the PROCESS: how things work

Thank you for working with us! We’re excited to help you create something beautiful and meaningful.  Our goal is to provide excellent service and to make your experience with Aardvark enjoyable, clear and efficient.  Below is some useful information and a statement of our policies. You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have any additional questions or want to discuss anything in more depth, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Getting Started:

Each project starts with an idea. You may already have everything designed or you might be starting with a blank slate. If you already have a design, you can provide us with the print ready files. If you’re still trying to figure it all out, we have a full-time designer on staff who can help you put together a design that imparts a little piece of you or your business. Feel free to visit our Services page for some examples of our work to get some inspiration. You can also visit our Instagram or Pinterest to see examples of other custom designs. 


We recommend that you come visit our studio if that’s convenient. We can show you 50 years of printed samples of our work and you can take some samples with you. You can also check out the different paper options, look at different typefaces, and watch our vintage printing presses in action. We are next door to the oldest paper company in Los Angeles - McManus & Morgan - where you can look at papers from all over the world. You don’t need a formal appointment to visit our print studio, but we would appreciate if you would let us know when you might be coming in so we don’t schedule another client visit at the same time. But if you can’t come in, we can also provide you with just about everything related to your project via email or phone.


The best way for us to give you a reliable estimate is to provide us with the artwork or a visual representation of what you want to do.  If you don’t yet have a design, we will do our best to provide you with a reasonable estimate based on our understanding of the project. The more information and details you can provide (e.g., quantity, number of colors, type of paper, etc.), the more accurate of an estimate we can give you.

Turnaround Time/Rush Fee:

The time needed to complete your job depends on the scope of the project and how busy we are.  Although every project is different, we can typically turn around a job within 2 - 4 weeks.  If you need your job sooner than that, we will make every effort to accommodate you (a rush fee may be assessed - see below for more information on rush fees).


We require a 50% deposit to start working on a project and the balance upon completion of the job.  If the project is canceled a week or more after the deposit has been paid, the deposit is non-refundable.

Design Services:

We have a full-time designer who can help you with all aspects of your design.  There is no charge to put together an initial “rough draft” proof created from your art direction.  After the rough draft, we allow for 2 revisions at no additional charge. Any additional revision beyond this is charged at $75 per revision.

Format for Artwork:

When providing artwork for plates, we prefer vector files - .eps, .pdf, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Indesign files - as these will print sharper and clearer. Please be sure that all text is packaged or converted to outlines. Non-vector images must be provided as a BITMAP TIF at 100% size with a minimum of 800 dpi (1200 dpi is recommended). Any bitmap TIF images should be embedded in the files. If you need more detailed information, please contact us.

Proofing Your Job:

We typically will provide a digital proof of your job before we go to press (we usually don’t do this if you are providing us with final artwork). With this “proof,” we do our best to call out all of the more important specifications for your job (type of paper, quantity, ink color, etc.).  We strongly recommend that you print out the proof at 100% and review the printed version (it’s much harder to grasp the scale of the design on a computer screen or smart phone). Please review the proof very carefully and let us know if any revisions need to be made. Once you provide us with your approval, we will move forward with the job and make any necessary engraving or polymer plates.

Engraving and Polymer Plates:

We often need to make either magnesium engraving plates or photo polymer plates to print your job.  The cost of the plates will be added to your project and you retain ownership of the plates. The cost of the plates (with a few exceptions) is based on the overall size of the plate(s). For jobs that may be recurring (e.g., business cards, jobs that require re-use of a logo, etc.), we typically store the plates at no charge for future orders.  For jobs that generally would not be repeated (invitations, announcements, menus, etc.), we will hold the plates for two weeks after the job is completed (in case additional units are required or the job needs to be reprinted) and then dispose of them. If you would like to keep your plates as a memento or for any reason, please be sure to let us know and we will return them to you.

Press Check:

We recommend that you come into our studio when we go to press, if you can.  At the press check you can oversee the job as it is being printed. If any adjustments or changes need to be made (e.g., adjust positioning, pressure, color), we can make most of these during the press check.  Since most of our inks are hand-mixed, being present is the most efficient way to tweak the ink color. If attending a press check is not possible or convenient, we can also do a photo press check where we send a photo of a printed piece before doing the entire run. There is no additional charge for the press check.

Social Media:

Unless you specifically let us know that you do not want photos or any mention of your job posted on our social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Google), we will assume that we have your permission to do so.  We respect your privacy and are very sensitive to sharing any personal information (e.g., addresses, venue locations, etc.), so if you ask us not to post anything - or to wait for a certain date before we do - we will honor your request.


When your job is completed, we will contact you to let you know. Shipping or sending your job via messenger is not included with the cost of your project, but we are happy to arrange for these services at your request.  Any applicable shipping or messenger charges would be added to the price of your job.