MGA how to Fount of Knowledge FAQ



answers to questions you didn't know you had
below is everything you may need to know to print your purchase with the best result. We answer questions you will encounter using print shops. We want to make this as painless as possible.
Format Features
Information on formats that may be encountered when making an order. This translates the printer terms into easy to understand terms.
one sided- print only on one side, most common
two sided, double sided-image printed on both sides - make sure the orientation is correct. the back can be flipped or upside down
Large Format
any size larger than 11"x17"- will involve a variety of print material
image can be printed on a variety of mediums, including glass and canvas, and placed in a matte or frame
Image is printed on paper and glued to a foam core surface. Mounting material can vary. Makes a rigid piece with a variety of applications
Print Material
Print Material Features
You can print on more than paper. This is called bespoke printing. This is a list of what is commonly available along with the pros and cons. There are more print mediums but you would need to seek out specialized printers for them.
Print on a poly-aluminum that can have different shapes, sizes, and glossiness. This can be durable, UV resistant, and highly stylized.
Glass can be backlit. Glass gives a unique quality to the image.
card stock
a type of paper that is more sturdy and durable than traditional printing papers. card stock is thicker and heavier, used in crafting and making postcards, playing cards, and other similar printed products.
a lightweight, tear-resistant white display film that is widely used for trade-show and event graphics, banner stands, and point-of-purchase (POP) advertising.
you can do it yourself: 1. Cut a few sheets of wax paper to the size of a standard piece of printer paper. 2. use a smooth, light colored piece of wood. 3. reverse the image you are going to print. use whatever photo program you have on your computer. 4. Put a sheet of your waxed paper into the printer and click print. 5. As the waxed paper comes out of the printer, gently guide it. You have to be careful it doesn't roll under itself or touch itself in any other way because it will smear the ink. 6. Put your image exactly where you want it on the wood. this can be any unfinished wood. 7. Holding the transfer tight to the wood, and working quickly, swipe the edge of a credit card across the image. This pushes the ink from the waxed paper down into the wood, which absorbs it. 8. When you've transferred as much ink as possible lift off your waxed paper.
you know, for kids
Inkjet photo papers, also known as photography paper or picture paper, are coated making them absorb ink neatly unlike the regular printer paper that is uncoated and bleeds to the other side.
print on canvas simulating a painting. Image printed is permanent Canvas provides a different texture that adds color depth Photos do not have a glare or reflection Light in weight Prints come in a glossy or matte finish ---information on canvas sizes found below
giclee - pronounced “zhee-clays”
Giclee is a French term meaning “to spray”, referring to how an inkjet printer works and how giclee prints are usually produced. These large format inkjet printers use small spraying devices that can both match color and apply ink precisely, giving artists a high-quality print of their original art To be able to make such a high-quality print, the camera or scanner used to capture or scan the art must be able to do so with a high level of resolution. To compare, most digital photos are recorded at a resolution of 72 DPI on the screen, and the image file of an art print needs to be at least 300 DPI. The print must be high quality and considered “archival.” This is typically achieved using inks that are pigment-based instead of dye-based and any canvas, watercolor paper, or specialty printing paper designated as archival.
Computer Terms
Computer terms Features
what is all that gobbledeegook letters and weird terms you are confronted with when ordering a print? This will help answer your questions.
cyan magenta yellow black -- colors used in physical printing
red green blue colors used for monitors, digital images
how many pixels per inch, more is better
Native files are the actual files from a custodian's computer, such Microsoft Word or Excel files, or emails taken directly from an email server. Image files are the visual representation of these files, usually in PDF, TIFF or JPEG format
Vector graphics are computer images created using a sequence of commands or mathematical statements that place lines and shapes in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional space. In vector graphics, a graphic artist's work, or file, is created and saved as a sequence of vector statements.
Raster artwork is any digital art composed of horizontal and vertical rows of pixels. As a result, when raster images are enlarged, the image quality diminishes significantly.
dots per inch, used in printing -- pixels per inch, used in digital images. they mean the same thing
offset size
Offset lithography involves transferring the image onto an intermediate surface before printing it onto the final sheet, (rather than printing the image directly from plate onto paper as is the case with most printmaking techniques). In doing so the image is twice reversed and appears the same way round as on the original design on stone or plate. Offset is a great option for high quality, larger run projects of 400+. It's also ideal if you need custom paper or specialty ink.
term used in computer graphics to describe blurry sections or fuzziness in an image due to visibility of single-colored square display elements or individual pixels.
Paper Terms
Paper Features
this explains the variety of terms to describe types of paper
how'd you like to be a little bit
What is matte finish? Matte finish Sometimes called flat, matte finishes have a low gloss percentage, meaning they don't reflect much light. Because of that, they are excellent for hiding any surface imperfections. Matte finishes have a lot of pigment, making them quick and easy to apply to more extensive surfaces
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A gloss finish is the term used to describe how much light a paint or stain reflects. It may also be called sheen level. A gloss finish is a label that is given to paint or stain to describe how much light it will reflect. Several gloss finishes are available, including flat, low sheen, eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss.
