Print Resource Library

Here at Gibson Printing, we like to supply our customers with as much information as possible! Our goal is to help make the printing and design process as simple and stress-free as we can so that you feel confident in your decisions and selections. We aim to remain as transparent as possible about our entire process, and we want to help educate you on different aspects of printing and logistics that you may encounter during your time working with us! This section of our website is dedicated to helping you learn more about the printing process, and how this looks at Gibson Printing. We love sharing and helping you learn, and we hope you’ll enjoy our guides and resources!

Printing 101

Colour Profiles & Printing Explained

No matter the project you’re working on, you’ll always want to make sure that your products come out looking crisp, sharp, and as expected! With numerous colour options available to you, it is important to understand what goes into colour creation, and the differences between the industry standards for colour profiles and their uses. This guide will help you do just that.

What’s the Difference?
CMYK, RGB, and Pantone are industry standards for colour profiles. How do they compare and what are their use? Find out now


CMYK is the standard colour profile for printing. Typically, your printer uses CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW, and BLACK inks to print coloured images. When all colours are mixed together, a rich black is produced.


CMYK is used for printed materials. CMYK colours do not appear as bright as RGB (they are missing the added bonus of a lighted screen). Brochures, business cards, posters, etc. may be printed in CMYK.

CMYK Palette

RGB refers to the primary colours, RED, GREEN, and BLUE. RGB colours use light to make their colours bright. If you mix them all together you would get pure white.


RGB is the colour profile used for digital screens and devices. Your screen mixes red, green, and blue light to produce the bright colour you see on your display. Websites, mobile apps, video, etc. are in RGB.

RGB Palette

The PANTONE Matching System (PMS) is used to correctly match materials with their corresponding RGB or CMYK colours. This insures that a colour looks the same each time it is produced when matched to a Pantone swatch.

Pantone Use

Pantone Matching System can be used to accurately match colours for anything from fabrics and paints to t-shirts and printed materials.

Pantone Palette

All Printing is not the Same
Knowing the differences between the colour profiles can help you to understand how different printing processes work and how those processes will affect your completed project.


Spot colour printing describes the process where specialized or specially blended ink is created to make a perfect match that corresponds to your desired colour, such as a Pantone swatch. If there is just one colour to be printed, there will be a single plate, and a single run of the press. If there are two colours, there will be two plates and two runs, and so on. The colours are layered onto the paper one by one.


Spot colour printing would be typically used for jobs which require no full colour imagery, such as for business cards and other stationery, or in monotone (or duotone etc.) literature such as black and white newspaper print.

CMYK Best Use

If you want something printed that has unique colour, like a metallic or fluorescent, spot colour printing will be needed.


4 Colour process printing refers to the CMYK printing process. This means your artwork will be printed using only Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink colours. Just like spot colour printing, each colour is run through one at a time. The layering of each ink colour produces a final product with a full colour spectrum.


Four colour process is the most common form of printing and is best for large batches, like 500 postcards. It produces clear, sharp prints.

4 Colour Best Use

In some cases it may be possible to do a six-colour or eight-colour print. This type of process is more expensive, but will produce a wider range of colours.


Digital printing uses either toner or ink-jet technology. Digital printing might still use CMYK, but all colours are applied at once instead of with the “o set” roller method. Although it has been considered in the past to not be as “crisp” as o set printing, technologies continue to improve and digital printing can produce some great results.


Digital printing is recommended for small batches, like 20 invitations or just one poster.

Digital Printing Best Use

Because digital printing does not require the creation of printing plates, turn-around time is often much faster.

Understanding Different Adobe Tools

When we work together on creating your business and promotional marketing materials for print, there are three primary Adobe programs that we will use; Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the three, and which one we use when? Well, take a look at our simple-to-understand guide and learn the key differences!

Photoshop Photoshop Icons

Raster artwork created in Photoshop has a finite number of pixels, meaning it can only be scaled to a certain size without losing clarity and looking blurry.


