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Getting your design ready for print

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Getting your design ready for print

It’s something we see everyday, a file gets sent to print but gets rejected for a multitude of reasons, no bleed, poor resolution, spelling mistakes or an incorrect colour format. We’ve put together some top tips on ensuring your files are ready to go to print and minimising any delays:

Allow plenty of time

One of the biggest print mistakes, you’re close to a deadline for print and you leave your document setup until the last minute. You don’t allow time for a proof and you end up getting back a finished product that’s substandard. Don’t fall into the trap, the last setup bit is often one of the most important factors in a good end result.

Setup your document correctly 

It’s important you know what your printer needs from you in terms of artwork. make sure you know how they would like the document setting up, is it a print ready PDF, do they require it in pages or spreads, are there any special requirements relating to Spot UV or cutting? Setting up your document correctly in the first place can save a lot of time going backwards and forwards with your printer.

Don’t forget bleed and crop marks …

Does your artwork run to the edge of the page? Then it will need a bleed. The standard size bleed is 3mm but it is always worth checking with your printer what their requirements are. The bleed allows the print to bleed over the edge allowing for the pages to be trimmed to size once printed. Include crop marks so that your printer knows where they should be trimming.

CMYK all the way …

On screen we use RGB colour format but in print we use CMYK. make sure your document is setup in CMYK so that there aren’t any nasty surprises when you get the finished product. Despite the fact you probably won’t see any difference on screen the print results will be dramatically different.

Convert your fonts outlines 

Make sure any fonts within your artwork are outlined. Whilst a lot of printers have access to a wide selection of fonts it’s always better to be on the safe side. Once the fonts are outlined there can be no scope for mistake on your print.

Check image proportions, dimensions and resolution

Images that look ok on screen at a standard 72dpi may not appear the same in print. Take time to ensure that images are in proportion, of a good resolution for the print size and don’t look pixelated on your proof. Low resolution images will only spoil the finished results so it is worth substituting any images  that are low res for higher ones. Images that have been enlarged significantly from their original size can suffer quality degradation so it is worth being vigilant. As a guide your image resolution should be 300dpi.

Create a print ready PDF

Most printers now require a print ready PDF for sending artwork to print. When saving your PDF make sure you include crop marks and bleed and save for high quality print. If the product is a brochure supply the PDF in pages not spreads.

Proof your document

Probably the most important part of the process, proof, proof, proof. It can’t be emphasised enough just how key this is. There can be no greater pain than having spent a large amount of money on print, to discover a typo or an image problem. Take your time and where possible make sure more than one person proof reads the document. You’re not only checking the print setup here but the document as a whole!

You’re setup, it’s checked, now it’s time to print it!

Our design team are experts in helping you go from ideas to print, whether you already have something that needs formatting for print, or you need a new concept from scratch they can help you. The design team work extremely closely with our print division, they can advise on the right type of print, the correct paper stock and give you ideas how to incorporate features such as spot UV through your design.

Then you can sit back and wait for the finished product to arrive! And if you’re anything like us you won’t be able to stop looking at it, touching it and smelling it! Yes we said smell it, who doesn’t love the smell of fresh print?

J. G Fenns
West Court,
Campbell Rd,
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 4FB
01782 344000