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Cover stock: is a specific term reserved for heavy weight paper of a decorative nature; found in an assortment of colors, finishes, textures, and coatings. Sticking with technicalities, cover stock is generally classified by paper basis weight, rather than caliper, or thickness
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In typography, the point is the smallest unit of measure. It is used for measuring font size, leading, and other items on a printed page. The size of the point has varied throughout printing's history. Since the 18th century, the size of a point has been between 0.18 and 0.4 millimeters.
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What does weight mean for printing paper? Image result for weight definition printing Paper weight doesn't refer to the individual sheets of cut paper themselves. Instead, it is determined by how much a ream of uncut paper weighs. Typically 500 sheets of paper make up a ream, and that paper is weighed before being cut down to smaller sizes (such as letter or legal).
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When it comes to pounds, the term is actually exactly what you likely guessed: Pounds refers to how much paper weighs. The thicker the paper stock is, the higher the weight is going to be. These weights can be between 20 to 140 pounds, depending on the type of material the paper's made from.
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The Core Meaning. At its simplest, being “archival” means that the product is designed to last for a long time—with proper care and storage. One thing to understand is that everything regarding printing needs to be stored or displayed in a way that will preserve its quality.
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acid free
Acid-free papers are made using alkaline paper making technology. This means the pH of the pulp that is used to form the paper is above 7 (neutral). The paper is also buffered with an alkaline reserve, such as calcium carbonate, to neutralize acid compounds absorbed from the atmosphere or formed through natural aging.
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100% cotton
Can you use cotton paper in a printer? Image result for 100% Cotton paper for printing Unlike wood pulp-based paper, which may contain high concentrations of acids, cotton paper is acid-free (unbleached), which means that it absorbs ink better. Cotton papers thus appear richer in color compared to other papers and retains its natural color, which makes it ideal to print on.
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Setup & Production
Set Up and production Features
if you are resizing or cropping a print, you may need to know what these terms are
All-in-One Solution
edge of image
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Advanced Tools
cut lines
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Nonstop Updates
end of paper
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safety area
24/7 Dedicated Support
safe image area
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Lorem ipsum
where to cut
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Lorem ipsum
make the donuts
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Lorem ipsum
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore eten dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea com mmodo consequat.
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Finishing Features
finishing refers to value-added operations that are performed after the printing has been completed. Some finishing operations can occur before the printing comes off the press (inline), but many finishing operations are performed after the printing comes off the press (offline)
the gathering and arranging of individual sheets or other printed components into a predetermined sequence. Collating creates consistent, logical sets from multiple parts.
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cut and trim
using a sharp blade or shear to reduce a printed piece down to its desired size. Common examples include removing excess paper along crop marks, separating pieces that have been printed as multiple images per sheet, or trimming the open edges of a book to create evenly aligned pages.
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the process of making a crease in paper so it will fold easier. Helps improve the appearance of the fold because it provides a consistent guideline. Used mostly on heavyweight papers and cardstock.
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a procedure that bends over a printed piece so that it lies flat upon itself. Folding serves many functions, one of which is to reduce the physical size of a printed piece. This allows the piece to fit into something else - like an envelope, packaging, or display rack. A smaller size can also make certain printed items easier to handle and/or distribute. Folding is also commonly used as a design technique to create separate panels from a single sheet, such as for a brochure or invitation. There are numerous folding styles available, including the popular c-fold, z-fold, roll fold, gatefold, and mini fold.
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the process of bonding a clear plastic film onto printed matter to protect it against stains, smudges, moisture, wrinkles, and tears. Greatly improves durability. Available in various finishes, such as gloss, matte, or soft-touch. In addition to adding a layer of protection, a gloss laminate enhances the vibrancy of the ink colors. Lamination is a popular choice for printed items that must endure heavy use, such as educational materials, flip charts, book covers, restaurant and bar menus, maps, and consumer displays.
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die cutting
using a thin sharp blade, that has been pre-formed into a specific pattern or outline, to cut paper, cardstock, labelstock, or other substrates into various shapes.
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a procedure that creates a series of very fine holes in paper or cardstock, usually along a straight line, to allow a portion of the printed piece to be easily detached by hand. Used for a variety of purposes, such as coupons, ID cards, response cards, and remittance slips.
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sequential numbering
involves the printing of ascending or descending identification numbers so that each printed unit receives its own unique number. This unique number can appear in one position, or in multiple positions, on each document. In addition to providing a method for easy reference, sequential numbers provide a high degree of accounting control. Frequently used on contracts, invoices, purchase orders, quote forms, checks, raffle tickets, contest entries, or virtually any printed item that needs unique identification.
