Ink Inquiries: Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

There is a certain unspoken mantra at Custom Color – it is best explained by Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting. Weiss stated, “Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don’t view them as part of the problem.”

We’re collaborators, we always include our clients in the solutions to their printing problems. Oftentimes, customers coming from the hospitality, retail and trade show sectors have questions about large format printing, the process, and its worth to their organizations.

We decided to compile a Frequently Asked Questions blog to calm the qualms of printing prospects and current customers. Without delay, a bit of Custom Color proficiency from the beginning of the printing process to the end:

Why does my company need large format printing?

As we stated in our Questions Answered blog, the reason that you must incorporate large format printing into your campaigns is because “it’s, hands-down, the easiest way to attract customers, increase brand awareness and boost sales.“

Fun retail fact: 53% of all customers’ in-store buying decisions are classified as impulse buying – if you’re not employing POP or POS displays, you might be missing out.

It’s simple! You provide art and specs and we do the rest.

Can you make __________________________?

If you can think it, we can ink it (we have t-shirts that say this, so we’re very serious). Our large variety of over 125 inventory items works great for a majority of our client’s projects. However, if you’re looking for something that we don’t stock, we can special order any substrates or accessories that your custom project requires.

I need this by this afternoon (or tomorrow, or the day after) - can you make that happen?

While we try really hard to meet every deadline that we’re challenged with, perfection takes a bit more time than a day. Our general turn around time from receiving print ready files, to production to shipping is five to seven business days. We like to dedicate our energy to each and every piece of a project, which our clients love.

What kind of proofs do you offer? When will I receive my proof?

Customers have a few options when it comes to proofs. If you’re looking for a proof of the entire art file at a reduced size, you’ll need a production proof. We can make our production proofs at any reduced size. Oftentimes, our customers ask for a mag proof along with their production proof. A mag proof is“magnified” and is the term that we use when requesting a cut out section of the artwork printed at 100%.

Full-sized production proofs is exactly what it sounds like – a proof of the image printed at 100%.

Proofs are sent after our prepress process deems your artwork error free and print-ready.

Can I alter the provided template?

Many of our promotional products require templates provided by our prepress peeps. While we encourage inking outside of the box, it’s important not to alter the cut files or bleed lines on the templates provided or else ink might not make it on your box.

Tell me how you prefer your files:

Lucky for you, our prepress lead, Larry has put together this art requirement guide that you can pass on to your design team. Following these art requirements will ultimately benefit your printing timeline – if we receive art-ready files, we can usually decrease the print turnaround time by one day, in addition to providing print perfection on our client’s projects.

How long until I receive my prints?

Our centralized location in the Midwest means that we can deliver graphics and kits to most of the country in three days or less using standard ground shipping.

Fed-Ex Shipping Map:
UPS Shipping Map: 

Printing technology? Pricing? Materials? Tracking numbers?

Our fantastic group of Happiness Heroes double as print professors – they can answer any questions about the printing process, substrates, pricing and tracking information. Have a question that we haven’t covered in this blog? We’ve got the answer to that, too. 


Solving printing problems is our number one goal. We find that including our customers as part of each solution that we provide ensures that our customers are 100% satisfied with the final outcome.  Let’s celebrate solutions together. Print with us.

Jason Milbourne is the Vice President at Custom Color Corp. A designer, pre-press connoisseur, and Royals fanatic by day and a fantasy baseball pro and taco and craft beer arbitrator by night, Jason loves all things fun and crazy….just like his hair. Connect with him on LinkedIn, but don’t follow him on Instagram, because he won’t follow back. 

Par Excellence Promotions: An A+ Rated SAGE Supplier

SAGE, a Texas-based promotional products information services provider, recently announced its 2016 supplier rating award winners. Every year, SAGE presents its annual supplier awards to distributors and suppliers who are part of the SAGE network.

Ratings are a throw back to school – possible ratings are A+, A, B, C, D and F. After placing an order, customers voluntarily rate and comment about their provider’s performance on certain categories. These ratings are then all compiled to determine the provider’s yearly “grade.” The five categories for ratings are customer service, delivery, product quality, decoration quality and problem resolution.  These ratings are instantly averaged with the ratings from other SAGE users who have rated the particular supplier. This Supplier Rating System takes away speculation. By following this rating system, distributors know which company scores well in the areas applicable to their needs.

We’re so excited (and downright proud) to announce that Custom Color is a 2016 A+ rated SAGE supplier.  For the past five years, we have received an A+ rating from SAGE and countless positive scores and comments from our promotional products clients across the globe.

Our promotional products that are available on SAGE are the perfect outfit for any brand. Our 41-product offerings range from branding blocks to feather flags and table cloths to floor mats. All of our products are incredibly affordable and are created with the same care as all other Custom Color orders.

Being a part of the SAGE network is such an honor. In 2016 alone, more than 45,000 distributors spent over 9.1 million hours in SAGE. Moreover, SAGE is the leading provider of research and business management tools for the promotional products industry.  SAGE’s database of promotional products, combined with distributor’s honest reviews, is a fantastic resource that customers can use to elevate their businesses – we love being a part of client’s increased brand awareness and revenue.

Custom Color wants to thank our Color Crew for continuously inking amazing products and our Happiness Heroes for always making sure our clients are nothing short of pleased. Another huge thank you to our distributor clients for choosing Custom Color and for the ratings and comments that you provide.

We’re already working toward our 2017 A+ rating and are looking forward to providing print for the best clients in the business.

Laminate to Accentuate: Finishing Options

The word lamination might send you into a tailspin of memories from elementary school. Laminated calendars, letter sheets and name tags are often the first memory that we have of the durable and reusable surfaces.

Fast forward into your adult and professional life – many of the signage that you come into contact with has some sort of lamination applied.  When large format printing is discussed, most people think about the act of printing and cutting – few people consider the finishing employed to protect the print.

On most all of our projects, we apply one type of lamination or another. Lamination serves two main purposes: to protect the final print and to alter the finish.

  1. Protection – Both liquid and film laminates protect the final print from abrasion, chemicals and UV exposure. Lamination added to outdoor prints extends the overall life by two to three years. Indoor prints that might be cleaned, walked on or exposed to dirt or debris should also be laminated. At Custom Color we even have a laminate to protect prints from graffiti.
  2. Alter the finish – Laminates come in many different finishes that can be applied to the print to alter the overall look. We stock glossy, matte and luster laminates but readily have access to laminates that provide shimmer and texture. Some prints are finished with a dry-erase laminate that transforms any print on a rigid substrate into a dry-erase board.

Our finishing arsenal is stocked with laminators. Jeremy and James man the lamination station of two roll and two liquid laminators. Our GBC roll laminator is a pressure sensitive laminator – this laminator is ideal for heat-sensitive inks. Our other roll laminator is an AGL thermal laminator – its heated rollers apply pressure to overlay the substrate with lamination.

Additionally, we have a liquid heat laminator and a UV liquid laminator. Our heat liquid laminator is often used for our wall murals and wallpaper while our UV laminator is used on rigid substrates like dibond and sintra. Customers often opt for liquid lamination because it offers a bit of a price break.

When asked what he loves about his lamination station, Jeremy explains that he loves getting to work on many of the projects that go through production. He said, “everyday is different” which makes his duties more exciting.  Over their combined 30 years of finishing experience, some of James and Jeremy’s favorite lamination projects have been for the Chief’s Hall of Fame, Fireball, Boulevardia and HyVee.

Your project could be added to their favorites list. To find out the best laminate for your project, contact us!