Author: fgunther

Color matching our new Merlot envelopes

We’re now offering Merlot envelopes on StationeryHQ! This color is hot right now, especially for the upcoming wedding season. They’re currently available in printed A7 and blank A7, but we may add more sizes down the road.

We know matching colors between envelopes and your printed pieces can be tricky, so we ran a test on our 120# Uncoated Accent Opaque. 34C 81M 50Y 55K seems to be the closest color to match these bad boys.

Colors will vary depending on paper selection. For example, if you use a cream stock, the color you choose will look more yellow, as it is absorbed into the paper. So if you want your ink to look like the Merlot envelope, you would need to pull back on the yellow in your CMYK formula. Running a test print on the paper of your choice is always a good idea before printing your final project to make sure it looks A-OK!

Reordering is easy on SHQ

We’ve had several StationeryHQ customers recommend a Reorder button and though we already have one, we’ve never written up instructions on the process. With just a few clicks, you can find previous orders and reorder to your heart’s content!

Here’s how:

1. Login at StationeryHQ


2. Click on your User Name (green highlight)
3. Under My Account in the left nav area, click on Orders (yellow highlight)
4. Find the order number. You may need to scroll down to find it.
(Hint: Mac- use Command F, PC- use Control F and type in the order number)
5. Click the Details button all the way to right (red highlight)


6. Click the Reorder button (orange highlight) and it will take you back into the cart


7. You can then change the order quantity with the drop down menu (purple highlight) and update your cart

We hope this makes your life a little easier!

Keep calm and order on

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 12.11.00 PM

We’ve had some people report that their connection wasn’t secure on the StationeryHQ checkout page. It didn’t make sense since all of our security certificates are up to date, so we got right on the case! We did quite a bit of research and here’s what we found:

It has something to do with a user’s system certificate chain storage. We’re not going to pretend we fully understand this, but thought we should share the best research we found. We believe our site is as secure as possible and since we don’t store credit cards, you should be good.

We hope this helps.

WTH is navy blue and why does it look purple?

What you see on screen can vary from the final printed product and this is often true when working with the color navy blue. It looks like the perfect blue on your monitor, but when you get your cards back, first you see purple and then you see red! Your monitor uses the RGB color model (red/blue/green) which differs from the CMYK (cyan/magenta/yellow/black) ink colors used in print, making navy a thorn in your side.


The issue is caused by the amounts of cyan and magenta in the mix. Remember learning about the color wheel in school? You learned that when you mix blue with red, you get purple, right? It’s the same idea with 4 colors, too. Too much magenta mixed with cyan will leave you with purple, when you really wanted a dark blue. The color might look right on screen, but it will most likely print more purple than blue. Paper can also affect the way a color prints, but that’s a whole different story.


A good mix for navy blue can vary a bit. 100C/85M/0Y/50K will give you a darker navy blue. You can always adjust the black (K) if it seems too dark. 100C/85M/0Y/30K will produce a lighter navy and even though it looks deceptively close to 100C/95M/0Y/0K on screen, don’t let your eyes fool you. Of course, there’s no absolute perfect mix, but these are good bets. Give one of them a shot next time you’re prepping files to upload to StationeryHQ!

The magical world of flat foil

11x14Since launching Flat Foil Art Prints last week, we keep hearing the same question, “How does it work?”

When SHQ Customer Success Representative Chris was asked this question yesterday, he replied, “It’s magic!” He’s right. It’s so easy, it practically is magic.

Here’s what you do:
1. Create your design using one color only. Your swatch needs to be 40C/40M/20Y/100K.
2. Save as PDF/X-1a, per the StationeryHQ File Setup Guidelines.
3. Upload your file and wait for the magic to happen.

Here’s how it works:
The rich black ink is printed on paper, then the printed sheet is run through a foil machine. The foil adheres to the ink and viola, flat foil fabulousness! You get the same shine as traditional foil stamping but not the slight depression you can feel on a foil stamped card.

And the best part? No die is required. That means faster production time and lower cost. And you can upload your files the same way you do for our other non-custom products.

The small type on this card is 7pt. ITC Lubalin Graph - looks great in foil

The small type on this 5″ x 7″ card is 7pt. ITC Lubalin Graph – looks great in foil

Large solids actually work really well and small type works too. I tested a .75 pt. stroke and the foil came out beautifully.

We’re calling them art prints but since they come in sets of 10, I’m using them as flat cards and 8″ x 10″ notebook covers. Yes, my friends are the types who prefer a bit of snark and a well-designed cuss word in their birthday/thank you cards 🙂

Foil makes a sassy notebook at a great price.