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uv coating
a tough clear-coat applied over printed materials to improve resilience and appearance. This coating is applied in liquid form, then exposed to Ultra-Violet light which bonds and dries it instantly.
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aqueous coating
an economical water-based clear-coat applied to printed pieces to help protect the ink and paper against minor scuffs and abrasions.
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refers to the process of creating round holes in paper using a rotating bit, such as the hole patterns needed for sheets and dividers placed into ringed binders.
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refers to the method of pressing an image into paper or cardstock to create a three dimensional design. Embossing results in a raised surface; debossing results in a depressed surface.
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foil stamping
a specialized process that uses heat and pressure to apply a metallic foil design to a printed piece. The foil is usually a gold, silver, or copper tone, though a variety of colors are available. Foil stamping adds elegance and distinction and can be combined with the embossing technique to create a metallic design in relief.
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applying a flexible adhesive along one edge of a stack of same-sized sheets. The adhesive secures the sheets as a unit, but allows the topmost sheet to be easily removed as needed. In most cases, padded sheets incorporate a chipboard backer for rigidity. Common examples include notepads, memo pads, and order pads.
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a packaging method that encloses bundles of printed matter within a transparent plastic film. The application of heat makes the film shrink around the printing to secure it tightly. In addition to providing a layer of protection, shrinkwrapping is a cost-effective way to create convenient-sized packs, allowing for easier handling and distribution of the printed pieces.
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binding is a broad term used to describe the gathering and fastening together of separate sheets or signatures. Binding can be as simple as placing a single staple through the corner of a set of documents. However, binding usually refers to the creation of durable books and booklets. Examples of popular binding methods include perfect binding, saddle-stitching, spiral/coil binding, wire-o binding, pro-click binding, and hardcover well as the insertion of components into a ringed binder.
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Unusual Mediums
need inspiration for a gift or project?
we have listed a wide variety of alternate options you can use the purchased illustrations.
canvas sizing guide
need inspiration for a gift or project?
we have listed a wide variety of alternate options you can use the purchased illustrations.
4×4: A tiny square canvas print, perfect for fitting in the corners of bookshelves.
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4×6: A size with similar proportions on a smaller scale to the 5×7. This size work great for the top of desks or bedside tables.
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6×6: This small, square sized canvas print works great for small spaces like spots in larger arrangements or in the bathroom.
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5×7: This standard photo size canvas print is great for smaller wall spaces in the bedroom, bathroom, and stairways.
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8×10: This canvas size is a standard printed photo perfect for family pictures or momentos from travels when hanging in smaller rooms.
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10×10: Compared to the 8×10, this size is slightly larger and square, making it perfect for multi canvas layouts.
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10×20: A 10×20 is perfect for highlighting a special landscape photo or for unique wall space.
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11×14: This medium sized print looks great as a guest bedroom stand alone or a part of a varied layout on a larger wall.
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12×12: Very similar to the 10×10, but slightly larger, making it the better option for walls with more space when creating a multi canvas layout.
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14×16: This substantial size works great for family holiday pictures, portraits, or wedding photos.
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20×20: A 20×20 canvas print is the perfect way to showcase a special photo in either a gallery wall or as a stand alone.
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20×24: This portrait ready size looks great in bedrooms, guest rooms, and hallways.
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24×24: It’s large, square, and perfect for placing above a signature piece of furniture or above a headboard.
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24×36: This tall canvas looks great hanging above a sofa as a stand alone photo.
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30×40: This large stand alone canvas print is perfect for living rooms and offices, or anywhere that you want to impress guests.
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36×36: Searching for a canvas print that looks like it might belong in a museum? This size is best used as a stand out piece in a large room.
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paper pounds/gsm guide
need inspiration for a gift or project?
Below is an explanation of what paper pounds, weight and gsm are and how it can help you create the best print
The basic sheet size of bond is 17" x 22", text is 25" x 38", and cover is 20" x 26". The three most common weights of bond are 20 lb., 24 lb., and 28 lb., which correlate exactly to offset (uncoated text) weights of 50 lb., 60 lb., and 70 lb., respectively (i.e. 20 lb. bond = 50 lb. offset). For cover stocks, 60 lb, 65 lb, 80 lb. and 100 lb. tend to be the most common weights. Once you go higher than 100 lb. cover, the weights that are available are very dependent on the actual stock, with values anywhere like 111 lb. (don't ask me why) and 130 lb.
