Fotoprint Ltd.
#100, 759 Courtney Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1C3

P250 382 8218
F250 478 5506

Technical - Print FAQs

FAQ - Printing

Do you produce mail merge or variable printing?

Yes, in black or full colour. Personalized mailings are rapidly becoming a common tool for newsletters and a potent marketing solution.

What are the advantages of waterless printing?

For those who really want to know. Extracted from

Why Waterless?

Wet-offset lithography requires the printing press operator to manage a complex mix of wetting fluids and ink. The water used in wet offset is not just plain water—it’s been optimized by adding several chemicals to make it wet the plate more efficiently. These are typically surfactants, detergents, wetting agents, acids, gums, and alcohols, all to make the water wetter and to stabilize interactions with the plate and ink. It’s still mostly water, but with all these chemicals included it is commonly called fountain solution.


There is an obvious benefit to eliminating fountain solution from the printing process. First, there is the total amount of water that is consumed in the wet-offset process—about one gallon for every 8,000 25" x 40" color press sheets. Depending on where you live, water usage may be a bigger or smaller issue; but no matter where you live, water is a natural resource that is consumed during wet offset printing.


High-speed printing using wet offset generates waste. Fountain solution that is exposed to inks, solvents, and paper debris carries some of the material back to the circulation tank that supplies the fluid to the press. After about a week of production, the fountain solution is contaminated and is generally disposed of as industrial wastewater. So, in addition to not using large quantities of clean water, waterless printing does not generate any industrial wastewater—a double benefit.

More Efficient

Because the printing press does not have be brought to a condition of chemical balance between two fluids, waterless generally starts up and reaches stable color faster than wet offset. This results in lower start-up paper waste for print jobs. Also, the single-fluid waterless process is more stable than wet offset, so color stays more consistent throughout the press run. This reduces running waste, where the press operator may need to discard sheets during the run for color variation.

A Sharper Image

Waterless printing reproduces a better, sharper, and more consistent dot than wet offset. Additionally, waterless prints with lower dot gain than wet offset, allowing higher ink densities to be printed without the color getting muddy. The combination of sharper dots and higher ink density creates higher print contrast. Waterless prints can have more snap or pop than wet offset prints. Finally, due to the higher stability and lower inherent dot gain of waterless, finer screen rulings can be used, allowing higher-resolution, more photo-realistic printing than wet offset.

Substrate Choices

There are many printing applications where the presence of water creates more than the normal amount of challenges. UV printing, for example, uses inks that do not react well with fountain solution in the press. UV is commonly used in printing on nonabsorbent substrates like plastics. When the substrate does not absorb some of the water during the printing process, the correct balance of ink and water becomes very challenging for the press operator to maintain. Waterless printing is an excellent choice for UV printing because it is easier to run and more stable during the printing process. Simpler Wet-offset lithography is a complex process that requires a chemical interaction to be maintained during the physical act of transferring ink from the press to the paper or substrate. Waterless offset is really a physical process, where the physical properties of the ink and plate interact to allow the correct transfer of ink. Waterless is simply easier to print than offset lithography.


Better for the environment, more efficient press operation, brighter, sharper, more consistent color, more substrate choices—waterless printing is simply a better choice.

What are the limitations of soft proofing?

A PDF proof, or soft proof, is a useful tool but needs to be used with CAUTION. Specific limitations are:

  • The colour of the printed piece will not match your screen/monitor. Even with the best calibration and monitor profiling, there is no reliable way to make an RGB monitor match a CMYK print. A hardcopy proof is the only option for making sure that the end result will be what you are expecting.
  • It's human nature to skim over an item on the screen, where mistakes tend to jump out more on a printed page.
  • Sizing, folding, pagination, and orientation are very hard to judge on a screen.
  • Low resolution images won't be noticeable on the screen, but will stand out like a sore thumb on the hardcopy.
  • Graphic designers utilizing transparencies, overprints, duotones, and other techniques need to see a hardcopy to determine how these will print.

For all orders at Fotoprint, we generate a hardcopy proof at the same time as the online version. Every proof except wide-format will be accurate to the finished print (wide format is a reasonable match, a stock-match colour-accurate proof can be obtained for an additional fee)

What diameter holes can you drill?

1/4", 3/16", 3/8", 7/16" and 1/2". Standard 3 hole punched paper is 1/4". The center of the holes are 3/8" from the left edge and 2.75" apart.

What is a QR code?

A QR Code is bar code that can be read by any smart or mobile phone equipped with a camera. QR Codes direct a user to a specific web page the creator intended. The "QR" is derived from "Quick response" and is a call to action that allows your organization to direct someone to your website or directly add your contact information to their phone. All they need is a smart phone or a mobile phone with a camera which has the free software installed which will read the QR code.