  • Raster-based
  • Creates and edits photos and raster designs
  • Advanced photo manipulations and filters
  • Layers contain single object
  • Multiple dartboards (with the latest update)


  • Photo retouching and enhancement
  • Web and monitor graphics
  • Software/Web/Mobile UI design
  • Layers contain single object
  • Product mockups


  • Pixel-based environment can make line/shapes and fonts fuzzy
  • Wrapping text effectively is more difficult

Illustrator Illustrator Icons

Artwork created in Illustrator is vector based. It uses math to draw shapes using points, lines and curves. It’s infinitely scalable so you’ll never lose quality when you enlarge it.


  • Vector-based
  • Creates and edits vectors illustrations
  • Rescaling objects without losing resolution
  • Layers contain multi objects
  • Multiple dartboards


  • Vector illustrations
  • Type setting for stationery, print campaigns
  • Web and Motion graphics
  • Logos and branding


  • Multi-page designs are possible, but more time-intensive
  • Limited filters and image editing tools

InDesign InDesign Icons

InDesign is the best place to bring all artwork into a print ready layout. It gives control over typography and page setup, it’s especially helpful when creating multi-page documents.


  • Text-based
  • Used for print and layout design
  • Unifies design elements from Ai and Ps
  • Automated, master and multi-page layouts
  • Most flexibility and control over typography


  • Multi-page documents and layouts
  • Online and print publications
  • Magazines, brochures, books/ebooks
  • Flyers, posters business cards, etc.


  • Limited illustration capabilities
  • Very few image manipulation tools



PDF Presentations

Website Icons

Photo Touch-ups

Digital Artwork

Online Publications

Working with Pixels

Logo Design

Multi-Page Layout

Web Page Layout

Business Cards

3D Elements





How To Read A Ruler

Sizing is always important. In printing we use imperial measurement (Inches). We have included this ruler resource that is simple to follow and contains general information that will help you understand exactly how to read a standard imperial ruler!

Using a Ruler – Standard Imperial Measurements


The markings on a standard ruler represent the fractions of an inch. The markings on a ruler from the start to the 1” mark are: 1/16“, 1/8“, 3/16“, 1/4“, 5/16“, 3/8“, 7/16“, 1/2“, 9/16“, 5/8“, 11/16“, 3/4“, 13/16“, 7/8“, 15/16“, and 1”. If the measurement is over 1” simply use the number on the ruler and add the fraction, eg. if you’re two ticks past the number 3 tick then the measurement is 3 1/8“.

Fraction to Decimal to millimeter conversion

Conversion Chart

How To Package InDesign Files

1. Preflight First
Before you "Package" the InDesign files, it is important to check for any errors. These errors include missing files or fonts, low-resolution images, overset text, and etc. These can be checked by opening the “Preflight” function dialogue box window.

To open the Preflight dialog box, click:
Window > Output > Preflight


Make sure there are no missing image links, fonts, or overset text. If there are, fix these errors, relink files and adjust overset text frame.

The total number of errors you need to fix.


Once all errors are properly fixed, the error list will be disappeared from the Preflight panel and the Preflight icon turns to green.
Choose File > Save to save your work.

Preflight Save

2. Package File
You can gather all files used in your document, including fonts and linked graphics.

To open the Package dialog box, click:
File > Package

Package File

3. Pacakge Dialogue Box

In the package window, you will see a summary of your publication, including any errors that are found.

Resolve any errors concerning missing links or fonts as indicated by an alert icon (yellow warning triangle with an exclamation mark inside).

Package Dialogue Box

Once you have ensured that all of your fonts and links are present, click the package button.

Package Button

4. Printing Instructions

After clicking the 'Package' button, the 'Printing Instructions' window will open.

By default InDesign will be prefilled the 'Filename' with 'Instructions.txt'.

Other information entries are only optional.

When ready, click the ‘Continue’ button.

