Frequently Asked Questions
How can Formax save me money?
The key to saving you money is matching your unique project to the ideal printing press in one of our 5 production facilities. Our goal is to offer the options that will save you the most money.
When will my order ship?
Once you approve the proof, simpler Digital projects may take only a few days to ship. Offset projects typically take around 5-10 work days. We always do our best to accommodate your timeline.
How do I get a quote?
We offer two simple ways:
1) Complete our easy Quote Request Form
2) Give us a call at 866-367-6221. After we discuss the project's specifications with you, we'll start working on your detailed quote.
Does Formax specialize in any certain kinds of printing?
Formax offers many types of printing but we do have several areas in which we specialize: multi-page document printing (such as books, booklets, catalogs, manuals, directories, binder sets, newsletters, etc.), full-color printing, laminated printing, and map printing.
Does Formax offer Hardcover Books?
Formax does offer Hardcover books. We also offer many popular styles of Softcover books, such as Perfect Bound books, Spiral/Coil Bound books, Wire-O Bound books, and Saddle-Stitched books. We also offer custom-printed Ringed Binders, including Turned-Edge Binders, as well as Assembled Binder Sets.
Does Formax have a Minimum Order Amount?
In order to achieve a low unit cost for customers, printing presses and equipment must produce a certain volume level. This is why Formax has a minimum order amount of $400, which accommodates almost all business print projects. Our experience has shown that smaller orders are better served by a local copy shop, such as a FedEx Office Print & Ship Center.
How can Formax sell quality printing at such low prices?
This is definitely the question asked most often. Basically, we are significantly lower priced because our business model is vastly different than that of a traditional printer. We use more efficient production, customer service, and purchasing methods. These include…
- No Outside Sales Force – Instead of using a costly outside sales force to call on potential and current clients, Formax relies solely on our knowledgeable in-house print coordinators to provide the assistance and support you need.
Formax believes – and our customers agree – that the ideal way to achieve superior personalized service is by having a dedicated inside support specialist follow your job from start to finish. By eliminating the outside salesperson from the process, you receive two benefits: 1) better, more personalized service and 2) lower pricing on your printing.
- Multiple Plants – We utilize 5 specialized production facilities. This allows us the luxury to choose the most efficient production equipment for your specific project, which in turn reduces your cost.
- Purchase Volume – We process millions of dollars in printing each year. Our suppliers give us exceptional pricing and we pass these savings along to you.
- Combo runs – When applicable, we use printing equipment that allows us to run multiple projects at one time. This saves production time and set-up costs.
What kinds of artwork files do you accept?
A high-resolution PDF with embedded fonts and graphics is ideal, but in most cases we can work with whatever file format you have. Other Preferred file formats include…
- .INDD Adobe Indesign
- .AI Adobe Illustrator
- .PSD Adobe PhotoShop
- .EPS Encapsulated Post Script
- .TIF Tagged Image
- .QXP or .QXD QuarkXpress
When submitting layout files that are not PDF files, be sure to include all fonts and graphics with your files. Images should be CMYK and 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size in the layout. Use TIFF or EPS file formats to achieve the best color quality and sharpness of image.
Many common software programs are not well suited for the printing industry, but with some additional effort we can usually convert them to a usable format. If you are ready for us to print but not sure about your artwork file, send it to us and we will examine it.
What if I need an item that is not shown on your website?
Our website shows some of the more common products we offer, but we actually offer so much more. We can fill just about any printing need you may have. If you are looking for something not shown, just contact us at (314) 434-5500, (866) 367-6221 or email us and we will be happy to discuss your project in more detail.
Does all artwork have to be submitted online?
Online submission is encouraged but we gladly accept artwork on a flash drive or disc sent by mail or courier. Be sure to include your contact information and send artwork to:
Attn: Artwork Department
Formax Printing Solutions
1822 Craig Road
St. Louis, MO 63146
What are some Common Problems with submitted files?
The most common problems we encounter are…
- Improper set-up for Bleeds: Make sure to extend your artwork 1/8" beyond the edges that Bleed. Also, do not put important information or borders too close to the edges that get trimmed off. An exception is Envelopes, which are not trimmed. On Envelopes, only extend your artwork 1/16" beyond the edge(s) that bleed.
- Poor Image Resolution: Images must be at least 300 dpi for proper clarity. Do not use images from the web because they are generally low resolution and will appear pixilated (jagged and blurry) when printed.
- Text and Grammar Issues: Make sure your text has good contrast against its background. Also, avoid the use of small text, especially if it is white text against a colored background. Make sure to proof your file for spelling and grammar errors before forwarding it to us.
- Crop Marks: Please include the crop marks on your artwork and make sure they are properly placed. Also please remove all unnecessary crop marks.
Will I receive a Proof?
We will email you an artwork proof in PDF format for all 1-color and 2-color projects. On straightforward 4-color projects, such as business cards or postcards, we will issue a PDF artwork proof unless you specifically request the hard CMYK proof option.
