When you’ve received a great looking design for your branded material from your designer or agency and just can’t wait to send it off to the printer, take a step back. Even the best looking designs can have hidden errors that can cause misprints or delays, costing your business loads of time and money. These errors could have crept in for a variety of reasons during the initial design or revert process. Now, there are many technical aspects that go into design but if you’re well informed as to what printers require and the basics of artwork preparation, you’ll be better equipped to streamline your marketing process by knowledgeably engaging with your designers and printing partner. Below are five key areas that need to be on your checklist for better printing:
Safe Zones & Bleed
These are the areas just inside and outside the border of your artwork respectively. They ensure no important part of the image is lost during the cutting of your prints and that there is no blank space around the edges.
JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, PSD, AI; these are just some of the types of image files out there, but which ones are right for printing? Professional design programmes like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator use industry-developed features to package artwork files so they’re suitable for printing. Most companies also accept high-resolution PDFs made through other software, which will preserve the correct settings for print. Ultimately, there are a lot of different file types, each optimised for a specific use, so it’s best to ask your print partner what they require.
CMYK is king. If your printed design’s colours don’t match what you saw on your screen, that means your design file was set to RGB colour mode, which is not used for printing. You need to make sure your artwork file is set to CMYK for the same colours to display on both your screen and your printed material.
An image on a laptop screen might look sharp and clear but when you enlarge the image for print, low-resolution images will get blurry and grainy. Make sure your resolution is high enough for your printing needs. A standard high-quality image for print is set at pixel density of 300ppi. Best practice would be to setup your image size at 100% in relevance to the design. This will help reduce your file size and print most accurately, dot for dot.
Make sure you’ve had your design proofread for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in the copy. Your visuals might be stunning, but having a misspelt headline is going to seriously undermine your message, make your business seem unprofessional and can cause miscommunication with clients and consumers. Copy errors are easy to miss and expensive to fix once printed, so make sure you have more than one person proofread your designs. For barcode guidelines and implementations visit https://gs1za.org/barcodes/
Working with an experienced design agency and printing partner will help you avoid errors, make the process run more smoothly and keep you on budget. Having been in the printing industry since 1997, FIL delivers world-class flexographic and digital labelling solutions. Our approachable and professional team will be your strategic partner in print. Feel free to request our detailed artwork checklist for expert guidance. We look forward to hearing from you so we can collaborate on your next printing project.