Tips And Tricks for the Perfect Print Job
We want your print job to be perfect! Whether you design it yourself or have us do it for you, a properly executed print job is all in the details. Follow the eight handy tips below to make your next project really pop:
1. Make it Bleed
The next time you pick up a magazine or brochure, take a look at any photographs or color on the page. If it extends all the way to the edge, that’s called “bleed”. In order to make your document bleed, the bleed settings must be turned on. (Check back soon for a few handy “how-to” videos that will explain setting up a bleed in various applications.) Typically, a document that bleeds will be set up with an extra 1/8-inch margin all around. For example, a standard 8.5x11 document that needs a bleed would be set up as 8.75x11.25 (adding an extra 1/8-inch top and bottom and to both sides).
2. Make Your Marks
When it comes time to send in your file, be sure to set the document to include “crop” marks, which are also called “printers marks”. This ensures that our bindery staff will know exactly where the document is supposed to be trimmed and/or folded.
3. Think CMYK
If you want to ensure the most vivid color for your print job, make certain that all files imported into your document are converted to CMYK color settings. CMYK stands for “cyan, magenta, yellow and black” (though in the printing parlance, the K stands for “key”, which means it’s the plate you line the other plates with), the inks printers use to reproduce color. Most photographs that are created digitally are created in RGB color settings (where RGB stands for “red, green and blue”, the colors used to reproduce the spectrum in electronic images). In order to make sure that color is printed as accurately as possible, convert your photos and other images to the CMYK setting.
4. Make It High-Res
“Resolution” is a fancy term for how large an electronic image file is. When it comes to printing: the bigger, the better. Just because an image looks great on screen does not mean it will print well. In addition to checking the color settings for your photographs and/or art, be sure to check their resolution, as well. We recommend setting your images to 300 dpi (or dots per inch) at a minimum. (Check back soon for another handy how-to video to see how this is accomplished.) However, be aware that taking a low-resolution screen image like a gif or a low-res jpeg and enlarging it to 300 dpi will still make for a less-than-satisfactory printed piece. The best bet is to start out with the largest file size possible and work down from there.
5. Convert to Outlines
Let’s face it: All fonts are not created equal. The best way to ensure that the words you create on the page are printed exactly the way you intend is to convert all type in your document to outlines. (One word of caution, though: Once you convert your type to outlines, you will typically not be able to edit the type. You might consider saving the converted-type document as a separate file.)
6. When in Doubt, PDF
PDF stands for “portable document format”, and is a type of document that embeds all images and fonts, making it very easy to move from workstation to workstation and yet reproduce exactly. Most digital files can be saved as a PDF; just look for the “Export” or “Save As” command in your application (and choose “High-Res Print” or a similar setting). Barring that, you can also typically save a file as a PDF by selecting “Print” and choosing “Adobe PDF Printer”; this will “print” a PDF file that you can send to have printed.
7. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
While we make every effort to thoroughly proof a printed piece before it hits the press, ultimately it comes down to having as many eyes as possible look at the document before it goes to press. We recommend that document designers print a hard copy of their work on a desktop printer (even a reduced size copy is better than nothing) and circulate it to no fewer than three other individuals to ensure all misspelled words and incorrect grammar are caught prior to the file being sent to the Printing Center.
8. Give Us the Info
Finally, in order to ensure proper a smooth printing and delivery process, please provide us with as much information as possible when placing an order (by Web, email, telephone or fax). Including the following information will help us make your print job the best it can be:
- Contact name
- Phone number
- FOP (for billing of the job)
- Preferred delivery location
- Number of pages
- Finished size of document (not counting bleed)
- Bleed dimensions (if document is set to bleed)
- Whether the document is one-sided or two-sided
- Number of inks the document uses (black, two-color, four-color, etc.)
- Paper stock preferred
- Estimate number or previous work order number
- Requested delivery date (for RUSH orders, please consult your customer service representative to determine whether the job can be successfully printed/delivered in the requisite timeframe)
- Any special instructions (i.e. folding, binding, shrink wrapping, etc.)