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Printing 101: Commercial Printing Tips

March 21, 2017 / Inspiration
Commercial Printing Tips

There may come a time in your life where you have a printing project that cannot be completed successfully using your desktop printer at home. In these situations, commercial printing is required, especially if you want a quality product. Other reasons why you would need a professional printer often include the need to print in large amounts, you need trimming, or you want to have choices. By choices we mean you might decide to print your project using a particular type of ink or on specialty paper. However, commercial printing is frequently used when hundreds or thousands of copies are needed, as it’s the most productive and cost-effective approach.

Before you take that print document to a business printer, ensure you read our commercial printing tips for expert advice that will help save you time, cash, headaches, and from major disappointment!

Use a Professional Design Program

You have a couple of alternatives to choose from Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Adobe Photoshop is a powerful, in-depth bitmap program that can also work with vector based pictures and graphics. Illustrator, on the other hand, is most often utilized when vector craftsmanship is required. To help tie all of your work together, use Adobe InDesign. Adobe InDesign is a desktop distributing instrument that is perfect for making handouts, business cards, pamphlets, and any other print project you can dream up.

Properly Set Up the Color Mode

It is essential that you make sure your color mode is set to CMYK, not RGB before you send your work to a printer. In fact, it is best to do this step first, before you even start on your design or layout. Especially when your end goal to get the best outcome, you need to make sure you crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s. The reason for this is because there are hues available in RGB that are not accessible in CMYK. This is why you should your design program set to CMYK before you begin. Otherwise, when the transformation happens, you may dislike what the CMYK rendition resembles. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the thing that you see on a PC screen, while printers print in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), which is why it is imperative to make this transformation before you begin.

Be Cautious About Readability

If you want to have colored text, then abstain from using a font that is smaller than 12 points. Otherwise, if you use colors on text that is under 12 points, you run the chance of halos appearing around each letter, which will affect readability and can make your work look unprofessional. This is because the printing plates don’t always line up correctly each time, so misregistration can occur. However, hued content is okay to use on text bigger than 12 points, so save the color for your headlines.

Don’t Forget the ‘Bleed’

While this may sound Greek, a bleed is when printing stretches outside your design. This is essential because most printers can’t print to the very edge of the paper, and this can leave a thin, white edge. In most cases, this is not the desired result, so you need to plan for this and take it into account. To effectively pull this off, just make sure the paper you are printing on has enough room to handle the bleed.

Save in the Proper Format

While the required format can fluctuate, saving your project as a CMYK JPEG document is generally a safe bet. Even saving your project as a PDF can sometimes work, but before you save as a PDF, you should rasterize your text, so they are solid shapes. By doing this, you can avoid the possibility of having mismatched fonts. To be safe, have your print project saved in a variety of formats, so you can always be prepared. Meaning you should save your document as a PSD, AI, CDW, or ID, or as an EPS, TIFF, JPEG, or PDF.