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Tips about preparing your file for print production

Your file is only high resolution at a certain size.

If you are dealing with a vector file, there is no resolution (vector files do not use pixels and cannot be said to be high res or low res). See vector graphics here.

Resolution illustration

Any file can be shrunk in size enough to make it high resolution. "Resolution" is simply a count of how many pixels a file contains in a given area (typically, a count of pixels per inch or ppi).

So is your photo high res? You can only answer this when you know how large it needs to be printed. Every raster image is made up of a grid of pixels. Pack more of them into a given area and the resolution increases (higher resolution). Spread those pixels out over a larger area (a larger print) and the resolution (count of pixels in every inch) drops.

Here's a method for figuring this out:

  1. Open the file in an image editor (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.)
  2. Find out the pixel dimensions:
    1. In Photoshop, go to Image -> Image Size
    2. The image's pixel dimensions are shown in red. Divide these numbers by the desired output resolution. For example, the above image shows the resolution to be 176.825 ppi at 24.25 x 16.106 inches:
      1. 4288 ÷ 176.825 ppi = 24.25 inches wide
      2. 2848 ÷ 176.825 ppi = 16.106 inches high
      Dividing by a different resolution will yield a different output size. For example, if you need the image to be high resoluion you should divide by 300. Note that the output size drops accordingly (below). We're simply packing more of the available pixels into every inch:
      1. 4288 ÷ 300 ppi = 14.293 inches high
      2. 2848 ÷ 300 ppi = 9.49 inches wide

An image can be resampled in Photoshop but not with any gain in clarity. The image will indeed become higher res, but no additional true detail will be added to the image.

If you are not clear about resolution, feel free to give us a call.

A good print starts with a good file.

Providing us with a healthy digital file is the best way to ensure the quickest and most cost-efficient print service.


Build the file to the size you want it to print. For example:

  • If you want a finished size of 8.5 x 11, build your file to that size.
  • If you are designing a banner, find out what size the banner should be and construct the file to those dimensions.
  • If you want a poster to be printed at two different sizes, you'll probably need to set up two different files…one for each size.


Ensure sufficient resolution for images:

  • large format: generally 150 ppi at output size is good for large format posters
  • digital and press: try to provide 300ppi at output size
  • fine art and photography prints: 300ppi will giev the best quality and detail

Do not bump up image resolution beyond 300ppi unless the image is intended for enlargement. If you're not sure about how resolution works, call us.

File formatAdobe PDF

Whenever possible, provide us with a PDF. Microsoft formats (Publisher, Word, Powerpoint) are very difficult to print from. Please export to PDF and check to ensure that the PDF looks exactlyhow you want it before you send it to us.





Vector Graphics 

Raster Graphics 

Image is created by 

Geometrical shapes, lines (vectors) A grid of pixels

Capable of spot colours?

Yes Technically yes, but not without difficulty and only in some file formats.

Capable of RGB and CMYK colours?

Yes Yes

Good for photos?

No Yes

Good for logos?

Yes No. Raster files are quite bad for logos.

Typical file formats


Scalable to any size?

Yes No

So which one is better?

Neither. They both have their uses. A photo should be stored as a pixel-based format such as TIF and JPEG, but when a logo is stored in these formats serious limitations are placed on its ability to be scaled, printed and used in general. A logo should be stored as a vector file.

Can I just re-save the file into a vector format?

No, that's impossible. In order for a raster file to be made into a vector file it needs to be re-drawn or traced. A computer can do this (Adobe Illustrator has this ability) but it can only do a nice job under certain conditions. Normally a human will need to do this process using some vector tools. Simply re-saving your image as an AI, EPS or PDF will not convert your file into vector data.

Still confused?

Don't worry about it. Give us a call.

Every image has a shape. Some are square, most are rectangular. Aspect ratio is simply a description of the image's width and height. This is most often expressed as a ratio such as 4:5, 16:9 and so on. This can express length:width or width:length, depending on whether the image is oriented to portrait or landscape.

Aspect ratio and resolution describe different things about a file. Aspect ratio and resolution are related (one describes the numerical relationship between the length and width, the other measures how many pixels per inch are available) but they are not the same thing.


Every square image, regardless of its size, has an aspect ratio of 1:1.  That means that the length of the image is exactly the same as its width. That's what we mean when we say "square".


