Tags – How to Prepare Content for Print
OK, so you’ve just designed the perfect piece of content and now it’s time to print.
Stop right there! There are a few things you must check first to ensure your content is properly prepared and ready to be sent to the printers.
Before you hit send, both the designer and client must work together to create the perfect leaflet, magazine ad, poster or business card.
Whatever it might be, both sides must be equally involved in each step, from the initial design ideas to final printing.
Sometimes, many people believe that printing is the sole responsibility of the technicians down at the shop. However, they don’t always come from a design background and may not make the modifications required for perfection.
With this in mind, you should quickly go through your very own, step-by-step checklist to ensure nothing gets lost in translation and content is printed exactly how you intended the first time round.
To help you prepare your content for print, here’s a quick and easy checklist to run through.
1. Proofread everything Everything!
Small errors, like bad grammar or typos can make all the difference between securing a new customer or them choosing your competition.
Think about it, if you read something that had small mistakes, would you buy from them? Probably not.
Unlike online copy that can be edited in real time, once you print and distribute something, it will remain in the hands of your potential buyers – there’s no way to get it back and add the apostrophe that was missing. Which is why proofreading and spotting errors early on is extremely important.
It’s worth noting here, there are two types of proofreading that you’ll need to address before you confirm your final proof.
Firstly, there’s linguistic proofreading which covers grammar, typos, spelling and the overall tone in the language used.
Secondly, there’s prepress proofreading which looks at the text from a visual and graphic standpoint, such as the length of lines or splitting words at the end of line breaks.
2. Double Check Spacing
Once you’re happy that the text reads well, you must double check the spacing between text using your own visual judgement.
Typically, typography procedures like leading, tracking and kerning are key to making your design stand out from the rest.
Here, every single punctuation, letter or negative space must work together to create a seamless experience for your audience.
3. Confirm Resolution
As obvious as it sounds, before you finalise your proof and send it off to print it’s important to confirm the image resolution; not just of the images used, but the resolution of the content piece as a whole.
Generally speaking, any content prepared for print should be saved at a resolution of 300 DPI (300 pixels for every square inch of the image), and try not to scale any photos larger than 20% of its original size, as this will give a sharper quality and a more professional finish.
Let’s face it, no one wants to spend money for their print to come out blurry! So always confirm resolution: how your image looks on the screen has nothing to do with how it will be printed.
4. Calibrate Your Screen
Sometimes, how we see content on our screens isn’t how it looks when it comes out of the printer so you’ll want to check the colour mode of the design.
Digital screens view colours in different spectrums to printers and if you don’t match the two. For instance, most design softwares use the RGB colour mode whereas printers use the CMYK process to layer colours.
And if your screen and the printer are not speaking the same language, it will reflect horribly in your final print.
Once you’ve this, a second way to ensure colours are printed accurately is to calibrate your screen. This includes checking your screen is set to the appropriate brightness and contrast levels.
For example, if your screen has been set to 100% brightness, the colours of your content will probably stand out and look bolder, however look darker when it’s printed – the true version.
As such, screen calibration is important to get the best colour match between your screen and printer.
5. Define Bleed and Crop Lines
Before you send your content off to print, you must define bleed and crop lines and make sure these all line up properly.
After all, these lines confirm the edges of your design and where cuts should be made. The last thing you want is an important part of text to be cut off when it’s printed.
As the name suggests, crop lines will define where the design will be cut and the bleed line sets the boundaries to compensate for these trims.
Consequently, ignoring the bleed line could result in a white space around your design when it’s printed, so always ensure the colour exceeds these lines and do not put any important elements you need for print within these two areas.
Last but not Least
Once you’ve gone through each of the steps above, save your final proof as a PDF file and you’ll be good to go!
Lastly, make sure you choose the perfect paper for you. Different types of paper will produce different results, so think about the effect you want to create before the content is printed.
Overall, going through these checks can not only save you money but also ensures high quality printing every time!
Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Check our Graphic Design services in the meantime.
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