If you have ever had to send a project to print, you will know that it is a dizzying task. I think that, when it comes to printing, we all have the same doubts: will it look good? Won’t it be too small? Will the colors look as I have decided? Etc. I bet what you want that some of these doubts ring a bell.
If, on the contrary, they do not, either it is because you are a genius and you work in printing, or. Because you have never stopped to think about the thousand errors. That can occur since the designs (or “final arts”) leave the designer and go to press.
That is why in this post I am going to explain the ten basic tips you need to know before sending your files to print. To guarantee the success of a professional and error-free printing.
1. Work with The Right Size
From the moment you start working on the design. You have to take into account the size in which it will be printed. You should always work in real size. In printing, there is no possibility of “expanding it a little” because quality is lost.
This applies both to the general level of the file (if you print in an A4, A5 or special formats) and to the images (if they occupy 10cm, look for an image that is the appropriate size. But do not stretch them).
2. Always at A Resolution of 300dpi
Once you create a new document, after putting the appropriate measurements, you have to make sure to assign the appropriate resolution. For printing, the ideal is to work with a resolution of 300dpi (dpi = dots per inch).
If you don’t have all the elements that make up the file at this resolution, when you print it, it will look pixelated. Many of the images we take from the internet have a resolution of 72dpi, insufficient quality for printing.
So to avoid scares, make sure you always use a resolution of 300dpi. And change the files that you are going to use to this resolution and do not have it. In the image you see a fictitious example of what an image would look like printed in an optimal resolution and in a too low resolution.
3. Use CMYK or Pantone, Never RGB
When your designs go to print, forget about RGB, as this method only applies to screens, and not ink. Therefore, it is best to work in CMYK or with Pantone colors (as long as you have a pantone handy).
If you work without Pantone, but in CMYK, the colors you see on the screen will be a bit different from the final print result (more muted, surely) but you will not have unpleasant color surprises.
4. Beware of Gradients!
Gradients are now a trend. But you must be careful when using them for print jobs, as the result on screen and on paper may be different.
There are some gradients that, when printed, create an unsightly line effect. So if you don’t have it controlled, better avoid it or do tests before printing.
5. Always Leave Room for Bleeding
If your design has images that take up all the space provided by any logo designing agency, it is very likely that you want that when printed there are no white margins around it. To avoid them, you have to make use of document bleed.
The blood (or bleeding) consists of designing with the size you require, but always leaving outer margins of a few millimeters so that, when printing and then guillotine, there are no white margins.
6. Trace The Fonts and Vector Objects
Printers have an extensive font catalog, but even so, to ensure that the fonts you have chosen for your design are not lost or replaced by others, you should always draw them before saving the final file to send to print.
The same is true for vector objects. Make sure you have them well laid out to avoid warping in the printing process.
7. Check Your Spelling
Yes, although it seems basic, there are many people who skip this step. It is not pleasant to receive a flyer, magazine or any other object and see that there are spelling mistakes. So make sure you check it out well.
A trick that we follow in the study is to review among all the file that must be printed. Because ten eyes see more than two, right? Also, when you’re working a long time on something, sometimes you don’t notice the silliest little details that can make a difference.
8. Make Tests and Mockups
As I said in point 4 (about gradients), the best thing to ensure that there are no printing errors is to make a test or a model at home. Ok, the quality will not be the same, but it will help you to notice errors in color, size, layout or spelling, among others.
9. Always Save In PDF
There is a theory that rarely fails: if it looks good in PDF, it will print well. If you follow the steps above and also save your file in high-quality PDF (and even with crop marks), it is very likely that you will not get any unpleasant surprise when you see the final printed file.
10. When in Doubt, Ask
I guess with this last trick I have not revealed anything of the other world. However, sometimes we despair looking for the solution when the easiest, fastest and most productive thing is to call the professional in question to solve our doubts. In this case, to the printer, who will surely not object to answering you.
These are the ten essential tricks, which we almost consider as sacred points in the study, that we follow every time we are faced with a design project for printing.
Have you ever had a scare when you went to pick up your work and saw that what you had designed does not correspond to what you have in your hands? I assure you that with this Decalogue for printing it will never happen to you again.
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