On more involved 4-color projects, we strongly recommend a hard CMYK proof. If the project involves finishing operations such as binding or folding we recommend a physical mock-up as well.
The only time we do not provide proofs is if the project is an exact reorder from us.
Will the colors on the Proof be Accurate?
When viewing PDF proofs on your monitor or from your desktop printer keep in mind there will be a slight variance in color, so Formax cannot guarantee the printed color(s) will match the PDF preview. However, the PDF proof will be a close representation of the finished piece.
Formax offers no guarantee of "match-print" or "match-product" color fidelity. Formax cannot prevent slight color shift throughout an order. Color fidelity warranted by Formax is consistent with industry standards for "pleasing color." We ask that all uploaded files be designed in CMYK and uploaded in CMYK. If you send us an RGB file, we will need to convert it to CMYK which will alter the color from your original file.
Will the printed pieces match the colors on my monitor and/or desktop printer?
Commercial printing creates full-color images by applying Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks in successive layers. This is known as 4-color process or CMYK printing.
Conversely, the colors generated by your computer monitor or desktop printer are a mixture of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). Because CMYK and RGB are completely different modes for creating colors, they often produce results that do no match exactly.
On reorders, what should I do?
Reorders are very simple. Just Call us at (314) 434-5500 or (866) 367-6221. Or, email us or send us a Fax at (314) 434-5505.
Please provide the following information:
- Project Description
- Your Contact Information
- Confirmation that the quantity and specifications are the same as the prior order
Though not necessary, it also really helps if you have the previous Invoice # and Date.
What does Bleed mean?
"Bleed" means that the ink coverage goes all the way to the edge of the paper. On the other hand, printed pieces that show a white border at the edge DO NOT bleed.
To produce a piece with a Bleed, it must be printed on paper larger than the final page size and then trimmed down to the proper size. To make sure no white area shows at the edge after trimming, the artwork must be designed to be larger than the final cut size.
To set up your file to accommodate a bleed, be sure to extend the artwork area 1/8" beyond all bleeding edges of the page. This will allow plenty of room for trimming. An exception is Envelopes, which are not trimmed. So if the artwork on an Envelope bleeds, only extend your artwork 1/16" beyond the edge(s) that bleed.
What Shipping Method do you use?
We always strive to use the most economical method to deliver your printing. Most orders ship by UPS or FedEx Ground. Larger orders ship via truck.
When receiving your product, we urge you to check for any outward signs of damage or shortage before signing for the shipment. If you see any damages or shortages, please note this on the driver’s paperwork (or electronic screen) before signing; this is the only recourse we have against the freight company in the event of a freight claim.
Do you Ship outside the US?
We ship print materials to the Continental US and Canada. However, we do not ship any printed matter overseas because the freight and transit costs are generally too prohibitive.
Our service area includes the following...
USA: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
CANADA: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
Process Colors vs PMS (Spot) Colors
Process and PMS (Spot) are two different systems for generating colors. Formax offers both.
Process colors are created by applying separate layers of 4 colors - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) - in various concentrations on the paper. By mixing these 4 colors, just about any imaginable color can be created. CMYK 4-Color Process is commonly used for printed matter that contains photographs.
PMS colors, also known as Spot colors or Pantone Matching System colors, are specific color formulas that will reproduce accurately in print. Instead of simulating colors by combining multiple colors as in CMYK 4-Color Process, PMS colors are pre-mixed from existing color formulas and assigned a standardized number. Using a PMS color provides assurance of having consistent color regardless of when or where the printed piece is produced. However, because PMS ink colors are specific formulas, there is usually an upcharge.
PMS colors are commonly used for a logo or text that requires a consistent appearance, such as on business stationery. It is very important that you don't use PMS Spot colors in your artwork design if you are printing in CMYK 4-color Process. When designing for CMYK 4-color Process, it is always a good idea to refer to the Pantone Process Book and then use the Process color that is closest to the desired PMS Spot color. Otherwise when your PMS Spot color converts to a CMYK Process color, it could yield a result you weren’t expecting.
Do you offer a product Guarantee?
Yes, Formax offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not happy with your product, notify us within seven (7) business days of receiving your order. If the product is deemed to be faulty, we will, at our discretion, either reprint or rework your order to the original specifications or refund the amount of the order once it is returned to us. If you should ever have any questions about your printing project, please contact our Customer Service department at (314) 434-5500 or (866) 367-6221, or via email.
Do you Guarantee the Ship Date / Delivery Date of an order?
Every effort will be made to hit your target ship date / delivery date. However, sometimes an unforeseen factor could lead to a delay. For example, an equipment malfunction, severe weather, power outage, UPS or trucking delay, etc. cannot always be known in advance. That is why we are unable to offer an absolute guarantee on the ship date or delivery date.
What payment forms do you accept?
We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express.
If you are located in or around the St. Louis, MO metro area, we can often bill you for printing services once we have established an ongoing relationship with you.