Last week I enlightened you with 5 helpful tips for successful print-ready files. As promised, I’ve returned with Part 2 of this topic, so without further ado, here are 5 more tips for preparing your print-ready files.
6. SIZE MATTERS! (Print Size, That Is)
Be sure to always create your files at the actual size you want them printed. Also, make sure you have the appropriate resolution, for most print jobs (e.g. brochures, business cards and flyers) 300dpi is acceptable. If you fail to build your files at actual size, you will most definitely run into issues during printing. Just think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to create a poster at business card size and expect it to print out perfectly crisp when the printer enlarges it to poster size, right? *Please note that large scale printing (e.g. bus benches and billboards) follow different rules for file size… but that’s a topic for another day!
7. STICK WITH CMYK
This is a design basic! RGB is used for on-screen, such as websites and eblasts. CMYK is used for print, such as posters and flyers, just to name a few. That being said, always convert your files to CMYK before printing – even if you can’t see any change on screen, it can make a world of difference when printed.
8. GET A PROOF
For multi-page documents, such as programs or books, it’s helpful to provide your printer with a proof. That way they can ensure that all pages are in the correct position and things are aligned the way you want them. In addition to giving your printer a proof, also request a color proof from your printer. This will allow you to fix any color issues before they run the whole job and you’re stuck with something that isn’t right.
No, I’m not talking about actual blood, I’m talking about the bleeds on your document. Be sure to ALWAYS include bleeds on your document… I have found that a 1/8” (or .125”) bleed works fine.
10. GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
I have found that the key to successful printing projects is to get to know your printer. Most printers are more than willing to work with you to get your projects printed to your satifaction. Don’t be afraid to ask question, tour the print facility or voice your opinion when your project just isn’t printing right. If your printer doesn’t seem to be offering you any help, don’t be afraid to try a new printer!
Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you create successful print-ready files. Good luck and happy printing!
Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer