3 Common Printing Mistakes

Mistakes happen. That is just a fact of life. But, avoiding as many as possible seems like the right thing to do. When it comes to printing, or more specifically, dealing with a commercial printer, mistakes are often made because most people don’t understand how the printing business works, or what they will need to ensure their project is done correctly. In this blog we are going to discuss 3 common mistakes people make when dealing with printers, and more importantly how to avoid them.

 1.File Format

One of the biggest challenges is getting the right type of digital file to your printer. The word to pay attention to here is digital. You can bring a paper copy of something you want printed, however for your printer to use it they will need to have their graphic designers create a digital file for it. Depending on the size of your project you could end up spending more to have a digital file made than you would to have it printed.

Now you have the digital file, but what format should it be? JPEG, PDF, PNG? There are other options as well. The format to use is PDF or, portable document format, it is designed to work across different platforms and software. If you can not use PDF, contact your printer to make sure they are able to work with the format you do have.

2. Graphic Design

Designing your own piece is a great way to save money, however it can lead to problems if you don’t understand how you document needs to be designed in order to make it work functionally as well as aesthetically. The functional design becomes more and more challenging  the more finishing options you add to your project.

If you need a flyer printed on a flat piece of paper, the design is relatively simple, but if you need it to be folded, stitched and collated, or bound, you will have to make sure your piece is laid out correctly or you run the risk of it not working. There are a number of designers that unfortunately don’t understand margins, and how images need to be laid out to work when the finishing options are added.

3. Understanding Color

You have designed a beautiful piece and you have the right format. That is a great start, but you need to make sure the printer can print the colors you have designed. The thing to remember about color is, your computer shows color in the RGB format, and your printer prints in the CMYK format. There are many thousand colors that your computer can make that your printer can’t print.

Your design software will often default to using the CMYK colors to avoid problems when printing, but if you choose specific colors it is possible that they will print differently than they look on your computer screen. The largest differences are in blues and greens. To see if there is going to be a large variance with the colors you have chosen print off a test page on your own printer(a commercial printer can match more colors than your personal printer can, but at least you will know if there might be a problem).

Things to Remember

Make sure you understand how your project needs to be laid out to look good and function properly. If it is a book, or a magazine make certain you have collated correctly, and your margins are correct so that it can be read. Also, make sure the colors you have chosen for your project can be printed in the CMYK format. Once it is designed make sure you have it in the PDF format to ensure your printer doesn’t have a problem printing it. Follow these steps and you should have a much easier time getting your project completed.

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