Design and Printing – What’s what
COMMON DESIGN MISTAKES AND HOW THEY AFFECT PRINTING
“I don’t need to hire a graphic designer, I can do it fine myself!” That may be true, but only to an extent. Presently there are lots of options on how you can create a design that you would like printed for yourself or your company. Whether you contact a graphic designer or create it yourself online with design tools, a lot of a time there are errors that occur in the process that can affect how the design is printed. Below are a few examples of errors that are commonly made and how to avoid these errors to ensure proper printing.
Blunder: Bleed missing on designs. This is one of the most common mistakes we see at PrintWow. Many people (graphic designers included) are not aware of the necessity of bleeds that are required when taking designs to go on the web. The majority of the artwork we are supplied does not have bleed included; this can significantly affect how the design is printed and how the finished design will look. Bleed is described as an extra design (whether an image or background color) printed past the edge where you intend to trim the design. Without bleed, as graphic designers/printers, we must accomodate for this by adding a white border around each edge of the print to ensure none of the design gets trimmed off in error as there is no extra space to account for this. If we do not add this extra white border around the edges, some of the information or image can be cut off in the process of trimming.
Fix: extend your design at least 1/8” on each side past where you intend for the design to be trimmed.
Blunder: Design is supplied with blurry or pixelated images and graphics. There is much to be said about rastor and vector graphics; sometimes you can get away with using the incorrect type of file. Issues start to arise when graphics needs to be enlarged. Typically, customer logos are often provided as rastors, not vectors. Most people are not aware there are differences. Rastor graphics are resolution dependant (unless they have a high resolution proportionate with how they are scaled). Vector graphics can be scaled without losing any quality. Some examples of rastor graphic files are JPG, PNG, GIF. Examples of vector graphic files are .AI, PNG (as well), EPS, PDF.
Fix: if you plan to have a file printed and want it large (or are not sure on a size), make sure a vector file is supplied so no loss occurs when scaling.
Blunder: Design is supplied with no bleed, and has not followed proper margin placement, resulting in some of the text or image being cut off in the finishing process. Along with bleed, margins are very important as they control how close designs can get to the edges of a cut or crease of a printed design. Margins help to ensure no text gets creased when a tri-fold brochue is being folded. Many designers have supplied files with no bleed and important information is very close to the bottom or top of their design, but do not want to a white border around the edges. This results in having to enlarge the file to create a bleed, and by default some of the design gets trimmed by having to compensate for this bleed.
Fix: always include at minimum a 0.25” margin around the edges of your design. For larger prints, increase this margin proportionally as needed.
PROOFREADING & PROOFING
Blunder: Artwork is provided and has several spelling or grammar errors. Human error is inevitable; however, when printers are supplied with a file that is considered “print-ready”, sometimes files are not looked over to see if all of the information is correct. Most times if there are errors, graphic designers/printers have to re-print , causing delays and excess waste. Always read the fine print/text on all designs to ensure it is correct.
Fix: many programs have a spell-check option included in their features; this and a thorough read through with more than one set of eyes, saves both time and money!
PROPORTIONS & SIZING
Blunder: Design is supplied, but needs to be resized. For example, if you want a 5”x7” postcard printed, and a design that is 1.5”x9” is provided, the proportions will be off and will not properly resize to fit a 5”x7” card. Graphic artists/printers wil ask what size you would like the finished design to be to ensure it fits the right size. This saves time and frustration.
Fix: before starting a design project, consider what size you would like the finished project to be to ensure your design will fit the desired print size.
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