After years of working prepress and doing my own print design, I have learned that there are many ways to improve the quality of your print job without too much work.
1. Have proper margins
Have you ever gotten your printed piece back from a printer to find that some of your text or imagery was cut off, or right up against the edge? This removes a layer of professionalism from the overall feel of the piece, cheapening your company image. To avoid this, make sure you have proper margins – or the space around your design, between the edge and your elements. Most gang run printers use 1/4″, but some use 1/8″ depending on their production method.
2. Use templates for folding items
Folding items are a little more complicated than flat, unfolded items for not so obvious reasons. If there is a panel that folds in, that one will need to be shortened and depending on the size of the piece, the space needed will change. Use the templates provided by the vendor to make sure that your job is done right the first time.
3. Pick the right value for black
Different presses require different color values to achieve a “rich black”. Simply using 0/0/0/100 for your CMYK values for black will yield a grayish, dull black. Check with us to see what level we recommend; it varies with the quantity, UV coating and paper type.
4. Design in color mode that is intended
If you start your design in one color mode and send it to print and it’s not in the same color mode as what you design it in, you will have some color variance, if not a complete inversion of values! It is important to know what color mode your piece will be printing in order to maximize use of the color range. For example, if you are printing on one of our gang runs, you will need to design in CMYK. If you are ordering business cards with only two Pantone colors, you will need to use a vector file such as .EPS or .AI using only those two colors. If you are unsure of what color mode your piece is printing in, please contact us.
5. Have someone else check spelling, etc
I can’t tell you how many times I wish I’d have had someone check my work! I’ve printed flyers for my own parties missing dates, misspelling names and overlooking other simple but quickly damaging items. Having a second, or third, set of eyes is an asset unbeatable by any spell checking software. A tip of the trade I have learned is to read the item backwards – your brain will have a better chance of catching mistakes in syntax and spelling.