1st Set realistic deadlines.

magazine printing, book printing, catalog printing

When we look for an optimal result in the printing of our final arts, we must make sure that your work as good as seen on the computer screen looks as what is on the paper.

This step should be done from the beginning, to decide some parameters which will be crucial for printing and getting your work well. Then,from our creative team, we explain 10 mandates for perfect printing and all the steps to take into account to ensure your printing process as smooth as possible so that you don’t need to stress about deadlines.

Since finishing a large print project can take time, the best way to avoid getting stuck is to estimate in a realistic way the time that your project will take and add that into your scheduling efforts.

To estimate well, you need to take into account the production time and the printing time, since most print shops deal with a variety of projects and cannot always start your project immediately.Therefore, if you plan realistic deadlines allowing enough time for your final project, your job will be able to be completed on time.

2nd Leave space for the bleed area

Printers(as in printing machines) cannot print all the way to the edges of a sheet of paper.  So, printers will always leave a small white border around the edges of the paper.  If you don’t want to see this on your final product, this means that you want your piece to “bleed”.

Fora printing piece to bleed, the piece will be printed out with a white border around it (as always, since, as said before, printing machines cannot print all the way to the edge of a paper), and then it will be cut into a smaller final piece.

This involves some extra effort and care when designing your artwork digitally. You will need to create an extra bleed zone on the edges of your graphic artwork(so that the person cutting the piece has some space to cut it).

For example: If you are designing a brochure whose final size will be 15 × 10 cm. the size that you have to send to the printer must be 15.6 × 10.6 cm. In this way, you will be expanding the design 3 mm. for each side and those 3 mms will be the bleed of the document. The standard size for the bleed area is 3mm but may vary.

3rd Use high-resolution files

Pixels on your computer screen can look very good, but then when the file is printed to a piece of paper you might not think it looks so great. Therefore, the best way to avoid problems and discrepancies in quality if you are working on a project is to use files with the highest possible resolution in your design program.

4th Proof read and spell check your work  

It seems obvious, but proofreading your work is still definitely worth mentioning here, as you don’t want to wait until you have already printed out 10,000 copies before you see a mistake. It is very important to double check the spelling of the whole text and especially your contact info (name, address, and phone number).

5thChoose the right color mode

It is very important to choose the right color space before starting the design process, in order to avoid discrepancies once it is printed off. You need to make sure to change your digital artwork from RGB, (Red, Green, Blue) which refers to the three colors produced and used on an electronic screen like your computer monitor, to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), which are the colors used in printing machines.

Since your printed piece will print in CMYK, your monitor will produce a more accurate reproduction of what your printed piece will look like if your digital artwork is in CMYK

(Note that even when your digital artwork is in CMYK mode, what you see on the screen will never exactly match what you will see when you print it out on a piece of paper, because on your monitor you are viewing lighted liquid crystals and on your paper you are viewing ink. So, please print out one sample and adjust your colors on your computer if necessary).

6thSpecify the page size and paper type

After fulfilling mandate 5, you need to focus on the page size and paper type. 

The page size is relatively straight forward. How big do you want the final product to be?  Most printed pieces are printed on letter sized paper (8.5 x 11 inches). You should choose this based on how much information you are putting on your printing piece.  Too much white space does not look good, so if you don’t have too much information to get across, choose a smaller paper size.

Next,you should consider what type of paper you want your printing piece to be printed on. For most printing pieces, you will just be deciding whether or not you want it to be glossy or non-glossy. Postcards, flyers, coupons, brochures, and door-hangers look nice on glossy paper.

You might want to use a non-glossy paper though, if you want to aim for a more traditional or antique feel. Also, if someone will eventually be writing on your printing piece (for example, an appointment card where the appointment date will be written in with a pen), make sure to use a non-glossy paper of course, as it is hard to write on glossy paper with a pen or pencil.

Another important fact is the paper weight. A thicker and more sturdy paper will help your printing piece make a bigger impact at times, as it can feel like it is more important if it is thicker. Thicker paper is more expensive though of course, so keep this mind.

7thChoose the right fonts

The fonts you choose can make a big effect on the overall feel of your project.Some fonts are very decorative, some are very formal, and some are very informal and fun. You will come across several options when choosing the fonts,and the choices may seem overwhelming.

However,one universal tip is to use non-serif fonts for titles and things that will be quickly read, and serif fonts for body paragraphs. Non-serif fonts are easier and quicker to read, and serif fonts are good for body paragraphs because they guide the viewers eyes across the page while reading each line.

 Another universal tip is to not use synthetic fonts. A synthetic font is when your computer program creates a synthetic variation (bold, italics, black, etc) of a font if that specific variation of the font is not installed on your computer. A good graphic designer will already know this, but if you make the artwork yourself, this is a good thing to know and learn about.

Aside from that, you will have to experiment to see which fonts fit the mood of your project.  Some projects will call for the more decorative fonts, some will call for the more formal fonts, and some will call for the more informal fonts.

8th No less than 300 dpi resolution

DPI means dots per inch. Most commercial printing machines will produce images at 300dpi. Thus, digital artwork that is less than 300 dpi will look blurred and pixelated after printing it. Consequently, many printing companies will reject artwork which isn’t supplied at 300 dpi.

Once digital artwork has been designed at a lower DPI, it is very hard to fix it.So, make sure you start out at 300 dpi (or higher) from the very beginning of your project. You can do this by setting up your files in your digital artwork program to be at least 300 dpi.  Also,whenever you grab and image from the web to use in your digital artwork, make sure it is at least 300 dpi.

9th Run a test before the product is printed

Printing a sample of your work before producing your entire run will help you to amend any issues, particularly with text, bleed area, colors, resolution and so on. It will also give you a feel for how the final product will look and if you want to change something you would still be on time.

This is something that even the “experts” do. With today’s advanced workflows and advanced digital artwork production,there are just so many things that can go wrong or be forgotten about that even the most experienced graphic designers might forget or overlook something. So,please don’t forget to create a sample and look at it very carefully.

10th Ask for assistance if you need it

Print shops have a team to provide help to clients to ensure their projects are printed correctly. If you have any doubt, it is best to just ask for assistance. After all, you will be spending your hard earned money on your printing pieces and so you want it to be perfect!

These guidelines will help you end up with a printed piece of high quality. If you go to a local print shop, you will be speaking to someone face to face and he/she will hopefully help you with all of these things.

However,if you choose to use an online printing company, you might be expected to have already done a lot of these steps on your own. Online printing service providers seek all the necessary specifications from their clients before printing.

For the past decade or so, since the major online printing companies became popular, people everywhere in the country have been able to conveniently send their digital artwork to these online printing services and then get their printing products delivered to their front door about a week later.

This has been great, but this process has disadvantages too, such as the fact that you won’t be able to see your end product until it is at your front door – and then you may be upset with what you see on paper because you forgot about one of the 10 mandates above or something else went wrong. So, taking these 10 mandates into account can help you avoid such a problem from occurring.  We hope this helps!

Written by Jasdeep S and Patricia London of Printbroker Associates Print Broker Associates