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How to get the best out of your print job

Posted by Snap Franchising Ltd on 28 November 2018
How to get the best out of your print job

When you're short on time, but your print job needs to look top-notch, the last thing you want is delays because your file wasn't 100% print-ready. Here are some print file tips and guidelines to ensure your print looks as beautiful as can be every time.

Best file types and size requirements

For most jobs, printers ask for a print-ready PDF document. Alternatively, you could submit an Adobe file for example, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator a JPEG, TIFF, PNG, Word or PowerPoint file.

If your document runs for more than one page, supply them as single pages, starting with page 1 (front page) through to the last page (back page). Make sure to delete any unnecessary pages and set your page size to millimetres to ensure your digital document matches the final print size.

What if my design runs to the edge of the page?

If your image elements touch the edge of the page, you'll need to add a 3mm bleed. In other words, extend the artwork 3mm beyond the final trimmed size. Your document should also have crop marks to indicate where you expect the final trim to be. These are usually placed 3mm from the bleed edge.

Setting up files for jobs that need binding and finishing

If you're printing a book, magazine or large brochure, the printed pages are going to be bound. Depending on the job, they may even be folded multiple times at right angles. To set up your file property, you'll first need to know how the piece will be bound and finished.

For example, if it's going to be saddle-stapled, the centre pages will stick out further than the first and last pages, so you need to allow enough margin for page creep. Perfect-bound books will need a larger inside margin because 4-6mm is lost in the binding.
Whatever binding you choose, consider where the content is going to sit so it doesn't get cut off. Depending on the type of job, for example calendars, notepads or brochures, and the binding process, it could mean allowing 3-20mm where the pages are bound.

Don't fret if you're unsure! Your local Snap Centre can advise you on the best binding technique and margins required before you supply your file.

Recommendations for images

The quality of your images can make or break your print job. So, it's important to make sure they have the right resolution. A 300DPI (dots per inch) image is considered photographic quality even up close it's difficult to see the pixels. This is the quality that works best for most image-heavy files like brochures, flyers, business cards or menus.

In a 150DPI image, you can just pick out the dots if you're close. From a short distance away, they appear like a film photo again. This is sufficient for jobs like banners, signs and posters that will be viewed from a distance. For more intricate artwork, such as line art, you'll want at least 800DPI to hide the pixels.

Proofread your content

When it comes to print, catching mistakes is even more important than online. Costs of reprinting aside, grammatical errors can have a negative impact on your brand and even mean the difference between winning or losing business.

Try reading the text out aloud or backwards to focus on the spelling of words. Then compare any images and artwork to the original. Also look at how your text sits within the design. Sometimes the spelling is correct, but the way the words break (or look) can be the problem. When in doubt, it never hurts to bring on another pair of eyes for help.

It doesn't take much extra time to prepare your file so it's print-ready. Your effort will be rewarded with an impeccable finished product.

Author: Snap Franchising Ltd
Tags: Business Print

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