Have you ever poured all your effort into designing a document, only for it to come out looking all wonky and wrong in print? If you answered yes (and I know many of you did), these print tips are definitely for you.
It would have been nice if printing was as easy as clicking a button. But there are many factors after the design phase (some even during) that contribute to your design not looking the same after printing.
This can be frustrating if you are trying to have something printed urgently. Of course, you can just print it again, but that is valuable time and resources lost. Especially if the printing is being done on a large scale, misprint can cause the costs to balloon significantly.
9 Print Tips For Getting The Perfect Print
So, I’ve compiled a list of 9 print tips that are divided into three phases-
- During Design
- Before Printing
- During Printing
These print tips will make sure that you are taking the proper steps necessary for a seamless printing experience. Of course, not every process is perfect, and some misprints are bound to happen. But following these steps will decrease the chances of misprint and save you a lot of time, money, and effort.
1. Calibrate Your Monitor
Guess what? The colors you see on the screen and the ones being printed aren’t always the same. Getting them 100% accurate is kind of impossible. This happens because the backlight of your display makes colors look brighter. You can try to get them to look as close as possible by regularly calibrating your monitor.
You can do this by going to your display settings. Digital Trends has a comprehensive guide for display calibration.
2. Choose The Right Color Setting
This print tips also has to do with colors not matching their design after printing. When you are working on a design, having the right color setting from the get-go can save you a lot of frustration.
What color settings you need to choose depends on the material you’re working on. But it is a standard practice to use CMYK color settings for most printed marketing materials. These include- business cards, brochures, booklets, banners, leaflets, etc. CMYK also has the benefit of being cost-efficient as it uses less color.
3. Learn How To Trap
No, no, no. I’m not telling you to trap someone. Nor am I talking about the popular sub-genre of hip-hop music.
In printing, when working with a multi-color process, misregistration can happen between printing units. This misregistration is what causes those ugly white gaps between two colors in printed material. Trapping means to compensate for this misregistration so that the colors line up accurately and crisply.
You can learn about the nitty-gritty of trapping with this helpful guide from Adobe. [PDF]
4. Set The Right Image Resolution
This print tip is plain and simple. When working with images, set their resolution to 300dpi (dots per inch).
Whatever material you are working on, the images need to be crisp and clear. Otherwise, the entire document looks unprofessional. And if you are printing only images, this becomes more of an issue. So, while lower resolutions can look fine, it is generally advised to have the resolution set to 300dpi for optimum printing results.
5. Get A Print Guy
Just finding the right printing service can take away half of your worries. Because let’s face it, nobody can ensure the proper printing of your materials better than the people who will be operating the machines.
Before choosing a service provider, try your best to research them as much as possible. Just like everything, communication is key for printing. Hiring the right people who can communicate well with the designer will ensure fewer misprints and other time-consuming blunders. Some companies, such as PrintAgraphy, even take care of both design and printing aspects. This can make your printing process much more seamless and efficient. You can check out our printing services here.
6. Choose The Right Paper
Choosing the right paper is more than just buying the most expensive one and hoping for the best. The deciding factor should never be exclusively quality or price, rather it should be a combination of quality, affordability, and functionality.
Figuring out exactly what type of paper is appropriate for your project will help you make the right purchase decisions regarding materials. Which in turn will save you money. You wouldn’t print your brochures on the type of paper used for banners, would you?
Another thing to consider is the availability of the paper. If at the beginning of your project, you choose a paper type that is not easily found it can lead to printing being halted because of paper shortages.
7. Double Check Everything
Before going to print, make sure everything is in order. Check the fonts, formats, color settings, alignments, and so on. Check anything that can force you to reprint.
You would be surprised that you can find many problems that weren’t immediately visible during the design process.
8. Preflight Your Documents
Preflight is the process of confirming that the files required for printing are all present, valid, and correctly formatted. You can create a preflight profile and run your documents through it. It will check for fonts, image resolution, image type, color settings, etc.
Although it is not a foolproof process, it’s a handy print tip to follow for finding the most glaring issues.
9. Provide A Hard Copy To Your Printer
Although it may seem redundant, giving a printed version of your file to the printer along with the soft copy is a good practice. Even if it’s of poor quality, the printer can use it as a frame of reference regarding dimensions. Also if the soft copy of the file becomes corrupted for some reason, that printed copy will help the printer do a quick fix.
Once you click that “Print” button, whatever comes out is permanent. Sure, you can reprint. But that entails extra costs. To minimize mistakes and reduce the cost of reprinting, it’s much better to take action before the printing process begins.