Do’s and Don’ts with Design Files

CHECKLIST ON HOW TO design and provide us with a SUCCESSFUL PRINT READY FILE


1. Provide graphics/elements

If you are unable to provide us with a PDF file, we request that you supply all of the imported graphic links that were used to design the document along with the native file that the page layout document was created. For example, if you have 2 digital photos, a logo, and you have used 3 fonts, these files need to be provided in addition to the page layout document. They are a program by themselves, and if not added to our system, the postscript printer cannot generate your files properly.


2. Include fonts/embed

Remember to list the names of all fonts used in your documentation, and provide them along with the graphics. TrueType fonts may cause unexpected problems. Stick with Postscript fonts whenever possible, or convert fonts to outline. Do not use the “Styles” menu to bold or italic etc., use the font that is already named bold – such as “Century Bold.”


3. Low resolution graphics are to be avoided

We require 300 d.p.i. resolution at 100% of size for both offset printing and digital color. The color copier reproduces best with “.eps” graphics. NOTE: the quality is not as acceptable when “.jpg's” and “.tif’s” are used. Graphics pulled off websites are not acceptable resolution for quality output results.


4. What you see is not what you get

Don’t rely on your monitor colors to accurately represent how ink will print on paper. When defining colors, refer to standard Pantone (PMS) swatch book(s) for accurate hues or call Print & Copy Factory for assistance. Monitors are RGB and illuminated light, providing a huge misconception on how color will print on a flat sheet of paper. Printers and monitors are all different, are not calibrated for accuracy, and are not giving you accurate representation of color. Proofs on the actual paper is best for ensuring the color results are what you are hoping for.


5. RGB vs CMYK vs SPOT COLORS

Colors are really tricky, and if you understand the science behind it, you will begin to understand the complexity of getting accurate color. Color used in a digital document needs to be assigned using PMS chart or Pantone Matching System numbers. We will work with the specific numbers assigned to ensure accuracy. Also, make sure the color(s) separate correctly, by providing printed out separations of your document.

  • For CMYK printing, you will need to convert any RGB/spot colors to CMYK.
  • For Spot Color Printing, assign a specific PMS Color - according to 1 color, 2 color or 3 color printing. Every element must be using PMS numbers. Print out separations to be sure an element of your design was not missed.

6. TRIM MARKS / FOLD MOCK-UP

All provided files must include trim marks and fold marks. This allows us to see what you are expecting for a finished product. Use a “hairline” mark in “register color” so that if it is multiple colors, the cut lines will print on the separations, and assist in registration of colors to each other.


7. BLEEDS

This really is the number one mistake for beginners. We will reject files if they do not have bleeds. If you desire to have your image go past the cut edge of the document, in other words, no white border, then we require the image to go past the cut line 1/8” and prefer 1/4”. We run your project on a larger sheet and then trim it down to the finish size, creating a nice edge with your image. See this diagram.


8. TRAPPING

In offset printing, screen printing, and other types of printing, trapping allows a tighter registration of colors, avoiding “white spaces” due to paper stretch. Check your software for trapping instructions.


9. BANDING

Banding is the result of gradations that do not make a smooth transition. It is due to the result of a mathematical equation from screens that includes the dot pattern converted to be interpolated by the printing device’s resolutions of the document screen, the document dot screen, and resolution capabilities of the printer device. This is tricky, as our device is different than yours. A printed proof or blue line is the best way to tell if it is working correctly.


10. TRANSPARENCIES & DROP SHADOWS

Sometimes the transparency and drop shadow effect features do not print out as seen on the monitor. Please make sure you proof these areas carefully. We usually find this to be the problem if the design has mixed color pallets of RGB, CMYK and spot color. Convert everything to CMYK if it will be digitally printed.

 

 



I LOVE IT!! Just wanted you to know! The whole site looks great... Thank you - you've done an amazing job.
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Lynden Manor


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