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10 Things to Check Before Submitting Your File to Print

by Mike Ricci | August 8, 2016

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Make sure your file to ready to print by going through our checklist of the most common errors.

The Worst of the Worst

1. Forgetting to convert your images to CMYK

The RGB colors that appear on your screen are always going to look brighter and have a neon quality. The colors often print darker and take on qualities of the stock they’re printed on.

 

2. Mixing objects of different color modes

This can result in colors not turning out the way you’d expect, or can result in unexpected elements like a darker box around an RGB image, setting it off from the CMYK background color.

 

3. Placing white objects over things you don’t want to be printed

The objects can move, exposing the elements you are trying to hide. The hidden elements also add to the size and complexity of the file, which can cause problems with the preflight and press software. Occasionally, the press finds those hidden elements and “ghost” prints them in the final piece.

 

4. Forgetting to use spellcheck

Our customer service representatives try to catch spelling mistakes when they can, but you’re ultimately responsible for the content. Misspelled words can result in a costly reprint. A typical example is “accommodations.”
Spell Check Accommodations

 

5. Not designing with bleed

Not including a bleed can result in a thin sliver of paper showing between the art and the edge of the paper. When your image is meant to extend to the edge of the paper, providing bleed allows us to trim your design without the sliver appearing.

 

6. Not designing with enough safety margin

The last thing we want to do is trim off important elements from your design. We recommend using at least a 1/16” safety margin (if not a 1/8”) between the trim edge and important design elements. Using a safety margin, combined with bleed, will deliver a perfectly printed and trimmed final product.
Safety Margins

 

7. Mislabeling Pantones

Our presses are programmed to recognize Pantone colors by name. Without the proper naming configuration, our presses don’t know what your desired color should be. Spot color names like “bright blue” confuse our presses, so they don’t know which spot color to print.
Miislabeling Pantones

 

8. Designing with low-resolution images

Images that are 72 dpi are fine for the web, but when they are blown up for print, the pixels get stretched out and appear fuzzy or blocky. For best results, we recommend 240 to 300 dpi for small format pieces and 100 to 150 dpi for large format banners or signs viewed from a distance.

 

9. Using the type character menu instead of the specific bold or italic font

The PDF can’t embed the characteristics, and the printed piece will not look like what you see on screen. If applying text attributes using the on-screen dropdown menus, convert the fonts to outlines before making a PDF to preserve the attributes in the following steps.

 

10. Not packaging your file correctly

When working with design software, be sure to include all supporting elements for us to produce your file without issue. We work best with PDFs, which embed all of the graphics and fonts.

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