Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare artwork for printing. These tips should help eliminate delays and up-charges, as well as help you achieve a fast turnaround time.

Prepare Artwork for Printing – Design Tips


artwork preparation for print1. Prepare artwork for printing by printing out a hard copy of your final files before you have you send them to the printer. Often people notice things on a hard copy that may get missed on screen.

2. Show the print-out to all who would have input on the finished job. Invite them to proofread and comment on anything that needs to be corrected.

3. As a rule, don’t permit opinions regarding the overall design! Such input, if needed, should be encouraged at the beginning of the creative process—not the end. “Design by Committee” is fatal and results in the lowest common denominator of what could be considered a good design. Simply invite people to find typos, wrong data or something important that’s missing and should be included, etc.

4. Likewise, discourage anyone from suggesting “better ways” to say things. Copywriting is also a skill and art form in its own right. There are many ways to structure a sentence correctly. Writing style and preferences vary from person-to-person. Simply invite a few trusted people to point out errors or ambiguities. Generally turn a deaf ear to opinions.” Copywriting by Committee” will slow a project to a crawl and result in poor, not better copy.

5. Works of art are individual creations. If one were to assemble some of the world’s great painters or copywriters and ask them to agree on exactly what to paint or how to write, at the end of a long, painful process one would have a complete mess. The Mona Lisa was not a group effort. Your favorite painting, prose or poetry was not created by committee.

6. Make any needed corrections. Repeat steps 1 and 2.

7. After all is good, show it to the final decision maker. If any corrections, repeat steps 1, 2 and 7 until final art is approved.

8. Send files to printer and view your proofs carefully whether PDF or hard copy.

9. After the initial proof, if any changes are made (either by you or the printer) get a new proof—pdf or hard copy. Look everything over again—not only the changes but everything. Design software and the software your printer uses to print your files is sophisticated but still prone to inexplicable software glitches—like all software. Change text in one place and something odd may pop up somewhere else. The rule is check everything again. Once you sing the proof you’re responsible for any errors found later.


Technical Prep and Layout Tips for Printing

1. Prepare artwork for printing by making sure all your images are saved in CMYK (not RGB).

2. Add a 1/8″ (.125″) bleed to all sides of your artwork template.

3. Make sure images or artwork that go to the edge, “bleed” into the bleed area.

4. Export your file as a PDF, with bleeds and crop marks indicated (in your PDF settings).

(Go here to get more detailed steps of proper file preparation.)


Located in the San Fernando Valley, Clear Print is a commercial printer specializing in marketing collateral such as brochures and catalogs, as well as packaging and product labels.

If you need help with your print file preparation, please reach out to us at (818) 709-1220 or email us here. We serve the Los Angeles area, Simi and Conejo Valleys, Santa Clarita and much of Southern California

Published On: February 18th, 2015 / Categories: Graphics Design, Printing / Tags: , , /