Printing Instructions

5. Create Package Folder
Once you click the 'Continue', the 'Create Package Folder' window will pop up. You can choose a location to save the package folder. Enter the name of the folder in the 'Save As' field on the top.

Make sure check these boxes:

'Copy Fonts'
'Copy Linked Graphics'
'Updated Graphic Links in Package'
'Include IDML'
'Include PDF (Print)'

Create Package Folder

Choose the 'High Quality Print' option in the Select PDF Preset

High Quality Print

Click the Package button

Package Button

A "Warning" dialog box will appear which explains restrictions for copying fonts. Just click the OK button.


6. Check the Folder

Final check the folder that contains a copy of your InDesign file along with all the necessary fonts, images and PDF file.

Final Check

You can zip this folder and send it over to us.

Zip it

How To Prepare Your Illustrator Files

1. Include a Bleed at least 1/8” (0.125”)

2. Create the file in CYMK colour mode (Please NOT RGB)

3. Add Guides to show trim area or crop marks

4. Outline all fonts in your artwork or supply all fonts used with your artwork

* To convert text to outlines, go Select/Select All. Select Type/Create Outlines from the menu. The text will be outlined and no longer editable.

5. Name layers clearly if using spot colors and UV varnish/coating

6. All images are in 300 dpi and embed into your artwork, otherwise provide a folder with all linked images along with your artwork

* To open the Links panel, go Window/Links. To embed images, select files in the Links panel and choose Embed image from the panel menu.

7. Provide proof pdf file with your illustrator files.

Preset Details

Illustrator Details

Prepress Checklist

File Formats we accept

Save file as: .AI, .EPS, .PDF, .PSD, .INDD, or .TIF.

  • .AI is Adobe Illustrator’s proprietary format, so you’ll most likely use this file type if you’re working in Illustrator.
  • .EPS uses PostScript language to save vector-based files. .EPS files can be created using almost any design program.
  • .PDF is a platform independent format and is viewable in Acrobat or other software. These files can also be created using almost any design program.
  • .PSD is Adobe Photoshop’s proprietary format, so if you’re working with Photoshop, you’ll want to save your file as a .PSD
  • .INDD is Adobe InDesign’s proprietary format, so you’ll most likely save InDesign files in this format.
  • .TIFF files are a graphics container that stores raster images in the Tagged Image File Format. TIFF files are large and best for any bitmap images that you intend to edit.


  • Bleed & Cut Lines
    At least 1/8” (.125”) bleeds must be included beyond the page edges.
  • Proofread
    The document has been proofed for typographical errors, spacing and all images are correctly positioned.
  • Size
    • Double check the document dimensions are correct
    • The document page size is equal to the final printed page size.
  • Resolution
    The minimum resolution recommended for print is 300 dpi.
  • Colour
    • All images are built in CMYK (Not RGB).
    • Spot colours are converted to CMYK or, if desired, defined and applied as spot.
    • Trash unused colour swatches.
    • Make sure all type is only 100% black.
  • Fonts
    • When submitting EPS, PSD or PDF files to print, convert all fonts to outlines.
    • All Screen and Printer fonts used in the project are included.

Types of Folds

There are several common paper folding options for commercial printing projects. Most of the marketing materials that we create fall into the following standard fold types. Regardless of which fold type you choose, you can trust that your products' edges will always be crisp and clean!

Half Fold

Half Fold

Tri Fold

Tri-Fold / Letterfold

Accordion Fold

Accordion Fold

6-Panel Accordion Fold

6-Panel Accordion Fold

3-Panel Gate Fold

3-Panel Gate Fold

Double Gate Fold

Double Gate Fold

Roll Fold

Roll Fold

Double Parallel Fold

Double Parallel Fold

Map Fold / Insert Fold

Map Fold / Insert Fold

Types of Boxes

We can perform printing projects on a number of different types of boxes and cartons. Here is an overview of the different boxes we can print on, and key information about each. We will work with you to help determine the best option for your product and specific needs.

