Dear Little Yeti: Frequently Asked Questions

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Timing Printing Terminology Wording Etiquette Green Business Tips on Ordering Custom Payment and Returns DIY International Orders


1. How long will my order take? Custom orders can vary greatly depending on what you want and how complex of a design you are looking at. Generally, if you are buying an existing design, you should get your proof within 3 business days of payment clearing. After proof approval, you can expect letterpress printing to take between 3-4 weeks. Digital or offset printing takes between 4-7 business days. Don't forget that this DOES NOT include shipping time nor proofing time.

2. How far in advance should I order? If you're getting letterpress, I would recommend ordering (meaning your design, wording, etc. is finalized) about 10-12 weeks in advance of the wedding date. For destination weddings I would push this back even farther. For small, local weddings (where no one is travelling too far) I'd say you could shorten this by a week or so.

3. Are you serious? Yes. The thinking behind this is as follows: You pay and submit your order on Day 1. Between proofing and approval time, you don't finalize your proof for another week. It's now Day 8. Your order goes into production and it takes 4 weeks plus a few days shipping time. It's now Day 42. It takes you a week to pack, address, and stamp your invitations and you send them out on Day 49. At the latest, it takes 5 days for your invite to get across the country, and your Great Aunt Myrtle receives hers on Day 54. It takes her a week or two (when she has an opening in her competitive bingo schedule) to send out the RSVP and on Day 68 she sends it back, taking 5 days to get to you. Her RSVP arrives to you on Day 73, and you inform your catering service that you'll need a vegan option one week prior to the wedding date on Day 80.

4. Where can I save time? Making sure you're on top of proof turn arounds. Go with digital printing to cut off up to 3 weeks. Also, you can cut off a week or two from the above estimate if your invitations aren't going that far. Also, having guests RSVP via a website or through email or phone saves more time.

5. What about Save the Dates? I recommend sending out Save the Dates to make sure that people you really want to be there keep their calendars open. If you are planning a destination wedding, Save the Dates are absolutely necessary. Save the Dates should go out between 6-9 months prior to the wedding date. If it's a destination wedding, then I would send them out a year in advance. This means on a letterpress timeline, you're looking at ordering Save the Dates 1 year and 3 months before your wedding.

6. When should I set my RSVP date? Generally I advise people to set their RSVP date back 1-2 weeks from when the caterer needs to know a final headcount. This gives your guests time to mail them out (give international guests a bit more time). I would err on the side of caution and set a deadline 2 weeks in advance if you think there will be a lot of guests who send their RSVP's late.

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Printing Terminology

1. What is a bleed? To understand a bleed you have to realize that most printers cannot print to the edge of a card. To make it look like they do, they actually print close to the edge then cut off part of the card. If this is the case with your design, then the part that gets trimmed off is the bleed.

2. What is the difference between grammage and lbs? Grammage is the measurement of paper density used by most of the world (guess what? Not the US!) that is determined by grams/square meter, commonly notated by "gsm" or "g/m2." When you hear "60 lb paper" that is the silly American way (lbs, or poundage) of denotating paper weight that is determined by the weight of 500 (but sometimes 1000) sheets of the paper at parent sheet size (which varies). In general, 100 lb cover (see below) is about 270 gsm.

3. PMS...wait, what? The Pantone Matching System is a standardized color system where printers and designers can tell each other what colors they want via swatchbooks that are coded so they don't have to worry about things such as monitor color settings, varying light sources, etc., etc. Note that due to the transparency of letterpress inks, the prints will not be 100% accurate to the PMS color swatch (they will usually go lighter as the white of the card stock shows through).

4. Text vs Cover? Text weight paper is paper designed for writing. Cover weight paper is thicker and is also known as card stock.

5. Belly band...do I wear that? Usually, no. Belly bands are sashes that you can wrap around invitations to add additional color or designs to your invite.

6. CMYK or RGB? CMYK stands for Cyan Magenta Yellow Black, which is the way that inks mix in printers. RGB stands for Red Green Blue, which are the three types of light that make up all the colors you see on your monitors. Note that if you design something in RGB and convert to CMYK (or vice-versa) shifts in color can occur. Printers generally ask for files in CMYK.