Most photos come off the camera as some sort of rectangular shape. Common aspect ratios are 4:5 and 16:9.

Cropped images

If you crop your own images without paying attention to aspect ratio, it is very likely you'll end up with a non-standard size that will require custom framing. We are capable of printing most non-standard sizes without any trouble at all; but be aware that when you reach framing stage you may encounter some trouble with standard frames.

So what aspect ratio should I use?

That depends. What size print do you want? If you want a 12" x 12" (square) print, you need to crop the file to be square. If you want an 8" x 10", there's no use in sending us a long panoramic photo or a square photo. Common aspect ratios are below.

Common aspect ratios include:

Moving columns requires cropping
Moving rows requires 
changing resolution




4" x 6" 4" x 4.53"  4" x 5" 
8" x 12" 8" x 10.67" 8" x 10" 
10" x 15" 9" x 12"  9" x 11.25" 
11" x 16.5" 11" x 14.67" 11" x 13.75"
16" x 24" 16" x 21.33" 16" x 20"
18" x 27" 18" x 24" 18" x 22.5"
24" x 36" 24" x 32" 24" x 30"

What's the difference?

RGB colour is made up of Red, Green and Blue colours. This is typically used for screen graphics: monitors, handheld devices such as smart phones, and other screens. See

CMYK colour is made up of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black colours. This is also known as process colour, full colour and four colour. CMYK is typically used in inkjet, digital and offset press printing.

Spot colour is made up of whatever inks are chosen or the job. Typically designers will use a black ink plus one, two or more 'spot' inks. We create one press plate per colour, and these are each printed in turn to create the finished image. True spot colour printing can only be done on a press, but many digital devices (inkjet and digital printers, for example) are able to emulate spot colours.

Which one should I use for my files?

It depends entirely on the job.

Production method

Best colour model

Typical examples

Full colour offset press CMYK brochures, fliers, posters, rack cards, some stationery 
Spot colour offset press spot colour stationery, forms,  some posters and promotional printing
Large format inkjet  RGB posters, exhibits, displays, maps
Digital colour CMYK  reports, booklets, business cards, stationery

If you accidentally provide the file with a mismatched colour model, that's fine. Our prepress operators have a lot of experience swapping files from one to the other.

Still confused?

Don't worry about it. Give us a call.

Yes, you can. But it's not a good way to send files. Send us a PDF instead.

If you are not able to send us a PDF, send us your Microsoft files and we'll do the conversion. We'll send you a PDF proof before we print.

To find out how to convert your Microsoft files to PDF, click here:

Learn about how we print and produce finished work.

Turn around times depend on a number of factors, including:

  • dimensions
  • quantity
  • finishing (numbering, perforating, scoring, folding, etc.)
  • type of printing (large format, press, digital)
  • paper stock (do we need to custom order stock or can we run from our inventory?)
  • other job aspects

It's best to contact us to determine how much time will be needed for your job.


Broadly, we have three main print production methods:


This is perfect for short-run colour or black/white productions. Manuals, reports, menus, brochures, postcards, art cards, and so much more. Digital prints use dry toner and can print to a very large variety of papers.

Offset Press

Offset is the workhorse of the print world. We have four offset presses, with capabilities from one colour, two colour and full (four) colour. Offset is used for envelopes, forms, posters, fliers, stationery, tickets and much more.

Large Format

Large format opens the doors for banners, fine art, photography, exhibits, maps, blueprints and so many more projects. We are capable of high quality art and photography printing using pigment inks. One other large format equipment, we can quickly run black/white plans and blueprints.

We can print almost any size you require. But here's the catch: it depends on other aspects of the job, such as production method (press, digital, large format), print stock (sheet size and roll widths) and other factors.

In general:

  • Press-run pieces need to be smaller than a 12" x 18" area.
  • Digital pieces needs to be smaller than a 12" x 18" area.
  • Large-format must have one edge that is 44" or smaller.

This is only a summary. Give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss our capabilities with you.


Learn about how we reproduce your fine art

No. You must be the legal copyright holder (i.e. you are the artist) or have permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the artwork.

All artwork in Canada is automatically copyrighted, whether or not it has the copyright © symbol.

If we do not have reasonable grounds on which to believe that you either are the artist or have permission from the artist, we will refuse to handle the piece.