Standard Reverse Tuck

Standard Reverse Tuck (SRT)

The joint on the Standard Reverse Tuck (also called the Reverse Tuck End or RTE) carton is located at the seam along the right side panel, in the rear. The closure panels on top and bottom swing in opposite directions, with the bottom folding in the rear and the top folding in front. This carton can be assembled either manually or by automation. With a friction lock closure on top and a slit lock tuck closure on bottom, as shown here, the carton is easy to open and close, while remaining unlikely to open inadvertently at its base.

French Reverse Tuck

French Reverse Tuck (FRT)

This style differs from the Standard Reverse Tuck in that the bottom closure is attached in the rear and folds/tucks towards the front of the carton while the top closure is joined in front and folds/tucks towards the rear of the carton. Shown here is a French Reverse Tuck carton with a slit lock bottom and a friction lock top. This style has a finished look and also enables substantial latitude in graphic design. Other available closure styles include the slit lock for top and bottom, and the friction lock for top and bottom.

Standard Straight Tuck

Standard Straight Tuck (SST)

This style is suitable for products requiring a primary display panel with a large window. With fold/tuck closures in the back, the raw edges at both ends of the front display panel are concealed. The Standard Straight Tuck (also called the Straight Tuck End or STE) also eliminates any interference between the window film material and the tuck, which might occur if a reverse tuck style were to be used. This carton is suitable for manual assembling, as well as automated assembling and closing application.

Airplane Straight Tuck

Airplane Straight Tuck (AST)

Unlike the Standard Straight Tuck, this style features closure panels on both the top and bottom that swing from the rear to tuck in the front.

Hymes Lock, Automatic Bottom

Hymes Lock, Automatic Bottom

Pre-glued in the converter’s facility, the Hymes Lock, Automatic Bottom (Crash Lock, Economy or Popcorn Bottom) style is assembled by hand. It is generally employed when quick setup is required for smaller production volumes that do not warrant investing in automatic packaging equipment.

Tuck and Tongue

Tuck and Tongue

This style is generally assembled, filled and sealed manually. The Tuck and Tongue carton is designed to withstand rough handling without disengaging.

Full Flap Automatic Bottom

Full Flap Automatic Bottom

The Full Flap Automatic Bottom style is a great alternative to the Hymes or Crash Lock when the contents are heavier or their weight is concentrated on the central axis lengthwise.

This style is assembled by hand and is generally employed when quick setup is required for smaller production volumes that do not warrant investing in automatic packaging equipment.

Full Overlap Seal End (FOSE)

Full Overlap Seal End (FOSE)

This carton if generally assembled, filled and sealed on automatic, horizontal or vertical packaging equipment. The usual sequence for closure is inside flaps in first, followed by the inner closure panels and finally the outer closure panels. Some sift-resistant variations of this style require the inner closure panels to be tucked down first, with the inside flaps next and the outer closure panels last.

Folding Carton with Integrated Separator

Folding Carton with Integrated Separator

The digital folding carton with integrated separator is designed to create a barrier between separate packaged components. It includes a structure of division formed by one or several panels, each having a perpendicular flap in every extremity of that panel so as to adhere to the internal surface of the walls of the carton. We arrange these transverse panels by means of grooves, which form one or several compartments.

Dispenser Style Carton (1 Piece)

Dispenser Style Carton (1 Piece)

The dispenser style carton is often used on the counter near a cash register to stimulate sales. Used by the retail and the food sector, it’s often a staple of the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

In the illustrated model, the fall open part is integrated in the carton what makes the opening and closing possible. If the fall open part is not integrated, the opening and closure will be more difficult.

Counter Display

Counter Display

A Counter Display Carton is designed to provide a point-of-purchase unit for holding a number of individual packages or products.

It does not need to be glued. The retailer simply opens the top of the carton and folds the lid back for easy advertisings. The front panels as well as the inside flaps can be torn-off so visibility is easier and accessibility to the product is improved.

