge extra for this feature, because it provides a more attractive, more professional appearance.


BOOK STOCK is a text weight paper. For example "80# book" denotes an 80# text weight paper. The inside pages of a catalog or magazine, letters, letterheads, newsletters and forms are normally printed on text weight paper.


What is AQ COATING? Aqueous coating is a clear coating, usually applied during printing, that gives a greater gloss appearance.They also make colors more vivid and improve overall appearance of the piece. AQ coating is an aqueous coating, a light coating that makes colors more vivid and provides some protection against scuffing.


​What is Cardstock or C​​​over Stock? Also called cover weight, this is a heavier, thicker paper that is used for covers, postcards, business cards, door hangers, etc. Cover stock comes in various "weights" that basically just describes the thickness of the paper, and how rigid it is.


Why is there Color Variance between my different printed items? Different stocks, inks and coatings reflect light differently, creating a different appearance. For example raised ink slightly alters the color from standard ink. Gloss paper reflects light differently from other stocks, so effects the color. Your letterhead is printed on uncoated paper, while your brochures might be printed on gloss stock, so you'll see differences in color.


What is Digital Printing?  Basically anything that's not offset printed is digitally printed. Digital print machines are typically used for printing smaller quantities and large format printing. They are quicker to setup jobs and less expensive when running smaller quantities.  There are certain disadvantages to Offset Printing, but new technology has made the image quality very, very good.


What is GRAPHIC DESIGN? SmartDesign is an affordable design solution available with all our print products. SmartDesign combines your provided content, logo and other digital files into accurate, attractive designs to be incorporated into your print project. Image or photo from Adobe® Stock can also be included in your SmartDesign project.


GRAPHIC DESIGN is available for projects that require more extensive design. When more is required than just basic layout, our full service design services include layout of all text content, logo and development of graphic images.


What is Laminated? Laminated pieces are plastic coated, a coating that provides ultimate protection from wear and water. Laminated items normally have a more glossy appearance and make the piece thicker and more sturdy.


​What is O​ffset Printing?  The traditional printing press that's been used for years. Recent technological advancements have made image quality exceptional. For large quantities they are still the most cost effective printing process.


What is Raised Ink? Raised ink, also known as raised letting or thermograpy, creates a classic, professional printed piece. Plastic resin creates the raised ink, and new technology has produced raised lettering that is laser printer safe.


What is meant by Saddle Stitched?  A standard, cost effective binding method. Sheets are folded in half and "stitched" with 2 staples on the fold. Gives booklets a neat, attractive appearance. Bound edge can be long or short edge. Illustration:


What are Stock Photos? ProSmart can provide professional quality photos and images. The entire catalog at is available for your print project. Visit: Use keyword search, note the stock number, and we'll license the image as we design your project.


What is meant by the term STOCK? Stock is a fancy printer word for paper!


What is meant by TEXT WEIGHT?  Text weight paper, sometimes called "book" is any stock that's not cover.  The inside pages of a catalog or magazine, letters, letterheads, newsletters and forms are normally printed on text weight paper.


What is Uncoated Paper? Uncoated paper has no coating. Coatings, like those used to create glossy paper, have not been used. If you want it easy to write on, like forms and appointment cards, you want uncoated.


What is UV COATING? UV coating is an ultraviolet coating. It is a substantial clear coating that enhances appearance and allows protection against scuffing. It creates a very high gloss appearance.


​What is a Watermark? A watermark is a subtle image that is embossed onto the paper. Many premium stocks, particularly those used for letterheads, include a watermark.

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