How to Work with SHQ

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!

Shipping Cost Changes

Shipping NoticeHi Folks,

Just wanted to give you a little warning that some of the items you may order might have a slightly higher price tag for shipping. We don’t try to make money on shipping, but with our low wholesale prices we can’t afford to lose money on it. The first product that will be affected is binders. The weight that’s been calculated in the past does not account for any packing materials and we’re pretty sure we all want your beautiful products to arrive in one piece.

Sorry we can’t give you a specific number, it will vary depending on the item, quantity, and shipping address. It could be anywhere from 5% – 25%. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you’ll forgive us cuz we really hate to disappoint you. -The SHQ Gang

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!



Production Time: what’s the deal?

Our customer service ninjas told me that they get a lot of questions about our turnaround and shipping time. In an effort to clarify the matter, I had to have a visual so I figured you creative types would prefer to be enlightened the same way.



We guarantee 3 day turnaround unless otherwise noted (i.e., foil takes a little longer so it’s noted in the description on the site). We do NOT count the day that you upload your artwork and send in your order since they come at all hours of the day. Sometimes it happens even faster, we just want to make sure that you have a guideline to work with.

Color: WTH?

What The Hue? Designers love color. We love love love it. And it makes us want to pull our hair out when we can’t get the color we see on our monitor to match the color we see on paper. There are many variables that affect color: our monitor settings (which will never match our clients settings), the tone of the paper we print on (not all white papers are created equal) and color blindness (for real, 8% of men and .5% of women are color blind). 

Color test on different papers.

Color test on different papers.

Here are some tips to help you get the best results and make peace with what you can’t control.

Let’s start with what you see on your screen. 

– Apple monitors tend to be lighter overall than PC monitors. So if you’re on a Mac and sending digital proofs to someone on a PC, they are likely seeing a darker version. Your only tool for dealing with this is knowledge. Optimize your monitor settings and talk your client through it if they say “it looks dark.”

– RGB will ALWAYS look more intense and pure than printed CMYK. It has to do with RGB colors coming from light and CMYK colors coming from surface material. Here’s a good article for color geeks.

Here’s what we know about color in print:

– Paper can be considered a color. If you choose a natural or ivory stock, you are adding up to 10% yellow to your color mix. For the truest color, pick the brightest white stock. Our brightest whites are the #110 uncoated (it has a cool tone), Savoy (warm tone) and Felt (warm tone).

same CMYK values printed on Savoy White and Savoy Natural

Same CMYK values printed on Savoy White and Savoy Natural

– Uncoated papers will soak up more ink than coated or gloss stocks, giving them a less vibrant appearance. So if you want really bright color on uncoated paper, you gotta saturate it – give it more ink than you think you need.

– CMYK digital printing is not perfect. You won’t get the same result on different days like you might if you used Pantone colors (which are the equivalent of a can of paint). There are only about a million variables that affect digital printing.

For the best results, I have printed my own color swatches (which I update by trend or season) on multiple stocks so I have a good idea of the difference between my screen and my print jobs. I use the DIY product option on so I can fit lots of decent sized color swatches.

My color swatches rank right up there with pictures of my kids in my studio.

My color swatches rank right up there with pictures of my kids in my studio.

If you are designing a stationery suite, try using complementary colors or adding texture into your system to break it up. Matchy-matchy is getting kind of old school and then you won’t be so stressed when your coral invite looks 1% lighter than your coral RSVP card. 

Please post your questions, suggestions or photos of great solutions on our facebook wall, we all appreciate the extra help.

More items allowed for quantity ordering on our wholesale stationery site.

On We posted about adding quantity ordering to personalized or customized gift products a while ago. The purpose of this blog is to update you on our progress.

The items in bold are now enabled for ordering up to 20  of the same design. We will enable up to 200 as soon as we solve the packing list issue.

  1. Lunch  boxes with and without wrap
  2. Journals (both 7.5 x 5.5 size and the 8 x 10 size)
  3. Folders
  4. Notebooks
  5. Notepads
  6. Placemats

The items we plan to do next are

  1. Mugs
  2. iPhone Cases
  3. Water Bottles
  4. Puzzles
  5. Trays
  6. Clipboards
  7. Chore Charts
  8. Wrapping paper (since we are coming out with sheets soon)
  9. Binders
  10. Growth Charts
  11. Canvas Gallery Wraps
  12. Cutting Boards

Please let us know if you have input on which order we do these. Have a great week.


You can now order Journals and Wedding Guest books in quantity on StationeryHQ

I am pleased to announce you can now order personalized journals in two sizes and in quantities up to 20 per design.

Also the price does come down a bit when you order in larger quantities.

You can check out our offering or order these below.

Personalized Journals

Personalized Wedding Guest Books

Once we have several orders in we will even be adding higher quantity options.

We would love you to post the quantity you might order either here, by email or on our facebook page.

Next week we will be adding quantity ordering on folders, notebooks, and placemats with more products released the week after.


automated quantity orders on gift products is coming……

Are you tired of duplicating single orders to fulfill a large quantity job? We  heard that you need quantity on our gift/home office/school supplies products. Cuz you told us. Repeatedly. Great news, Squeaky Wheels, our super sonic dev team has solved this issue and we have released lunch boxes in quantity.  Now you can order up to 20 of the same design.

First the bad news, your packing slip will have 20 line items on it (we will solve this eventually, however this is critical to make sure we ship you all 20 for now).

We plan to release as follows and expect to have all products available in multiple quantities (some will have large volume discounts) by July something…

iPhone Cases
Growth Charts
Cutting Boards
Water Bottles
Chore Charts
Wrapping Paper

Let us know if you want to order 1,000 of something and we’ll move it to the top of the list 😉




Who wants to create variable data envelopes with cool fonts through illustrator?

Designers have their favorite tools. Some of us old people remember the Pagemaker versus Quark wars which was like debating about Democrats and Republicans. No one is changing their mind.

The one platform that rarely is debated is the illustration tool. Adobe Illustrator won without any serious competitors. It is an amazing tool for design and we love it from a production standpoint. Vector art produces the best output but when it comes to variable data we recommend InDesign.

If you’re an Illustrator purist, there are options for you. Click the link below to learn how to set up variable data in Illustrator, it’s definitely for the advanced user.

Have fun reading (yeah, it’s a bit dry) and hurry up and create some awesome looking variable data envelopes we can produce for you and make your customers smile.