Standard Straight Tuck (SST) with Hanger Tab

Standard Straight Tuck (SST) with Hanger Tab

‘The SST with Hanger Tab carton is used for small and light products. It is an ideal stand-alone package to be placed on a hook.

A perforated panel (perfs here called notches) with a fold will be added to the back panel. When the panel is folded up, notches are generally aligned and the front panel sealed to the back panel to create and secure the hanger tab. A window can be added on the front panel for better visibility of the product.

Overlap Seal End with Side Hanger Tab

Overlap Seal End with Side Hanger Tab

This carton style, also called the “5 panel carton”, is often used to develop a header panel. The structure also includes a rear card with a hang tab which allows the card to be used as a hanger tab.

Style B: this carton has a hanger panel that can be folded up on one of the sides of the carton, can be assembled, filled and sealed on automated packaging equipment. The order for the closure is the same as that of a regular overlap carton.

Bag Carton with Auto Bottom

Bag Carton with Auto Bottom

The Bag Carton with 1-2-3 Bottom is primarily used for customer cosmetic cartons and custom food cartons. It can be made with an Auto Bottom, glued on the bottom by the carton's manufacturer and allows for quick loading.

Pillow Box

Pillow Box

A pillow carton is a unique shape and is used for custom cosmetic cartons, candy and more.

Types of Envelopes

When it comes to choosing envelopes for your marketing materials, there are a number of different factors to consider such as options for flaps, seams, windows, glue, sizes, etc. The following envelope guide will go through each option available at Gibson printing so that you may have a better idea of your choices. We are always here to help explain each option in detail.

Types of Envelope Flaps

Commercial Flap

Commercial Flap

Square Flap

Square Flap

Wallet Flap

Wallet Flap

Types of Seams

Side Seam

Side Seam Envelopes

Outside Seam

Outside Seam Envelopes
Used for postage meters and machine insertion

Types of Window Envelopes Available

Regular Window


Artline Window


Types of Glue

Standard Glue

Standard Glue

Peel & Seal

Peel & Seal (More expensive)

Envelope Sizes

1. Commercial Envelopes

Commercial Envelopes

#9 Envelope Size: 8.875” x 3.875”
#10 Envelope Size: 9.5” x 4.125”

2. Invitation Envelopes
Available in White, Natural and Colours

Invitation Envelopes

A2 Envelope Size: 5.75” x 4.375”
Insert Size: 5.5” x 4.125”
A6 Envelope Size: 6.5” x 4.75”
Insert Size: 6.25” x 4.5”
A7 Envelope Size: 7.25” x 5.25”
Insert Size: 7” x 5”
A8 Envelope Size: 8.125” x 5.5”
Insert Size: 7.875” x 5.25”
A10 Envelope Size: 9.5” x 6”
Insert Size: 9.25” x 5.75”

3. Catalog Envelopes
Available in White and Natural Kraft

Catalog Envelopes

9 x 12 Envelope Size: 9” x 12”
10 x 13 Envelope Size: 10” x 13”

4. Booklet Envelopes
Available in White and Natural Kraft

Booklet Envelopes

9 x 6 Envelope Size: 9” x 6”
12 x 9 Envelope Size: 12” x 9”
13 x 10 Envelope Size: 13” x 10”

Other Speciality Envelopes Available:

Coin Envelopes – 2.25” x 3.5”
Cheque Twin Window – 3.75” x 8.75”
Square Envelopes – Multiple sizes
Gusset Envelopes – 9” x 12” / 10” x 13” / 9.5” x 15” / 11.5” x 14.5”

Types of Stock

You may be trying to decide what the best stock for your printing project is, or just trying to get a better look at the available stock options. Your choice will ultimately depend on the type of project you are working on, and the result you are looking for, but our guide will outline the main types of stock we offer and their common uses. We are always here to help guide you through the options in order to find the optimal solution for you.

