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Growing up, printing your projects was as simple as clicking ctrl+p and as complicated as running out of ink. But nowadays, print design has become so much more than that.

Being a designer, you have to make sure you truly understand the specifications for print design. Otherwise, your printing experience could be a nightmare. The last thing you want is to have to reprint everything due to an error in your file. So, in order to avoid mistakes, here are the most important needs you should make to ensure your printing process is as smooth as possible. 

Print DesignColor Mode

For starters, when creating the project file, you must ensure you click the correct color mode. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and K represents Black), is a four-color process used for print design, vs. RGB ( Red, Green, and Blue), which is only used for web/screen use. Making sure your file is in the correct color mode will allow you to produce the colors perfectly when printed. 

Resolution

Most people assume grabbing any image off the web and using it for their design will work perfectly. Unfortunately, there are too many cases when a design is printed with a poor quality image. When printing magazines, books, brochures, business cards, etc., you have to verify that all your images resolutions have been set to 300 dpi. 

If your images are not converted to CMYK, they most likely are not 300 dpi either. You must go into PhotoShop and change the image size from 72 dpi to 300 dpi. If your image is not printed under 300 dpi, the image will look blurry. 

Bleeds/ Crop Marks

In addition to making sure your resolution and color mode are set correctly, bleeds are just as important. Creating a design where the edges bleed off the paper means you must extend the design element past the trim area onto a 0.125 inch bleed. 

If you’re cutting your own project or taking the job to a print shop, a bleed is basically leaving room for error. After the job has been printed, you have to account for where exactly the design will be cut by using crop marks. Always ensure you have selected printing with crop marks to be able to get the most precise cut. 

Proofing

If anything could save you money and time, it’s making sure you proof your files.  The files sent off to print should be returned to you with a PDF proof. The Adobe Acrobat PDF offers a great proof and allows you to see the crop marks. Approving your files before hitting the printer is always a must. 

Print design is no joke! Having a designer who can walk you through the steps is  always helpful and improves your experience. Hopefully next time you will be prepared to have a smooth printing experience. Contact us today if you’re in need of a print design for your upcoming project!