Common Print Problems & How to Solve Them
Designing projects with an online printer can be challenging, so we’ve put together a list of common print problems customers and clients have come across and tips on how to resolve them.
Card Print Problems
Smartpress has a cutting tolerance of 1/8”. This means that when trimming your print to its final size, the trim can be shifted by 1/8″. This can be especially noticeable in pieces that have a border. To avoid your artwork being trimmed off, we recommend removing the border, positioning it at least 1/4” from the edge or making it thicker.
While we take care when producing and packing your order for shipment, scratches can sometimes appear on your prints. This is especially noticeable with darker inks printed on coated paper stocks. More often than not, this is due to shifting during transit. We take this into consideration when packaging your order, but it can still occur (if rarely).
Consider ordering a coating to help protect your print from scratches. Coatings create a polished look for your projects at a low cost. Another great option to add a layer of protection is our shrink wrapping feature.
Color Transfer or Faded Edges
Heavy ink coverage can be an issue when it comes to ink transfers or faded edges. If there is friction between the sheets when they’re stacked, the ink can transfer from the print on top to the one backed up to it. To avoid this, we recommend adding one of our protective coatings to your print (at least to the side with the heavy ink coverage).
Booklet Print Problems
Cracking on your booklet spine may occur if the booklet cover is too thick. If you are concerned about this happening, consider choosing a thinner cover stock or adding a coating to it.
A square backing is recommended for booklets with 32-60 pages and you should consider switching Saddle Stitch Booklets with 60 pages to Perfect Bound Booklets. Once a Saddle Stitch Booklet contains 60 pages, the spine begins to become less square.
Curling covers can occur if you store your booklets in an environment that gets a lot of moisture, coupled with if your booklets have Soft Touch lamination on only one side. This is most common with Perfect Bound and Saddle Stitch Booklets.
For Perfect Bound Booklets, we recommend keeping your books in a cool, dry place.
Bowing is when the booklet does not close flat, creating a large opening where the center pages should come together. This is one of the print problems that only occurs with Saddle Stitch Booklets with higher page counts (32 pages or more).
We recommended creating your booklets with a square back, which creates a square, flat spine, similar to perfect binding. Square-backing is recommended for booklets with 32 pages or more. If you order square-backing on a booklet with fewer than 32 pages, there is the potential for the spine to be damaged.
Chipped Spine Edges
The top and/or bottom of your booklet can get chipped or torn if there are too many pages to comfortably fit inside. Saddle Stitch Booklets can accommodate up to 80 pages on 80# text stock for the cover and interior pages.
If you are using a cover stock for the booklet cover, we recommend no more than 60 pages in your booklet. If your booklet has a higher page count, we recommend considering a different binding finish for your booklet.
Pages Falling Out
A rare occurrence, loose pages are generally seen with Perfect Bound Booklets with too few pages. The minimum page count for this type of binding is 32 pages (or 16 sheets), resulting in the lowest spine thickness threshold of .10”.
If your booklet has fewer than 32 pages, we recommend considering another binding finish, such as saddle stitch binding.
While we take care when producing and packing your order for shipment, scratches can sometimes appear on your prints. This is especially noticeable for online printing with darker inks on coated paper stocks. More often than not, this is due to shifting during transit. We take this into consideration when packaging your order, but it can still occur (if rarely).
To avoid these types of print problems, consider ordering a coating to help protect your print from scratches. Coatings create a polished look for your projects at a low cost. Another great option to add a layer of protection is our shrink wrapping feature.
Postcard Print Problems
Limited Finishing Options
Since postcards are sent without envelopes, the USPS has strict guidelines for mailing them. Smartpress’ online printing services includes postcards with those specifications in mind (along with our Mailing Design Guidelines) to ensure that your order is sent without any issues.
However, because of those restrictions, postcards cannot be designed and mailed with finishing options, like envelope add-ons, rounded corners, folding, laminating and digital laser cutting. If you’d like those options to be available, please consider our Cards, which offer a range of finishing options.
If you have questions about print problems or any of our services, please contact customer service.