Are You Print Ready?
Quality printing starts with a quality product. While you may already have great photographs and artwork, if you don’t set up your files properly, your printed product will look sub-par at best. But how do you know if your files are truly print ready? Here are some tips for preparing your files to get the most out of your printed product.
RGB or CMYK?
This makes the biggest difference in your final print. If you send us a file set to RGB, the colors you see on your screen won’t match the colors printed on your product. Any design you send should be set to the CMYK color mode. The reason why we use RGB for digital is because the internet is set up with RGB colors. However, back when printing presses were popular, each color had its own plate. One color would be printed at a time and would have to dry before adding the next color. Today with digital printing, CMYK is used in various amounts to create all the necessary colors for printing. To avoid costly color correction, convert your document from RGB to CMYK. Despite seeing no differences on screen, the printing difference is dramatic.
Here’s how to check and set your file’s color model for these three design programs:
- Photoshop: Image > Mode > CMYK Color
- Illustrator: File > Document Color Mode > CMYK Color
- InDesign: Window > Color
Bleed is the part of your design that is trimmed off after printing. Ideally, the background color or pattern should extend past the edge where the design will be cut. When your background goes all the way to the edge once your design is cut, it gives an overall more professional look. Anything you don’t want to be cut off should stay safely inside the bleed. Using bleed is a common practice for flyers and business cards. The standard bleed is around 0.125 inches, which allows for any variations in printing and cutting.
Common document measurements with bleed
- 3.5” x 2“ business card: 3.75” x 2.25”
- 4” x 6” postcard: 4.25” x 6.25”
- 5” x 7” invitation: 5.25” x 7.25”
- 8.5” x 11” sheet: 8.75” x 11.25”
- 11” x 17” sheet: 11.25” x 17.25”
Your images should fit the size of the document you want to print. Even if your image is the right size, always check the resolution. Raster graphics such as TIF and JPEG files must have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the size they are to be printed. Bitmapping and quality degradation can occur in images that are dramatically enlarged from their original size. Raster graphics include photographs and many kinds of artwork. If you want to enlarge a graphic, use a vector file. Vectors allow image clarity and sharpness at any size.
- For vectors, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator are the leading design programs.
- Adobe Photoshop is the leading program for editing rasterized images. Be sure you set your resolution to at least 300 DPI.
- Once your file is prepared, be sure to convert it to PDF.
Make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps before sending your files to Boulevard Printing. Having properly prepared files means that we can provide you with an outstanding finished product. If you have any questions about our specifications, feel free to contact us at 716-837-3800.