Your job is ready to print and everything looks good on the screen. There is one more step. Follow this checklist to ensure that all files are prepared correctly for the printing process.
Here are some basic steps to follow when preparing artwork for print:
1. When you make your artwork template, make sure it includes ⅛” bleed all the way around. This should be the first step you do when setting up artwork for print.
2. Make sure that if any of your artwork goes to the edge of the sheet, that is actually “bleeds” off into the bleed area. (The bleed area gets trimmed off when the sheet is cut, but this extra area ensures that you don’t have any white edges showing when the artwork is supposed to go to the edge).
3. Make sure your artwork is built in CMYK or PMS (Pantone) colors only, no RGB. Presses print in CMYK or PMS colors. Likewise make sure that all images are in CMYK profiles.
4. Don’t design in PMS colors unless you plan to print with PMS inks. Change any PMS colors to CMYK when setting up artwork for print.
5. Make sure all images are 300dpi at the size you are using them. Images that are have fewer than 300 dpi (dots per inch, aka pixels per inch) will print fuzzy.
6. If you are using a gray, it is best to be built as a screen of black only. Grays that contain red, blue or yellow can turn pink-gray, brown-gray, or blue-gray. Neutral grays only have a percentage of black in them.
7. Make sure that your type is built in black only. You don’t want to use registration black as that includes Cyan, Magenta and Yellow in it and will give you fuzzy-looking type.
8. Build files in InDesign or Quark if you are able to. Illustrator will also work. Photoshop should not be used to create artwork. Brochures, flyers and catalogs built in Photoshop are very hard to work with since the file size is huge and there are so many layers to work in. Using the right program will help you create your artwork in ¼ the time that it would take to build the same thing in Photoshop.
9. Save your files in PDF X1a format or Press Quality. Make sure in the settings that you include bleeds and crop marks. Registration and color bars are ok too.
Youtube video with great tips on how to prepare your files.
Here is an awesome tutorial on setting up artwork for print using InDesign CS 5.5. This will show you how to set up your InDesign file, navigate through different menu options, and trouble-shoot a variety of issues that come up.
If you have any questions about setting up artwork for print, please give us a call at (818) 709-1220 or email us here. We are happy to help you with your project! Clear Print has been in business since 1980 and would love to print for you, too. Located in Chatsworth, in the San Fernando Valley, we serve most of Los Angeles County, including Valencia, Santa Clarita, Burbank, Simi Valley and other areas.