We have seen many amazing, unique, and eye catching graphic designs everywhere from business cards, envelopes, letterheads, banners, flyers, packaging, and a wide variety of other forms. We have seen the incredible amount of work put into these artworks and have yet to ask ourselves one question…
Is my artwork print ready?
For the more experienced designers, we have learned to practice the same routine with every work we have designed… from the bleeds, to the color modes, file formats, text, print resolution, and a final check. Usually when you are following guidelines to assure that your file is print ready, you typically find yourself doing fewer changes or even no changes at all to make sure that it is print ready. To ensure your artwork is print ready, always remember the following:
- Check all artwork for any spelling mistakes or grammar errors, as well as ensuring that the images that are used are at high res and edited or retouched to your desired liking. Usually, a few rounds of checking for all correct information or any errors would help reach the turnaround deadline of the project.
- If there are any bleeds (design that travels off the page as part of the design), be sure to keep in mind that the art will be trimmed off the finished product. Keeping the text within a safe zone and away from the edge (usually away from the trim edge by about 8-10mm for best results) and using a 2mm bleed area on each edge is the best practice.
- Printing resolution makes your finished printed product look beautiful. Always make sure that your artwork’s resolution is at least 300dpi (sometimes 200+ dpi will work too, but always keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the better the quality).
- File formats are also a big factor in creating a print ready file. If you supply your artwork in unknown file types, then it’s harder for the printer to produce this product on time, if they can’t open the file. If you flatten to a .jpg or a .tiff file, this also guarantees that there will be no font issues, when the artwork is checked (not every computer carries the same font). Common formats that are usually used are Quark, Illustrator, Photoshop, Corel, or InDesign. Vector files such as an .eps and pdf’s are becoming more popular and common for better end product file formats.
- The color modes can be a big factor as well. There is a big difference between RGB and CMYK. RGB is only meant for viewing on the web, while CMYK are print ready colors. Please also remember that monitors have different output on colors. Having the correct pantone or CMYK color ensures that it is the correct desired color. Always double check to make sure that your colors are correct before you send them out to print.
- ALWAYS REMEMBER to do a final check before sending out your file to the printer. Make sure that the final check has everything as expected, because once the print is a go, everything is printed the way it was sent (via latest file sent to printer).
I hope that after reading these points you will have the best practice in you to ensure that you do not encounter any issues when having your product printed. So now ask yourself this question every time you are about to send your artwork, “Is my artwork print ready?”