FAQ


    • Do I have to use State Print & Mail?

      If you work for the State of Montana, then YES, you are required by MCA 18-7-101 to use State Print & Mail’s services. This includes all printing and the procurement of printing-related purchases.

       

    • Who can use State Print & Mail?

      State agencies, cities, counties, towns and school systems in Montana that expend public funds to procure supplies and a 501(c)(3) entities that expend public funds to procure supplies.
    • What are State Print & Mail’s capabilities?

      We provide duplicating and binding, desktop publishing, layout and design, graphic illustration, form design and mail services - incoming, outgoing and interagency mail.

      Each year state agencies submit nearly 7,000 printing requests and spend approximately five million dollars on printing services. However, not all requests are completed at our production facilities. Approximately 70% of the printing expenditures are procured through commercial vendors. State Print & Mail determines whether to produce internally or procure commercially based on many factors including complexity, delivery and cost. We print and mail as much as we can in-house, but typically utilize vendors to print promotional items, signs, banners and large print runs.

      Please talk to us early on. We can help you set up a brand new project or answer questions you have about an existing project. We can advise you on standards, requirements, areas where you can reduce costs, recommended paper types/sizes and how to adjust your project to print more efficiently.
    • How do I start a new project/place an order?

      Fill out an order form. If you have any questions please call (406) 444-3053 or email SPM@mt.gov to talk to a customer service representative.
    • How should I set up my files?

      • Pre-Designed Projects
        • For pre-designed projects, please review it (check dates, proofread, spell check, etc.) then submit it as a print PDF.
        • *Please convert all Word and Publisher files to a PDF. Use the “save as” option and choose then Adobe PDF. Or you can even right click on your file before you open it and chose: Convert to Adobe PDF.
        • Files should be set up at the final document size, unless you want to have color extending to the edge. In which case you need to add “bleed” around the edges. Then it will be printed on a larger paper stock and trimmed down to the final size. We ask for 1/8th or 0.125 inch all the way around the entire document.
        • ie.) an 8.5 x 11 inch page with bleed will be printed 8.75 x 11.25 inch and then cut down to the final size.
        • Even if your project doesn't  bleed, please leave a 1/4 or 0.25 inch margin (space between content and all edges.) If you have images or text too close to the edge they may get cut off.
        • For books please send us single pages instead of two-page spreads. Some programs will set up a booklet for you. They will put the pages in order for printing, however we prefer that you don’t do this prior to sending the files to us. (Keep in mind that books with a saddle stitch need to have a final page count divisible by 4.)
        • Native design files ( .indd, .eps, .ai) are great, too. You do not need to include crop marks, color bars, registration marks, or any other page information. Please DO include bleed on your files. If you send us native files, please package them.
        • To package files in Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, go to “file” and choose “package.” Follow the dialog boxes and include all links and fonts. This will generate a new folder with a copy of the design file, a PDF, and all of the photos and fonts used.
        • For the best image quality, please use the recommended file types and color spaces. To check this, right click on an image and select properties. Under the details tab there is information about dimensions, resolution, and color space.
        • PRINT: images should be 300 dpi, CMYK or PMS and high resolution .jpgs or .tiffs.
        • WEB: images should be 72 dpi, RGB and .jpgs or .pngs.
        • LOGOS: vector files ( .eps, .ai.) We have hundreds of logos on file for state agencies and will substitute those in if available.
      • Projects that need to be designed
        • If you are sending us content that you would like us to design, you can send the text in a word or notepad document, and send any images and/or logos separately. Our hourly design rate is $70 per hour and we have professional designers on staff who can assist with all of your design needs.
      • Mailings / Address Files
        • For mailings or merges with an address/data file please send Microsoft Excel files (.csv, .xls, .xlsx.) Please submit an excel sheet with each category as a separate column. We will remove all extra formatting (colors, borders, font styles) and covert the file to just data or a .csv.
        • (We cannot accept word documents with already merged addresses.)
    • How should I submit my files?

      To submit your files, please prepare and send your files accordingly:
      • Covert all files to pdfs and place them inside a folder labeled with your project name
      • Right click, "send to" Compressed (zipped) folder
      • Add the 6 digit reference number to your zip folder name (ie. 532356-YourProjectName.zip)
      • Upload the zip folder to this specific  SPM FTS link(You will need to log in to FTS using your C Number or AD Account Name.)
      • Wait for the files to completely upload and then click "Send File."
      File size / PII
      • For all files, including large (over 100MB) and files with sensitive data (PII), use this link:  SPM FTS
      • If you are sending multiple files, please put them in a folder, then right click the folder and send them to a "compressed (zipped) folder".
    • How long will it take to print my project?

      Our normal turn-around time is approximately two weeks. However, many jobs are complex and require additional time to print or produce. If you need a project completed by a certain date, please let us know in advance and we will try to accommodate. For orders needed in 2 business days or less, please contact a team member at 444-3053. Rush charges may apply.
    • What is my responsibility for the proofing process?

