basic steps to get your files ready for print

Getting your files ready for print is a fairly simple process when using a few guidelines from the very inception of the design project. Because today’s modern digital printing can take advantage of properly prepared files, the process is much more efficient. Basically, this just means we are able to take the file you send us and immediately send it to the printing system – no edits or manipulations are needed to your file first. Here are the 5 basics of getting your files ready for print.

make sure the resolution is right

For the best quality professional printing results, it’s very important to keep the resolution as high as possible. For example, 300 dpi resolution is considered by most printers to be an absolute minimum. Also, it’s important to do each step of the design process in the actual resolution you’ll be submitting to the printer to avoid any loss of quality throughout the creative process.

make sure the colours are consistent

Chances are, when you are editing an image for viewing on your computer screen or on a web page, you’re using the RGB colour format. This is the format computers normally use to display colours. However, when printing accurately, it’s important to utilize the CMYK colour space option instead. Also, for sharp and crisp black, it’s important to use 100% black with no additional CMY encoded (the K in CMYK stands for black).

follow trim and bleed guidelines

Bleed and trim are the terms used to describe the area around the dimensions of your final image that will be unsafe to use for important content in your design. In a nutshell, it’s very important to leave about 1/4 of an inch from the edge of your dimensional content to the edge of any important lines of text or featured images. This area will be used as kind of a buffer zone in the printing process.

avoid drastic image file compression

The more you can avoid compressing your final design, the better. The recommended file format for saving a file is usually TIFF. This is because the TIFF file format keeps all colour information and all pixel information from the original design intact. On the other hand, lossier image files, such as JPG and GIF, reduce file size by eliminating small portions of the image or by getting rid of some of the colour information stored within the file. Better final results from printing happen when better quality images are put forth.

save in a standard format

Once you’ve finalized your graphic design and text files, it’s important to lock them in and place them in sort of a shelter that can be easily shared with your printer (hopefully us!). Chosing the proper format is key and one great way to do this is to use Adobe® Acrobat® PDF files. They’re commonly used in the printing industry because they’re cross platform compatible. Plus, using this type of standardized format doesn’t allow for the possibility of accidental changes or edits to the camera ready image. Once it’s “locked” and saved as a PDF file, how it is shown in that format is how it will be printed.