Here you will find a number of helpful tips to enable you to present your artwork which is print ready and eliminate expensive mistakes which many printers will charge for:
- Check the specifications before starting the artwork creation. Set up the canvas, which is simply the area you are using for the design, ensuring you are using the correct dimensions to the specification supplied. This will show the length of each edge or a ‘to scale’ template which will enable you to lay out your graphics. It is most important that you follow the exact requirements of the printer you are going to use as many use different parameters. Although some products such as CD Jewel Case Booklets vary little it is still advisable to stick to the script. Even with an A4 Poster which is unlikely to cause any confusion.
- Bleeding Out is one of the most likely problems that people get wrong. All artwork for print must include an extra 3mm of the background on all outer edges. Therefore, if the total finished size is 210mm x 148mm which is the size of an A5 Booklet for instance. You need to add 3mm extra background on each edge resulting in the full dimensions of the artwork being 216mm x 154mm. Also include crop marks indicating where the actual cut line is. This always true whether using Digital Printing or any other form of printing.
- 3. Keep relevant data away from the edge by ensuring it is at least 3mm away from the actual cutting line within a safety margin. So a total of at least 6mm away from the very edge of the graphic design. This is because there is always the possibility of small shifts when printing which is why the bleed area is necessary. Furthermore, this could affect both edges so you could find that some of the area inside the cut on one side will be lost as more bleed zone comes onto the finished unit. It doesn’t matter if it is for brochures, booklets, leaflets, CD packaging or whatever always stick to these principles.
- 4. If in doubt create a PDF rather than saving to JPEG to save your work as most programmes are capable of outputting files of this type. This, along with the quality aspect makes it much easier to get your crop marks added prior to production. If the whole process can be designed inside Adobe Acrobat for instance, this is most likely to save you money too. There are many software packages around that are used for graphic design but not all are truly suitable. Some will not let you add crop marks or registration marks showing the cut line but you can overcome this by ensuring you have compensated for the bleed and keeping all elements far enough away from the edge as stated earlier.
One thing to remember is that it is impossible for any printer to help you improve your images if it is presented in poor quality and using an unreliable or inadequate software package like freeware. Sometimes it is worth getting the design professionally completed, especially if there are branding issues and particularly for a logo design. In the long run, if you do not have sufficient creative design skills and are conversant with the software you are using you will finish up with more problems which will result in additional costs and time wasted.