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A Guide To Print-Ready Files

Caitlin PennyBy Caitlin Penny 1 year agoNo Comments
Home  /  Printing  /  A Guide To Print-Ready Files

YOU’RE READY TO PRINT…BUT ARE YOUR FILES?

There are many factors that must be considered before sending your files to the printer. Printing perfection can be achieved with pre-flight care.

Being “Print-ready” means that the file has all of the specifications necessary to produce high-resolution results, without requiring any additional revisions or alterations.

The type of file you submit is also a determining factor for whether a commercial printer can print your layout. A high-res Adobe PDF is universally accepted compared to any other file, therefore being your best option. Files created with Microsoft programs such as Word, Publisher or PowerPoint(all of which can be converted to a PDF) often require some sort of conversion to make them print-ready. Often, a file may look completely fine on your desktop but may not translate(fonts, placement etc.) correctly for your commercial printer. Packaged art files from InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop etc. are best if you require changes or edits to your artwork. When in doubt, check with your printer for acceptable files beforehand.

In order to smoothly transition from the design stage to printing, here are some processes you should you put in place to avoid expensive mistakes:

SIZE MATTERS: Make sure the document or file is the correct size you need printed.

CMYK ALL DAY: Color must be set as CMYK and not RGB. RGB is for web only.

MARGIN OF ERROR: Please allow ample margins (information is at least 1/4 inch from any trimmed edge)

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: Photos must be high-resolution at a minimum of 300dpi to ensure quality.

BLEED IT OUT: Bleeds need to be set up correctly (artwork should extend at least 1/8 past crop marks to allow any variations in printing and cutting.)

OH, CROP! Make sure crop marks are correctly placed on your document.

WHAT THE FONT? Make sure all fonts are outlined to prevent translation errors.

SPELLING BEE: Spelling and grammar should be checked as it is not the printer’s responsibility.

It is essential to thoroughly proof your documents before going to the printer. One of the easiest ways to guarantee a quality finished item is to print out a proof of your design. This will eliminate questions that may arise during the printing process.

ARE YOU SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE?

What is a PDF?
A file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed and electronically transmitted.

What is CMYK?
(Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) This color mode is used for final separations for the press. It is also referred to as 4 color process. CMYK is the most common type of color you will find on printed material such as magazines, brochures and newspapers.

What is RGB?
(Red, Green, Blue) RGB is associated with screens such as your computer, camera or television. Screens produce different color combinations which is why a file on your screen will look different than printed.

What does High-Resolution Mean?
Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. It is the quality of an image. Photos should be 300dpi for print.

What is DPI?
(Dots per inch) Also known as pixels, measure the density of an image when printed. 72 dpi resolution is an image that has very little ink per square inch. 300dpi has a lot of ink, therefore being the best solution for printed images.

What is a bleed?
Bleed is the industry term for any color or image that goes right to the edge of the paper. This means you must extend the artwork or “make the color spill off the page” within the file at least 1/8 inch past the edge of the canvas.

What are crop marks?
Crops are also something printers are going to ask for. These marks help the printer identity where your piece should be cut – especially if your file has a bleed.

WE LOVE PRINT-READY FILES! <3

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Caitlin Penny
About

 Caitlin Penny

  (16 articles)

I am a 22 year old graduate from Collins College Class of 2013. I have been working for Splash Printing and Marketing since January 2015. I have loved art and design ever since I was little so I decided to make it my career. One day I hope to own my own design business and be able to travel the world.

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