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Designing For Print

In our last blog post, we talked about managing color for print. To build on that we’ve added below a few good design practices to get into the habit of. From choosing the best design program to saving files these tips will help make sending your finished files to your printer a breeze. Happy designing!

Start with the best art possible

Even though there have been advances in design programs and software what you put in is what you will get out. When designing you still need to be aware that the better image quality of the images you use the better print quality the printer will be able to achieve. Also, remember that every time you edit an image there is a loss of the image quality. You also cannot improve the quality of a low-resolution image.

Work in the correct program

Another good habit is to work in the correct program for your design project. Illustrator is used for vector art such as creating logos, packaging, posters and single page layouts. Photoshop is best used for photo manipulation, color-correcting, and resizing scanned or imported images and flat art. InDesign or QuarkXPress are multi-page layout programs that are used for creating magazine and book spreads.

Donna’s Pro Tip:

Naming layers – If your file has several layers, identify and label each layer– e.g., “printing notes”, “text”, “images”, “Die Lines”, etc so they can be found quickly.

Keep track of your colors

When designing your programs give you an infinite number of color choices. As you test out different color swatches it is a good practice to delete the swatches that you do not use in your document before you preflight or package your files for your printer. Doing this will eliminate color errors down the road when your project enters into production.

Donna’s Pro Tip:

RGB vs CMYK –  When creating a file for print always make sure to set your color space to CMYK when you start a new file.

How to Build and Save files

When designing a new project always set the size to the finished size you are looking to send to print. A piece that is 8.5x 11 should be built as an 8.5×11 document. Spreads that are for example 17×11 should be built as single pages that are built as two 8.5×11’s. Also before preflighting or packaging files make sure there is a 1/8th inch bleed and crop marks where appropriate on your documents.

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-Written by Donna Moulton

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