Coated or Uncoated

Weight - Cover


Coated Cover - Gloss or Silk8 pt, 10 pt, 12 pt, 14 pt, 16 pt, 17 pt, 18 ptBusiness Cards, Postcards, Pocket Folders, Posters, Door Hangers
Coated Cover 1 Sided10 pt, 14 pt, 16 pt, 18 pt, 24 ptPackaging (Cartons), Pocket Folders, Posters, Postcards
Uncoated Cover60 lb, 80 lb, 100 lbAppointment Cards, Business Cards, Postcards
Coated Text - Gloss or Silk80 lb, 100 lbBrochures, Coupons, Flyers, Sell Sheets, Packaging Inserts
Uncoated Text60 lb, 70 lb, 80 lbLetterhead, Booklets, Appointment Cards, Packaging Inserts
Writing Weight - Uncoated Linens & Laids24 lbLetterhead, Matching Envelopes Available
NCR Forms2 part, 3 part, 4 part, 5 partEstimates, Order Forms, Invoices, Packing Slips, Receipts
EnvelopesKraft, White 24 lb#9 Return, #10 Regular, #10 Window, 9 x 12, 10 x 13
Labels - Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Oset Blockout or Non-Blockout60 lbJars ie: Candles, Vinegar, Olive Oil, Hot Sauce etc., Wine Bottles, Lip Balm, Boxes, Bar Codes, Corrugate Displays, Packaging, Machinery & Equipment, Mailing & Return Address, Bumper Stickers

Types of Clothing Printing

Screen Printing


  • Most well known
  • Ink gets absorbed very deeply giving you vivid and bright colors and maximum durability
  • Once set up, you can produce hundreds of t-shirts with the same design at a blazing fast speed.
  • It is compatible with most fabrics when you use the right mix of inks and screens for the fabric


  • If you plan to do it at home, you should consider this: it gets messy when screen-printing
  • You will be working with ink and there is going to be spillage
  • You need a considerable amount of space to set-up a proper screen-printing work area
  • The space you need should be dust-free and dark in order to help preserve screens and ink
  • Steep learning curve
  • Limited artwork placement

DTG – Direct to Garment


  • Good for low quantity printing
  • Print as many colours as desired, no restrictions
  • Set-up time low compared to screen printing
  • Printing machines are not that big, allowing more mobility
  • Less mess compared to screen printing inks
  • You won’t feel the 'print' on the fabric when you touch it, ink is injected directly into the fabric


  • Printers designed to print only on 100% or high amounts of cotton fabrics
  • Expensive machines
  • Colours wash out over time
  • Limited artwork placement
  • Machine will require maintenance

Heat Transfer Printing Techniques

Sumblimation Printing


  • Ink becomes part of the shirt fabric making the print last long
  • It feels soft
  • Breathable
  • Prints will not fade, crack, peel or deteriorate


  • Only works with polyblend based t-shirts
  • The more polyester on your t-shirts, the more vibrant colours you will get
  • More expensive printing

Plastisol Transfers


  • Quality is similar to screen printing
  • Can fit several designs on a single transfer paper to cut them out and print separately
  • Makes no mess
  • Good technique for testing t-shirt designs, for higher quantity would make sense to move to screen printing
  • Great for both full-colour jobs and jobs with few colours
  • Allows for a variety of placements on the t-shirt


  • If transfers are not made correctly they will crack and wash out quickly
  • Suppliers might ask for minimums
  • It might take a few runs to learn the right amount of pressure/temperature needed for this new techniques
  • Large quantity runs are expensive and time-consuming

Heat Transfer Vinyl


  • Decent lifespan
  • Great for small job orders
  • Vinyl can be easily applied anywhere on the t-shirt
  • The vinyl can be applied to all kinds of fabrics


  • It takes a long time to cut the vinyl and weed it
  • Pantone colours can’t be matched
  • It’s only suited for simple graphics like text-based designs with basic shapes