PREPARING YOUR ARTWORK CORRECTLY FOR PRINT in 2021
It’s 5 pm. You’re having another fight with your desktop printer. Your print artworks not correct!
You’ve already been battling this stubborn machine for an hour already. When your printer is finally accepting the paper in the tray, it refuses to print your image to the edge of the paper, plus you have a superb array of stripes throughout. Okay, make the image a little bigger… now it’s all blurry? Who has the time to deal with this nonsense?!
We do! We have learnt how to ensure your documents and print artwork can be printed to the best capabilities. At More Than Just Print, we are excited to share with you below, some helpful hints to make your lives easier (and ours!).
1. File Formats For Print Artwork
There are many file formats available to you such as EPS, TIF, JPG, PNG, PSD, AI, BMP or a PDF, but do you know which is best for print? Generally speaking, if you can export a high-resolution PDF file from the program you are working in, then this is your best option. GIFs are not intended for print reproduction, as we use those for the internet.
2. Resolution For Print Artwork
Your image may look fine on screen but the printed version may not. Screen resolutions generally range from 72 to 220dpi. For print, the image needs to be 300dpi at the size you want to print it. As a general rule, image files under 250kb may not be sufficient for print. 251kb-1mb may be suitable for print up to A5. Over 1mb is usually adequate for print artwork to print out up to A4.
3. Supply Originals For Print Artwork
Images should be supplied separately in their original formats. Word, Powerpoint or Excel compresses their embedded images and will suffer a loss of quality for print production.
4. Colour Mode
All images are captured using RGB (Red, Green, Blue); however, the majority of printing devices use CMYK (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black (K)). Ideally, you should convert the images to the colour mode of the output device. For print artwork, CMYK is the best. You can then also see how the colour will behave using that output process and be able to make allowances.
5. True Black
Converting RGB to Black — heavier blacks can look weak and transparent in print, especially when there are thin white fonts, while lines or solid black over an image. If creating artwork from scratch, the best colour value is C30, Y30, M30, K100. Doing this will ensure a solid, rich black and will maintain reversed white text and lines.
6. Add Bleed
Bleed is an area around the document where images running up to the edge must exceed this point to avoid while-lining and allow paper movement when we trim the material. The bleed is usually an additional 3mm from each of the outer edges of the document or artwork. This is essential for all print artwork
7. Trim Marks
Trim marks serve two purposes; to allow for accurate positioning and trimming. You can automatically add these when you export the document as a PDF for commercial printing, depending on the program you are using. Again this is essential for print artwork.
8. Sourcing Images
If you used images downloaded from websites, then there is a high chance they will be blurry when printed. Time spent on sourcing the right pictures at the correct resolution, while keeping to our tips offered here, will do wonders for any document you want to print. You can source great images under the Creative Commons Licence at places like Pixabay, Pexels and Stocksnap.
Be very aware of using copyrighted material. Most imagery found on the internet does carry copyright. Unless marked as royalty-free, you are better off assuming there is copyright rather than running the risk of illegal infringement. Have a look at some best practices here.
Supplying the fonts with your artwork is critical. You have the choice to either convert all type to outlines or make sure you package your file, including your fonts. You can find some fancy and free fonts via dafont.com or fontsquirrel.com.
We also have a blog dedicated to “Free Artwork Fonts“, this is going to help you looking for fonts for your print artwork.
For more helpful info on preparing your artwork for printing have a read of our article “Document Printing Tips“ we also have some handy other blogs in our blog section like “Creating A Book“, How Much Print Margin Do I Need“, and “Innovative Poster Ideas for 2021“