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When manufacturers produce paper, they weigh it 500 sheets at a time, and that number in pounds is documented as the weight of the paper. So does that mean that a ream (500 sheets) of 8.5” x 11” 20 lb. plain Bond paper weighs 20 pounds? It does say “20 lb.” right here the label after all. Nope. A ream of this plain Bond paper actually weighs 5 pounds. Confusing, right? So why do we call it “20 lb.” paper if it weighs 5 pounds?  When the manufacturer weighs the paper it’s not 500 8.5” x 11” size sheets, it’s 500 17” x 22” size sheets which are 4x the size of 8.5”x11”. Some quick math and that works out to a weight of 5 pounds for a ream of 8.5” x 11” size paper. Bingo, problem solved! But wait…that would just make it too easy. The example above is for Bond paper, which is the common everyday paper you’re used to printing on. Moreover, this is thin paper so it’s not likely going to be the culprit of your paper jam.  When we run into feeding and jamming issues it’s usually with heavier weights, commonly called Index, Cover or Bristol stock. Now consider this: 20 lb. Bond = 41 lb. Index. What?! Paper weight changes based on the TYPE paper it is.  This is because Index does not use 17” x 22” sheets when weighing the paper. Index is manufactured in 22.5” x 30.5” sheets. (To confuse matters more, Cover stock uses 20” x 26” sheet size and Bristol uses 22.5” x 28.5” sheet size for weight measurement.) Oy. So what does this all mean, other than confusing the heck out of everyone? The bad news is that we can’t just look at how many pounds the paper weighs in order to figure out if it’s too heavy for the machine. The good news is that there’s a measurement that takes paper type/pounds out of the equation. On most ream labels, you will find a specification called GSM. This stands for grams per square meter, and is a measurement of the paper's density. The higher the number, the thicker the paper. Not only is this almost always listed, but it’s the measurement most printers and copiers will ask for when you set a new paper type up for a tray. So how heavy it too heavy then? If the GSM weight isn’t an option in the printer’s paper settings, it’s probably too heavy. Xerox also lists the GSM specifications in their device documentation so if you reference that, you will know if your paper is within the working range of your machine. Final thoughts… Whenever you are loading a new paper type, take a look at the label on ream to find the GSM then compare that to what your machine is capable of handling. from
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here is a quick guide we created to help you determine the best paper weight for your projects. 20 lb. paper / 75 gsm This is the standard weight of most copy paper, and the thinnest/lightest weight we offer. It’s perfect for everyday printing and copying on laser and inkjet printers for projects at home, school, or in the office. Because it is so thin, you may find it a bit too flimsy for things like wedding programs, brochures, or similar projects where you would want to make a statement with a heavier stock. However, it works perfectly for simple flyers or posters, and folds easily into a variety of craft projects such as origami. 24 lb. paper / 89 gsm This multipurpose paper is just a bit heavier than copy paper stock, and works for all the same applications. The color options we offer in this weight make it especially great for crafting bold and vibrant works of art. This paper also folds easily and can be used for origami projects, or it can be cut into strips and used to create intricate paper quilling designs. 28 lb. paper / 105 gsm This paper is slightly thicker than 24 lb., making it popular for business letterhead, resumes, stationery, newsletters, and other professional pieces that require something a bit more substantial.  67 lb. vellum / 147 gsm Our standard cardstock can be considered a lightweight cardstock. It’s noticeably thicker than paper, but it’s not the heaviest of cardstocks. It runs smoothly through inkjet and laser printers, and can be used to create printed pieces such as invitations, posters, business cards, and more. We recommend lightly scoring the cardstock to create crisp folds if you want to make crafts such as boxes or folded greeting cards. The thickness of this cardstock makes it ideal for detailed cut shapes and designs created with desktop cutting machines or paper punches. 65 lb. cover / 176 gsm This weight is slightly heavier, but very similar to the 67 lb vellum. It works great for layered greeting cards or scrapbook pages, because it is another lightweight cardstock that is sturdy but won’t add too much extra thickness to the piece. We also offer a variety of colors to use in such layering projects, or to create vibrant decorations for classrooms or parties. It folds, prints, punches, and cuts easily for all sorts of crafting needs. 110 lb. index / 199 gsm This cardstock weight is typically used for index cards due to its sturdiness. It is more noticeably thicker, but can still be used for applications such as cutting, printing, and folding. This premium cardstock is great for when you want to make a statement with DIY event pieces such as programs, invitations, RSVP cards, menus, and more. It is also ideal for photo and frame mats, gift tags, pop up cards, and tons of other projects. 80 lb. cover / 216 gsm This stock is perfect for heavier applications, and again, for any project where you want to make a statement, such as professional-looking business cards. It’s also an ideal weight for embossing, as well as cutting intricate designs with cutting machines. As with other cardstocks, but especially because this is much thicker, we suggest scoring the paper for a clean fold. from
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*it has been theorized that all computer printers are designed to kill humans by never working correctly. From the cost of ink to buttons not working, paper jams, and freezing from an error that you can never find. Digitally downloadable art offers you the life saving option to send it to someone enslaved, er, paid to suffer before these machines.