      Yes, we provide a proof with every job, unless otherwise requested. We can provide a digital (via email) and/or a hard-copy proof depending on the complexity and timeline of your project.

      It is your responsibility to review your proof thoroughly. Proofs are furnished to you for two reasons: (1) to review for typographical, spelling and grammatical errors or mistakes in layout and (2) to ensure your publication complies with copyright and other applicable intellectual property laws. If the publication needs to be seen by more than one person in a department, it is the responsibility of the person requesting the publication to route the proof to the appropriate people. If an error is missed during the proofing process that should have been caught within the department requesting the publication and a publication must be reprinted, the department that requested the publication will be responsible for the cost of reprinting and any other related costs.
    • Are there certain colors or fonts I should use or avoid?

      Yes, we suggest CYMK or Pantone colors for print and universal fonts for a starting point. Fonts that are considered universal will display more consistently between different computers, programs and applications (web/print.) We print a lot of items across all agencies in Reflex Blue ink - the dark blue that you see on most state stationary. Many agencies have brand standards for colors, images and fonts. If your agency has these, we will suggest or use them when we see discrepancies or issues. (If you don’t see your agency on this list and would like to, please email SPM@mt.gov.)
      AGENCY COLORS FONTS
      Administration Blue 296C and 7694C Helvetica
      Agriculture Brown 4625U 100, 50% and blue 541U Trajan, Goudy
      Commerce Brand Book Helvetica Neue
      Environmental Equality Blue 2945C and 2925 C Gotham
      General Services 294C, 370C, 7579C, 7710C, Warm Gray 9C Helvetica Neue Condensed
      Labor & Industry Blue 541U ITC Franklin Gothic
      Fish, Wildlife & Parks Brand Library Gotham Narrow
      Justice Depends on division Copperplate, Cambria
      Office of Public Instruction Red 1797U/RGB 193|9|48, black, white Myriad
      State Fund Blue 285U and 287U Rubik
      Secretary of State Blue 295C and gold 872C Garamond
      Transportation CMYK blue 100|45|0|37 and gray 52|43|43|8 Franklin Gothic
    • Why is there a processing fee applied to my invoice?

      Print & Mail has cost recovery rates that apply to all externally purchased materials and goods. For materials there is an automatic 20% markup and for printed items the fee is 8.8% with a $800 capped maximum. This covers the time associated for Print & Mail staff to research / bid items, supply quotes / estimates, handle vendor negotiations / reconciliation, contract management, and invoicing /billing.
    • What is a cost disclosure statement and do I need one on my project?

      Per 18-7-306, MCA, cost disclosures are required to be printed on all publicly distributed printed materials, excluding personalized items such as business cards, letterheads, envelopes, etc.

      Cost disclosures must be printed on the exterior cover, the same size type as the body copy of the publication and boxed in a one-point rule. It is a requirement, so if you check “no” on the order form and choose to not print it, you are taking the risk upon your department.

      ____ copies of this public document were published at an estimated cost of $______ per copy, for a total cost of $______, which includes $_____ for printing and $_____ for distribution.


      This document was produced by ____ department and was printed at state expense. Information on the cost of this publication can be obtained by contacting ____ name, phone, email, address.


       
    • What is an ADA statement and do I need one on my project?

      An ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) statement is a disclosure stating how and where to locate alternative, accessible formats on printed materials. Typically an additional PDF, HTML, Word, Text or RTF file is available that can be accessed by everyone, regardless of physical abilities. ADA statements are required under both the employment and public access provisions for documents intended for the public use and may be enforced per agency.

      Examples of ADA statements:

      Alternative accessible formats of this document will be provided upon request. Please contact ____ name, phone, email, address, to request this document in a different format.

      The ____ office/department/bureau is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If a disability-related accommodation, an alternate format of a document is needed, or if there are questions concerning accommodations, please contact ____ name, phone, email, address.

      The ____ office/department/bureau is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities upon request. You may contact ____ at (phone number, address, email) to request an alternate, accessible format of this document.

      If you are a person with a disability and require an alternate, accessible format of this document, please contact (phone number, address, email).

      Helpful ADA links: Accessibility | PDF Format | Word Format | Color | Contrast | Vision Check | Color Blindness Simulator
    • How do I receive postage discounts through Print & Mail?

      Over 70% of all mail processed through Print & Mail is mailed at a discounted rate. There are two different ways that mail can be processed: presorted (via the NetSort or Satori) and metered. All mail that is presorted has an average discount of 3 cents per mail piece. That might not seem like a lot, but for large mailings, it can be a huge cost saver. Mail pieces that need to be metered are handwritten, too thick (aka shape based mail,) parcels or flats. Those are mailed at retail rate plust our processing fee. Everything else is mailed in bulk (aka presorted,) which means that all mailings regardless of quantity can be comingled and mailed at a discounted rate.
    • What are the USPS requirements for addressing mail?

