Frequently Asked Questions
What information must I provide in order to place a custom order?

What information must I provide in order to place a custom order?
All custom folder and diploma orders must be discussed prior to ordering to assure you are getting what you expect and need. We find it mutually beneficial to discuss your order needs over the phone.

When you call, it will assist us in knowing the following information:

For Covers/Folders: 

      • Document Size (full dimensions – i.e. 8.5″ x 11″ or 8″ x 10″)
      • Orientation (portrait or landscape)
      • Fold Preference (top or side opening)
      • Color Preference (cover, ribbon)
      • Lining Preference (material & color)
      • Stamping Requirements/Needs (see camera-ready black on white)
      • Etching Requirements/Needs (see also camera-ready black on white)
      • Quantity Needed

For Certificates/Diplomas:

      • Document Size (full dimensions – i.e. 8.5″ x 11″ or 8″ x 10″)
      • Orientation (portrait or landscape)
      • Etching Preferences/Needs
      • Seals & Signatures
      • Quantity Needed

For Frames:

      • Orientation (portrait or landscape)
      • Moulding/Material Preference
      • Embossing Preference/Needs (gold, silver, or black)
      • Number of Openings
      • Mat Color
What is required to stamp an image on a cover/folder?

We need to use a magnesium die etched with the art in order to print the image (logo, school/company name, seal, etc.)on a folder, imprint, or flex cover. The die is made from a black on white image.

What is camera-ready, black on white?

In order for our manufacturing facility to produce either a stamping die or lithographic printing plate, we need to know which areas will be pressed in order to produce the image on the product. This process uses a camera to make a negative from a black image on a solid white background. The negative is then used to project the image onto a photo-sensitive metal and the transposed image is either etched or burned out. Shades of gray will not work for this process. For a Diploma or Certificate where multiple colors are required, separate dies or plates need to be made for each color.  If there is more than one image to be printed, they should be accurately spaced for orientation and repetitive quality. Please do not put on separate sheets.

Can you make black on white artwork?

Yes. The cost will depend on the detail and any modifications to the image. We can give you a more firm quote once our art department sees the image and understands the stated modifications, if any. If your image is text only, our art department may be able to duplicate or design the black on white for you.

In what format can I submit artwork?

Artwork images should be submitted as a .jpg or .tif file to

Can you match a sample I have exactly?

Yes. If the product is constructed from a material we do not stock, there will be a requirement of a minimum quantity to purchase. If your cover will be stamped, the appropriate dies and/or plates must be produced at our die maker. Should we be unable to match your sample exactly or if it is economically unfeasible to use a non-stocked material, we could customize a similar product for you using different in-house materials.

For Certificate/Diploma Printing, what are Engraving, Thermography, Foil Stamping, and Personalizing?

There are two types of printing effects. Smooth, flat printing (Lithography) and bumpy, raised printing (Engraving &Thermography).


Lithography is based on the principle that oil and water don’t mix. The image to be lithographed, usually from camera-ready black on white, is created on a plate with a greasy material that repels water. When water is run over the plate, the non-image areas absorb it. Then, when the oily ink hits the plate, it’s attracted to the similarly greasy image, and repelled by the rest of the wet plate. As paper is pressed onto the plate, it picks up the ink.


Engraving and Thermography are both techniques of raised letter printing. Engraving involves the cutting or copying of a design into a metal plate called a die or engraving plate. The die is inked and wiped clean, leaving ink in the impressions. The paper is laid on the die and the press forces the paper into the cavities of the die to achieve the raised lettering effect and tell-tale indentation on the back of the product. Thermography begins with a flat imprint of a specially-formulated ink. A specially designed powder is then sprinkled over the wet ink and both are bonded to the paper by heat to produce the raised look. Thermography simulates the appearance of the more-expensive engraving process but without the fineness of detail.


Foil Stamping is similar to engraving in that the process also uses a die, made from camera-ready black on white artwork, to produce the desired effect. By applying pressure and temperature, the die releases the impressed foil from its ribbon and adheres it to the product. Depending on how the die(s) is made, the resulting stamp could be embossed (raised) or debossed (depressed). Blind debossing is a term used for a stamp that is depressed without any foil.


For certificates and diplomas that have similar background with only a recipient name or other textual changes, templates of the backgrounds are made before the personalization of individual certificates are printed. This process of printing the individual specifications onto the pre-printed template certificate is referred to as Personalizing or engrossing. It can be done in any of the formats listed above, however, because of the cost of engraving dies or lithography plates, it more economical to use typesetting.

What are your minimum order quantities?

Covers and Folders

Our standard, “on the shelf” products, with no stamp, are available with no minimum quantities required. Any covers/folders that utilize foil stamping or other customization will require a minimum order of 25 pieces.


Diplomas and Certificates

All custom diplomas & certificates require a minimum order of 50 pieces.

How long will it take to manufacture my custom order?

Generally, your custom order will take between 8 to 9 weeks to manufacture. This can take longer if non-stock materials are used. We will be able to give you a more accurate time line when you request a quote for your project.

How can I get a quote or samples?
Can you direct mail my order?

Yes. Direct mail of Diplomas/Certificates is available. Applicable shipping and handling charges will apply to those orders.

For more information contact Partnership Sales, LLC at or 205-408-0202 for a custom quote.