Copyright law protects everyone's interests: authors, painters, artists, sculptors. It's in everyone's interest to see the law upheld. Please don't ask us to reproduce something illegally; you're asking us to break the law.

There are some things we won't print

We understand that the world of art is diverse and sometimes makes audiences feel uncomfortable. However, we reserve the right to refuse to print art and photography that is pornographic, exploitive, racist or derogatory.

No. Buying art does not legally entitle you to copy it. You bought the physical art piece, not the copyright (or "right to copy"). The 'right to copy' is still held by the artist unless they expressly (and legally) surrendered that to you when bought it (we'd require proof). This is regardless of whether the piece was bought by you for a large or small amount of money, or was gifted to you.

We will not reproduce art unless you hold the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder.

Some art, due to its age, is in the public domain and can be freely copied. In Canada, most art passes into the public domain fifty years after the death of the artist. Before assuming a piece is in the public domain, do some research.

Please do not press us to reproduce something illegally: you're asking us to break the law.

In general, it's a three-step process:

  1. scanning / capture
  2. image correction
  3. printing

Learn more about the process and what we print on here.

Yes. But there are some things that you need to understand about the term giclée.

"Giclée" used to refer to an art print that was created on an IRIS printer. It refers to the production method wherein ink is 'squirted' or 'sprayed' through the printer' nozzle onto the paper to make the image.

Today, a huge proportion of art reproductions are done on inkjet printers. So, loosely, the term applies to almost any fine art inkjet print. Normally it is used to refer to an art reproduction that is run on the same media on which the original was created (fine art paper, canvas, etc.) with the intention of creating a reliably accurate copy of the original.

Our art reproductions are usually run on an Epson Stylus Pro 9800, which is indeed an inkjet (i.e. ink spraying through nozzles) technology. That qualifies these to be calle giclée prints.

So the term giclée doesn't actually have a very solid definition or meaning. But by regular usage of the term, any and all of our fine art reproductions can indeed be considered to be giclée prints.


Print size depends on what we're printing on. Your art must fit the roll width of the media we're printing on. Length is virtually limitless.

  • Our canvas rolls are 44" wide
  • Fine art paper rolls are 36" and 24" wide
  • Photo paper rolls are 44" and 24" wide


We usually tile-scan artwork originals. Because of this, it's difficult to capture originals that are excessively large. Art up to 24" x 30" is getting near to our upper size limit for scanning. Call us to discuss your original.

No, we don't offer any picture framing. We can mount your image to foamboard and apply a laminate. A more complete framing option is available through two very good frame shops in Smithers.

  • Creations by Lynn - 250-847-9727
  • Nielsen Gallery - 250-847-0070 or

Both are competent picture framers with excellent products, and both of these ladies will treat you and your project with utmost care and attention.


General questions about our company and process

Sometimes clients ask us if they can have the original design files for their job. This normally includes Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and/or Photoshop files. Therer are a few reasons we can't normally provide these to clients:

  1. We're here to help. But…master files are a significant business asset that we have invested in. Handing over our design files to clients is a bit like handing over a strategically importance business asset. There are times when we are willing to supply design files…but these are the exceptions. If you'd like us to make an exception, let us know. We can discuss your needs with you.
  2. Design files usually use proprietary software. This means you need to have the same software we've used to build the file. Even when you do have the correct software, files often depend on fonts or other project assets that we are not legally permitted to distribute.
  3. We're better equipped to design your file. We know our equipment, our capabilities, and the constraints that need to be applied to your job in order for it to run error-free in a commercial press environment. Handing over our design files to a client does not guarantee that the resulting files will be usable in a commercial environment.
  4. When you hire our designers, the "deliverable" product is normally a printed piece or a PDF. There are exceptions (logos, for example, require us to send design files to a customer as it's an inherent and material part of the job), but normally you're hiring us to produce a product which you will own. The master files are just the tools we've used to accomplish that task…and we are not obligated to hand over those tools.

We are here to help, and it is not our intention to make it difficult for you to create what you want to create. If you feel that we ought to make an exception for one or more of your jobs, just ask us. We'll be happy to consider it.

Our location

Contact Us

3940A 4th Avenue PO Box 3730
BC V0J 2N0
250-847-3294 (TF 1-888-547-3294)
Fax: 250-847-3538
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