Foil makes a sassy notebook at a great price.


We are testing options for foil combined with digital color. We already know that it can be done but so far the results are inconsistent. Stay tuned for more options if flat foil sells as well as we are predicting!

I feel the need – the need for a bleed

You’ve designed a fabulous card and now you want StationeryHQ to print it! You saved a PDF/X-1a, just like the SHQ File Setup Guidelines say, but your file doesn’t fit the preview area. What happened? It could be that you didn’t account for bleed in the file.

Bleed is essential in print so the image goes all the way to the edge of the card. Without bleed, you’ll get white strips around the design that aren’t meant to be there. Even if your card has a white background, it can still be cut the wrong size if a bleed is not included.

There are two ways to add bleed to your file. This example uses Adobe Illustrator, but this process is universal with Adobe software.

Method 1: Add bleed to file by calling out a “Bleed”

The screen shot below shows how to set up your file from scratch using this method. When creating a new document, plug in the size of the final card size (we used 5 x 7) and then call out the bleed below. SHQ requires a .25 bleed to both width and height, so you’d add .125 on all four sides for a total of .25 to both dimensions.



The screen shot below shows how the file you just created should look. The artboard is 5 x 7 and has a .125 bleed all the way around. Your design should go all the way to the red line around the 5 x 7 to cover the bleed area.


Then when you go to save your fab design, make sure to check the box “Use Document Bleed Settings” in the pop-up window.



Method 2: Add bleed to file by including bleed in the size of your artboard

The screen shot below shows how to set up your file from scratch using this method. When creating a new document, plug in the size of the final card size including .25 for bleed. We made a 5 x 7 card, so the dimensions would be 5.25 x 7.25. Leave the Bleed section alone because the bleed will be added in to the size of your art board.


The screen shot below shows how the file you just created should look. The art board is 5.25 x 7.25. Your design should go all the way to the edge of the art board to cover the bleed area.


Then when you go to save your fab design, do not check the box “Use Document Bleed Settings” in the pop-up window. You’ve already added the bleed to your final size, so you’re good to go.



And for good measure, don’t forget to outline fonts, change all Pantone colors to CMYK and save as a PDF/X-1a.

Now when you upload your 5 x 7 card to the website, it should fit perfectly into the preview!

Printing and Pancakes

Here’s the 411: Printing is flat like a pancake. If your pancake isn’t flat, it won’t cook right. The same goes for printing! To ensure your file prints correctly, you gotta turn it into a pancake by flattening any transparencies it may have. Transparent objects cause problems in digital printing, so it’s best to get rid of ’em before you even start.

Here’s what you do:
1. Open file in Adobe Illustrator
2. Select all (of the design)
3. Go to top menu bar and choose Objects, then scroll down to Flatten Transparency
4. A new window pops up. Choose High Resolution and click Ok to save

BOOM, pancake city!

Something to remember:
The artwork may be grouped together or may have clipping masks. If it’s all stuck together like a stack of old pancakes, you’ll need to ungroup them or release the clipping mask(s) to flatten it. There may be more than one clipping mask, so you may need to do this more than once.

You can also release clipping masks by:
* PC: right click > Release Clipping Mask
* Mac: select option+click >Release Clipping Mask

Here are a few screen shots of where to find the steps in the menu bar:

Select All:


Release Clipping Mask:


Flatten Transparency:


Window that comes up to Flatten Transparency:


And you can always refer to the StationeryHQ File Setup Guidelines to see the rest of the important deets!

CMYK – The More You Know

Around these parts, we like four colors. Not three and certainly not one. EW. Stationery HQ files should be set up with CMYK, not RGB or Pantone/PMS colors.

To make it easy, we made a visual guide to show you where to convert colors using three different Adobe programs.







When in doubt about how to set up your files, please check out our File Setup Guidelines.

 Note: We’re using the Adobe Creative Cloud version of these programs, so they might look slightly different than yours. 

100% K is your friend

Your super fab design is done and you’re ready to save a file to upload to Stationery HQ. You save your files according to the SHQ File Setup Guidelines and when you go back to check your PDF, your 100% black (K- 100) text magically morphed into a black build (CMYK). WTH?

To make sure the colors you chose stay the same, save your Color Conversion settings the same way we did in the screen shot below. Under the Output tab, choose Color Conversion > Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers). Then make sure your file is CMYK and not RGB. This will keep your colors in check without changing them. Mind blown!