Printer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Printer Specs

What printer do you use?

We use the Xerox iGen 3 (v3.6) for most all our products printing. We use the DocuColor for our Pro bound hardbacks.

Where do I find the ICC color profile for Photoshop, etc?

First we recommend, you read what we have to say about color consistency. We previously offered a printer specific profile, however we have updated our processes and suggest the use of industry standard profiles. For RGB, use the sRGB.icc profile which should be available with your application. For CMYK, we recommend using the standard Japanese CMYK 2001 coated icc. The slight yellow cast helps offset the magenta tendencies of the iGen.

As a note: There will be a small (but not noticeable to the non-critical eye) variations in the color density between printings because things such as toner, developer, belts, fuser oil, age, etc can vary from printing to printing. There are also slight variations from machine to machine. The printer is calibrated daily and the color output is measured periodically throughout the day.

As you know, color on printed paper will look flatter than color on your screen. Some members create a small "test" book using a variety of images and color ranges so they can see for themselves the print color vs. the pc screen color. You may want to try that.

I've heard the term sRGB and don't know what it is. Can you tell me?

Our Understanding Color page should explain all you need to know.

Should I set my Lines Per Inch?

Higher LPI is not always better. We recommend 150 lpi which is basically 300 dpi.

I'm confused between dpi and pixels can you give me a simple way to understand the terms?

They are basically the same measurement (kinda). Here is simple way to think about dpi and pixels — you want your images to be at 300 dpi (dots per inch — that is dots of ink per inch). 300 dpi ensures your image is printed crisp and the pictures are not blurry. If the printer puts 300 dots of color in a 1 square inch area the image will be clear.

Here is an example of how dpi and pixels are basically the same.

Say your image is 8.5x11 and you want it to be at 300 dpi so that it looks nice and clear when it prints. If you multiply 8.5x300 and 11x300 you will get 2550x3300. So your image would be at 2550 x 3300 pixels.

Can I specify on which printer my photo book will print so I can adjust my color?

We print most products on the Xerox iGen 3 (v3.6) and the the pro bound hardbacks are printed on the DocuColor.

What is the resolution on the iGen 3?

600 x 600 dpi Though anything over 300 dpi takes so long to upload for not much more resolution output

What is the resolution on the DocuColor?

600 x 600 dpi Though anything over 300 dpi takes so long to upload for not much more resolution output

How do I design my color for the printer?

When designing for iGen3 outputs turn off all color management settings. (Go to the color settings menu under Edit in most design applications and a simple check box or drop-down menu will turn off color management).

The iGen3 interprets colors based on their source profiles, so it is best to leave the color management of a file up to the printer, since that will provide the best color output.

This is similar to colorspace management with digital images. Do not change from CMYK to RGB or vice-versa. When you convert from one to the other certain colors may be out of the other space's gamut thus permanently losing the information.

What is the difference between Print on Demand (POD) and offset printing?

POD technology for color machines typically print at 600x600dpi x8 bit. The iGen 3 dpi is 600 x 4800. Litho presses typically print at 1200 dpi (most commonly 2550 dpi) or up depending on the RIP and the settings. POD technology is approaching Litho and we see vast improvements each year given the market demand for Print on Demand products.

Will I notice a difference between Print on Demand (POD) and my ink jet printer?

Yes, image quality of ink jet printers will be superior to digital press, the trade off is cost. The ink jets can use up to 8 colors, but digital printers are just 4-color CMYK. So they have a very different gamut. In general, ink jet printer will be more crisp than digital presses since the digital printer is toner based and ink jets are ink based which produces a more continuous image.