7. What does 4/0 mean? 4/0, or x/y, refers to the number of colors of ink printed on each side of a card. So 4/0 means that 4 inks are used on one side of the card, and there is no printing on the back. You can get a whole gamut of colors if those 4 colors are CMYK (see above), and most digital printing makes use of this. Most letterpress printing (because inks are mixed individually), is done 1/0 (one color), 2/0 (two color), or 3/0 (three colors).

8. What's the difference between engraving, letterpress, thermography, and offset/flat? Oh yeah, what about screen printing, gocco, and laser and inkjet too? Engraving is the oldest form of printing and the traditional method of printing wedding invitations. It involves creating a metal plate that presses the lettering up into ink so that you can feel the writing (kind of like braille). This is also the most expensive method, as it involves the creation of the plates. Letterpress, another printing method of antiquity uses polymer plates (formely wooden or lead type) to press your printed area down into the paper. Thermography is a faux-engraving, where the invitation is printed with an ink/resin combo that rises when heated. This leads to a raised writing (like engraving) but often has a plastic feel. Offset printing (also refered to as "flat" printing) is a form of printing that uses that natural separation of oil and water to print using a big drum, rubber, and ink. This is the high-volume way to print flat.

Screen printing (also called silkscreening) is the way they make printed t-shirts and involves usings screens to block out the negative areas of an image using photoemulsion. Screen printing is also the only way to print flat on things like wood veneer or plexiglass. Gocco printing is a specific type of screenprinting that uses disposable screens, special flash bulbs, and is a big hit in the DIY world. Laser printing is a method of printing where toner is burned onto your paper. Examples of laser printing are high-volume printers in offices and copy machines. Laser doesn't work well on card stock or textured paper (and color printing can be expensive). Inkjet printing is where tiny nozzles of ink spray a mixture of CMYK inks to create full color and is usually found in photo printers and the home desk-jets.

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Wording Etiquette

1. How should I word my invitation? Please refer to our etiquette section or contact Little Yeti for more information. Additionally, Emily Post is the authority on all things regarding etiquette, including wedding inviation wording.

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Green Business

1. What kind of paper do you print on? Little Yeti prints all letterpress cards on a 100% recycled cotton fiber that is sourced from the garment industry. It is especially designed for letterpress. Nice stuff indeed. Flat printed order are generally printed on a 100% PCW cardstock that has a nice weight to it.

2. What about your inks? Little Yeti, if at all possible, uses vegetable based inks (not the nasty petroleum ones). We are currently working to make sure that all our printing is done as environmentally friendly as possible.

3. How do you ship? We will ship out however you want us to, especially if you have your own FedEx or UPS account you would like us to use. Otherwise, we'll ship via USPS Priority Mail. Alternatively, if you're in San Francisco I can always personally drop off your order via bus or foot (depending on where you are).

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Tips on Ordering

1. What information do I need to place an order? I would recommend that you have your venue, date and time ready, as well as your RSVP date already picked out. Additionally, the more information (like wording) you have worked out ahead of time, the faster the process will go.

2. How much will my invitations cost to mail? Generally a letterpressed invitation, RSVP card, and RSVP envelope will all go through the mail with standard first-class postage. More pieces, like direction cards and brunch cards might cause an additional cost. You can also get your mail weighed by the post office. Little Yeti does not offer mailing services, sorry!

3. What about RSVP postcards? Postcards generally cost $0.27 each as of the January 2009 postage increase.

4. Do square cards cost more to mail? Yes. They have to be hand cancelled, so there is an additional fee of $0.20 (making the total $0.62).

5. Do you print return addresses? We can for an additional fee.

6. Can you address my envelopes for me? I can, but you probably don't want my handwriting (well, maybe you might?) Either way, I can have them calligraphed for you. Please see the calligraphy page for more information. We cannot have each address printed due to the labor-intensive nature of printing on individual envelopes.

7. Do I get a proof? What kind? Yes you do. You get two free proofs of the digital nature (ie. they are full-color pdfs) emailed to you for your approval. You can approve them from your email. We unfortunately do not offer hardcopy proofs due to the sheer cost and labor involved.

8. How much do proofs cost? The first two are free, all proofs after that are $45.

9. I accidentally approved a proof with an error on it. What do I do? Contact Little Yeti immediately! If they have already been sent to print, it's basically too late. If they have not yet been sent to print, we can correct the mistake and send you a new proof for your approval. Make sure you check your proofs carefully!

