This Knowledge Base is dedicated to helping our customers become more informed. If you don’t find your answer here, please call us at 503-557-7000.

There are two basic types of color systems in the printing world—the Pantone Matching System (PMS) inks and process inks (CMYK). PMS colors are never mixed but remain a consistent color, eg. cherry red will remain cherry red. On the other hand, CMYK, i.e. cyan, magenta, yellow and black, mix together in dot patterns to produce every color that you see in a printed piece, such as a magazine or catalog.

A QR or Quick Response code is a popular barcode symbology. It is a two-dimensional barcode. These are often used for adding web links to a printed page. When you scan such a QR bar code using a web cam or mobile phone camera, the QR reader application takes you to a website, a YouTube video, or some other web content. QR codes are an easy way of sending people to a site without having to type a URL. Here is an example of a QR Code:

In addition to being used for linking to share links, QR codes can contain other types of information:

  • A QR code on a business card can contain an electronic version of the contact information. Scan the code and the reader application adds the contact to your address list.
  • A QR code can contain event information. Scan the code on a poster for a concert and the app automatically adds its name, date and location to the agenda on your smartphone or PC.
  • A QR code can contain an SMS with phone number and text. Scan the code and the scanning app lets you automatically participate in some contest to win fabulous prices.
  • A QR code can contain an e-mail message with a subject and message text. That message can be a request for information so that in return you might get a reply email with additional information and attached files.
  • A QR code can contain a geographical location. Scan the code on a poster advertising for a restaurant and its location becomes available to your navigation software, informing you how to get to that place.
  • A QR code can contain WIFI configuration data. Scan the code and your Android device automatically configures itself to use the wireless access at the hotel.

There are still more ways in which QR codes can be used. The above list only summarizes the main applications. Originally this technology was created for tracking parts in manufacturing processes.

Manual data entry is avoided, hence less human error.
Tracking of products is easier and more accurate.
Physical stock verification becomes more efficient, accurate, and fast.

A barcode consists of a series of parallel, adjacent bars and spaces used to encode small strings of data.

If you want to sell your products in retail stores, then you need to get a barcode. The barcode on most retail products in this country is called a UPC (Universal Product Code), and you obtain them from the GS1 Council. You first need to become a member of what is mysteriously called their GS1 US Partner Connections. The amount you pay is dependent on the number of products you will be selling and your company”s gross revenues. If your needs are small and only require one or two UPC numbers, Craftsman Label can provide them for you at a nominal fee.

Thermal Transfer includes a ribbon that transfers, via heat, from a printer’s printhead onto the label, whereas Direct Thermal uses a treated paper that, when the printhead heats up, activates the print onto the label.

“Die Cut” usually means that the label is cut out with a “cookie cutter” to create the shape that you want the label to be. Die cut may mean your label or tag will have rounded corners as opposed to square corners (which are often called “butt” or “kiss” cut). One advantage of die cut is that, in most cases, the label is easer to apply.

A full bleed is when the color “bleeds” off the label. If your label design or background color is intended to cover the entire surface of the label, please note that we need a 1/16″ (0.0625″) bleed around each edge of the label. For example, if you have a 2” x 1” label where the color bleeds off the edges, you should size your design to 2.125″ x 1.125″ as this ensures a 1/16” bleed around the entire label.

All of your graphic elements should be embedded into your document before you send it to us. Otherwise, when we open your file, there may be missing graphics or links. If you are using a newer version of Photoshop or Illustrator (CS3 or later), this is less of a problem, but for those using older versions (CS2 or earlier), it can be a major issue.

Most color printers today (including your desktop inkjet) print in CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), also known as “four color process”. All colors in your printed piece are produced from these four colors. However, all computer monitors display color as RGB (Red-Green-Blue).

If you create your file in the RGB color space, the color will look different when printed on a CMYK printer, so it is always a good idea to create your artwork in the CMYK color space. If color is very important to you, we recommend you request a free press proof.

Many people create their label artwork and then print it out on their inkjet or laser printer, thinking this is how their labels will look. But anyone who owns more than one different printer knows that color can look vastly different between printers. If color is important to you, we recommend you request a free press proof. This way, you will see exactly what your labels will look like when printed on our press.

Flexo is roll-fed relief printing, while offset is sheet-fed surface printing. Flexo provides vibrant colors and quality printing, usually at a lower price.