      • * Automated mail processing machines read addresses on mailpieces from the bottom up and will first look for a city, state, and ZIP code. Then the machines look for a delivery address. If the machines can’t find either line, then your mailpiece could be delayed or misrouted. Any information below the delivery address line (a logo, a slogan, or an attention line) could confuse the machines and misdirect your mail.
      • * Always put the attention line on top -- never below the city and state or in the bottom corner of your mailpiece.
      • * If you can’t fit the suite or apartment number on the same line as the delivery address, put it on the line ABOVE the delivery address, NOT on the line below. 
      • * Words like “east” and “west” are called directionals and they are VERY important. A missing or a bad directional can prevent your mail from being delivered correctly.
      • * Abbreviate directionals to N, S, E, W, NE, NW, SE, SW. 
      • * If you have long address fields, you can use abbreviations to shorten words like APARTMENT to APT. Please follow the USPS abbreviation guide. USPS abbreviation guide.
      • * When a First-Class Mail letter is square, rigid or meets one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics it will be subject to a nonmachinable surcharge.
      • * Fancy type fonts such as those used on wedding invitations do not read well on mail processing equipment. Fancy fonts look great on your envelopes, but also may slow down your mail.
      • * Almost 25% of all mail pieces have something wrong with the address -- for instance, a missing apartment number or a wrong ZIP code. Can some of those mailpieces get delivered, in spite of the incorrect address? Yes. But it costs the Postal Service time and money to do that.
        • Maximum 5 lines per address
        • Maximum 35 characters per line
        • Maximum 2 address lines
        • Minimum 10 pt universal font
        • All capital letters
        • No punctuation
        • Left justified
        • One space between city and state
        • Two spaces between state and ZIP Code
        • Address and the postage must be on the same side of mailpiece
        • Address should be parallel to the longest side
        • Black ink on white or light paper (no reverse type - white printing on a black background)
    • When I submit an address file what is included in the cleanup process?

      For all mailings your excel file will be reduced down to plain data in the format of a .csv. Then we check to make sure the headers and columns match up correctly. For example if the city, state and zip code are all in the same cell, we break each category out into it’s own column. We also convert all address related fields to all caps and remove any unnecessary punctuation. All apartments, suites, buildings, trailers, etc. are combined with the main address if they are in a separate column. The final part is to check for character count and abbreviate as needed. These steps are completed unless specifically requested to leave the files as is for legal reasons.

      In order to give you a discounted postage rate, we use a program called Satori to verify addresses and presort mailings. We use this software for all address merges over 1000 (unless otherwise requested) and by request for smaller mailings (minimum of 100.) Satori does a more in depth clean up using the USPS based CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) to standardize and correct abbreviations, spelling and city names, as well as add the ZIP+4 code. The program also checks against the NCOA (National Change of Address) database for people and businesses that have moved and updates the address file with their new address. You can also, by request only, have your address file deduplicated.

      Based on weight and thickness, Satori generates postage rates, barcodes and a presort report for the USPS for a more efficient mailing Another service we offer through Satori is a deliverability report. We can send you quantities and exports of the “good” deliverable and “bad” undeliverable addresses you have in your mailing. This can be a huge cost saver for postage. Instead of paying for postage on addresses that more than likely will not get delivered to, we can generate reports with error codes and explanations of undeliverability. Included in the deliverable report are the “move updates” or the people who have filed an change of address with the USPS. You can use these reports to update your database/records.

      Inkjet jobs are a little bit different in that we don’t need to generate a barcode, but we can still run your addresses through Satori if you want cleaner addresses for a better deliverability rate. The discount on inkjetted jobs is applied via the NetSort, where each address is read by multiple scanners and then sorted by zip code prior to delivery to the post office.
    • Do you provide training for file setup?

      We currently are in the process of setting up some basic design tutorial classes, so stay tuned. However, we have four designers who are available, over the phone and in person, to answer any questions about file setup, exporting files, prepping your files for print, etc. We primarily use Adobe programs (Acrobat, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) but can also help you convert Microsoft files to PDFs.
    • Do you provide presentations about your services?

      Yes, members of our team can come to your agency and give a presentation about all of the different services we provide to state agencies. Please contact Ryan Bahnmiller to set up a time and location.
    • What is the Managed Print Program?

      The Managed Print Program provides agencies access to lease and/or own a Multi-Functional Device (MFD.) To optimize the State’s leased printing and imaging devices, such as printers, fax machines, copiers and scanners, MFD’s consolidate as many functions as possible into one device. The program is designed to save agencies money, increase the level of customer service, simplify procurement of MFDs, and migrate to a true managed print solution.

Other questions? We have an amazing customer service team to help you.