10. What pieces of an invitation package do I really need? Most couples make do with an invitation and either a RSVP card and envelope or a RSVP postcard. If you want to be more traditional (or if it's appropriate) accomodations cards, directions cards, reception cards, rehearsal dinner cards, brunch cards, and/or at-home cards can be all part of the stationery extravaganza you send out. Thank-you notes can usually be ordered at a later time as well. Conversely, you could always just get an invitation and have your guests RSVP online. To be frank, it's really up to you.

11. Can I mix and match designs? We generally recommend that all the pieces in your set have a general theme tying them all together, but whatever you want goes.

12. What if I'm not good with the computer? Can I just call you? Of course you can. Please go to the contact page for more info.

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1. I read your Custom invitation section and am still confused, what's up with this? Hmm, if you still have questions please email Little Yeti and all will be made clear.

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Payments and Returns

1. When do I pay? Payment for pre-made designs is due up front to cover materials cost. After requesting a printing or design job from Little Yeti, you will receive an invoice via email. Proofs will be sent after payment clears. For custom designs, please see our custom page for the payment scheduling.

2. How do I get a quote? Contact us and ask away! The more information - size, printing method, quantity, date of wedding, number of colors of ink - you can give the better and more accurate quote we can give.

3. What kind of deposit do you need? Payment is due in full before you receive a digital proof.

4. How much goes to charity? 10-15% of the profits goes to the charity of your choosing from our charities that we support.

5. How do I select which charity gets money from my order? When you order, just let us know which charity you're interested in.

6. Can I return my invitations if I don't like them? Little Yeti strives to make sure that you're 100% satisfied with your invitations, however in the rare case that you decide later that you don't like your invitations, we unfortunately cannot offer refunds.

7. What is something is messed up? If there is a discrepancy between your approved proof and the printed invitations, we will reprint your invitations free of charge. However, if there are typos or mistakes that were missed on the approved proof, then we unfortunately will still have to charge you the full amount of your invitation order.

8. Can I cancel my order? Little Yeti believes you will be super happy with your order, but he does realize that sometimes circumstances do require a cancellation. Due to the nature of the design process, a 50% cancellation fee will be charged if cancellation occurs before proofs are approved to print. Once a proof is approved to print, the full cost of the order will be retained.

9. Do you offer discounts? No. Little Yeti tries to price down his invitations in order to save you as much as possible. In an industry where profit margins are generally around 80%, our profit margin is about 20% after the donation is made. Any lower than that and we wouldn't be able to do business.

10. What payment methods do you accept? We accept anything that Paypal accepts (which is generally Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and also e-check). We also accept cash and checks (with a valid driver's license, state identification card, or passport)

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1. Do you recommend double-sided tape or a glue stick for mounting things? Double-sided tape for anything with regular edges (squares, rectangles, etc.). For things like die-cuts, I'd recommend a glue stick.

2. Any tips for cutting? To be honest, if it's a straight cut I would take it to a copy shop that offers cutting services. You can usually find one that will cut things for about $1.00 per cut. The way that I recommend (if you don't have a paper cutter or are cutting long strips) is to get a cutting mat, hobby knife (aka x-acto type knife), and a metal ruler. Use the ruler to line up your cut and then start at the top and pull the blade towards you. Keep your eye where you are cutting (this sounds intuitive, but it's not) and go slowly. If you have to cut again, don't start in the middle, but start at the top again. Also, change your x-acto frequently.

3. Is there a quick and easy way to get my return address on the envelopes? On the back flap, there are a few ways to go about this. You can get a rubber stamp made and rubber stamp your return address (this is a good way to get a return address on the face of your RSVP envelopes as well). You can also buy an embosser (not to be confused with a heat embosser) that will press your return address into the flaps of your envelopes. Otherwise, decorative mailing labels or printing on your envelopes at home can both work (but may require some knowledge of how your printer operates).

4. Any tips for rubber stamping? Ink the stamp, don't stamp the ink. Also, don't rock while stamping, apply a firm, even pressure.

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International Orders

1. Do you ship internationally? Yes, as long as your country has PayPal.

2. What are the shipping rates? Please contact us as rates vary from country to country.

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