Tips to Make Your Design Files Print-Ready

September 20th, 2013 by admin

Every graphic designer in the world is familiar with dreaded deadlines and the stress that they can cause! It can be extremely frustrating to spend hours and hours designing your work, only t o send it to the printer and get back something far from what you had envisioned.

here are some guidelines to follow to help make your design files print-ready, and a little less stressful.

Timing is Everything. 
Find out what your printer’s turn-around time is before you start your project. This will enable you to get your work in your printer’s hands on schedule. More than likely your printer does have other print jobs to run, missing your scheduled press time could result in your project getting pushed back a few days or even worse, a few weeks.

Also, allow enough time for your printer to run the job twice, in case there are any errors in printing, machine failures, and any other unexpected delays (you know…Murphy’s Law)

Embed Your Fonts.
Don’t assume your printer has every font in the universe, especially the eclectic ones in your font library. For the sake of design integrity, make sure you embed your fonts directly onto the document you are printing. This will prevent font substitutions if the printer you’re working with doesn’t recognize the font.

As any designer knows, there is a distinct difference between Garamond and Bookman, Courier and Times, so take the extra time to include your font files with the document!

Size Matters.
Be sure when creating your document, you design it to actual size. There’s nothing worse than creating a document that is smaller than it’s actual size, sending it to the printer and getting your design back that looks fuzzy and falls short in clarity do to lack of resolution.

You’ll soon find that something that looks great on your screen can turn into a design disaster when printed in the large format for which it was intended.

Proof. Proof. Proof.
As designers, we’ve all been there. You’ve sent your project off to be printed, only to have your client call you a few days later to say that their phone number or website is wrong. Oh the sinking feeling in your stomach. Not only can a simple digit cost you a lot of money, it could also cost you your reputation. Allow yourself plenty of time to thoroughly proof your document for any typographical, punctuation and grammatical errors.

One of the best ways to proof your copy is to read it backwards. It may sound silly, but it makes it much easier to catch any glaring errors.

Image (size) is Everything.
Your images should fit properly into the document, but even if you get the actual size of the image correct, don’t forget to make certain your resolution is high enough.

To get the best results in terms of finished product, make the resolution of your images 300dpi, the highest print resolution used at most print shops.

Color Your World.
Make sure your document is converted from RGB to CMYK to avoid costly color corrections. Despite not being able to tell the difference on a computer screen, the printing different is dramatic.

What Else…
There are many factors which must be considered before sending your documents to the printer. Make a list of pre-flight guidelines to keep near your computer. Printing perfection can be achieved with pre-flight care. What other tips wouldyou add to list? Have you had any experience with any of these common issues?

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