Printing requires specific standards to optimize artwork so the computers that run the presses can produce it correctly. Presenting print ready files will save you a ton of time and will help you avoid costly reprinting because you did not set your files up correctly. Here are some things to know.
Bleed is the part of a document that gives a printer some wiggle room to account of small moment of the paper. When submitting your artwork to a commercial printer be sure that your bleed settings are calibrated correctly and your images and backgrounds spill over each side of your document by 0.125” or 1/8”.
An image that looks good on your computer monitor may not translate to the printed page unless it is the correct resolution. translate that way on the printed page. Images created for a computer screen are often a lower Dot Per Inch (DPI) than images that are intended for print. The more dots per inch the sharper the image will be. All images that are to be printed should have a DPI of a minimum of 200 – 300 DPI. The only exception to this rule is when the graphic is created as a vector, making it resolution independent, which means that it can be scaled to any size without concern for DPI.
Considering color when preparing for printing
The colors of your artwork can look different on the printed page unless you know the colors you expect and how you want your final product look. This is critical to maintaining the integrity of your brand. Understand the basics of color printing will help you communicate with your printer to achieve your desired results.
CMYK Color Model
The CMYK color model also referred to as Process Color or Four Color. CMYK refers to the four inks used in most color printing which are cyan, magenta, yellow and key — representing black.
The CMYK model separates an image into the four different colors which are transferred to 4 individual printing plates. Four color printing consists of numerous overlapping dots of colored ink to print the final image. This process has become the universal standard for graphic arts and commercial printing. CMYK colors will appear much differently on a digital display than they will on the printed page unless the display has been calibrated. Be specific, let your commercial printer know what you are trying to achieve. They will work with you to build your colors correctly so your products will be produced exactly as you expect.
Saving as PDF
When working with commercial printers, it is ideal to send a Portable Document File or PDF. A PDF gives artwork files to your commercial printer to processes without the time and effort required to export a file and includes all fonts images, colors, logos, and other file data. A PDF file optimizes the print file to be the perfect balance of compatibility, file size, editability, quality and portability.