These QR codes can take your printed piece to the next level by increasing traffic to your website, and by providing tracking or contact information.

For more information, visit out {cms_selflink page='digital-services'} page.

What is Sustainable Forest Managed paper?

Sustainable forest management is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable forest management has to keep the balance between three main pillars: ecological, economic and socio-cultural. Successfully achieving sustainable forest management will provide integrated benefits to all, ranging from safeguarding local livelihoods to protecting the biodiversity and ecosystems provided by forests, reducing rural poverty and mitigating some of the effects of climate change.

What is the difference between your digital and offset printing?

Fotoprint utilizes both digital (high definition, reyclable organic based polymer toner) & offset (vegetable and waterless ink based) printing. Both processes are the latest and best of their respective technologies but there are differences between them.

Hd digital (for smaller quantities)

  • Print quality similar to offset, with subtle differences that generally need a magnifying glass or loupe to discern.
  • Super fast turnaround times, same or next day.
  • Less expensive than offset for smaller quantities.
  • Wide range of paper choices up to 15pt thick.
  • Prints on up to 16pt. thick plastic. Will not rub off.
  • Capable of variable data (mail merge) where each print is unique.

Offset (for larger quantities)

  • Very high print quality. (perfect for fussy people :)
  • Slightly longer turnaround times, a few days max.
  • Less expensive than digital for larger quantities.
  • Wide range of paper choices up to 16pt thick.
  • Enviro friendly offset print process (see our Environmental Management Plan).

Please note: the term 'digital' printing is used by copy shops to commercial printers. These devices and the companies who utilize them are NOT created equal. Be cautious when buying 'digital' printing. Always ask for samples or a proof to make sure your expectations are met. Print quality and colour accuracy vary considerably.

What is uv coating?

This unique coating protects our offset and digital printing and will make your print projects look even better. It is a 100% non-toxic polymer resin which is a perfect fit for our concerned approach to the environment. This polymer resin can be applied to any coated paper or card stock, enhancing the appearance with a smooth, glossy finish. In addition, the printed material has an extra layer of protection from abrasion and will not rub off in someone's hand or wallet. There is also no loss of flexibility. If your project will be subject to a lot of handling, such as the cover of a book, please consider our uv coating option to seal the image and make it highly durable. For more information, please see our uv coating page for more details.

What stocks do you carry in inventory for business cards?

For cost savings and quick turnaround on business cards, we carry:

Coated: (can be uv coated for a higher gloss and enhanced protection)

  • 10 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 10 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 11 pt thick Elite Silk semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white
  • 12 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 12 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 1 side, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt thick Kallima semi-gloss coated 2 sides, white (10% PCW) Canadian manufactured!
  • 14 pt thick Polyester plastic cover, white (we recommend round corners)


  • 9.5 pt thick Mohawk Loop uncoated linen, grey, ivory or white (100% PCW)
  • 10 pt thick Mohawk Loop uncoated smooth, gypsum, pumice, rose quartz or talc (100% PCW)
  • 11 pt thick Mohawk uncoated Via vellum, kraft (30% PCW)
  • 13 pt thick Enviro uncoated smooth, white (100% PCW)
  • 15 pt thick Mohawk Superfine uncoated smooth double thick, white
  • 34 pt thick Mohawk Superfine uncoated smooth eggshell ultrawhite G1s (super thick!)

All of these papers, other than the polyester plastic, are North American and are "forestry certified", with various percentages of post consumer waste.

We also have many unique stocks on clearance. Some of them are very cool and the best thing is that they are marked down. Pop in to our office and have a boo.


What weight of vinyl banner material should I choose?

We inventory 2 weights of vinyl banner material, 15oz and 18oz heavyweight.

While 15oz banners are primarily for indoor signage, the heavyweight 18oz banners work well for outdoor applications. Your choice should be based on where and how the banner will be used. For long term and/or extreme weather outdoor applications, we suggest 18oz. For short term and/or non-extreme conditions and indoor applications, we suggest 15oz.

You will notice that there isn't much of a price difference between 15oz and 18oz. If in doubt, you can cover all your bases by using the "Go heavy or go home" philosopy.


Will you print on my paper?

Yes, but for speciality stocks/substrates which are provided to us, the customer must assume responsibility for the material cost should it become damaged. Please allow extras for setups, samples, and errors. Mistakes, both human and machine, happen in the print industry, and accepted standards allow for 10 - 15% waste on any order. Fotoprint will not replace or refund the cost of customer supplied materials should something happen to it during the process.