Getting ready to deliver files to a commercial printer is a stressful time for any designer. Ensuring all the checks and verifications are in place requires technical insight and industry experience. As the commercial printer will process the job based on the input they receive, the responsibility resides with the designer to get it right the first time.
With the rise of remote printing solutions, companies have the benefit of working with any number of commercial printers to produce their designs. To ensure they get the results they expect, designers have to prepare files for printing. Before moving to print production, designers have to keep these considerations in mind when preparing files for commercial printing.
How to Prepare Files for Printing Remotely
For designers, there’s a myriad of moving parts to consider before moving to print production. Most professional designers will have a pre-flight checklist of tasks required before releasing any material to the production printers. Advances in digital technologies have made life easier for designers, but also added new complexities to their workflows. Here are five technical considerations every designer should take into account before sending their material to a remote printing company.
1. Use the Right Color Palette
Most computers use RGB colors by default. RGB is a color palette that blends red, green, and blue in an additive model. For commercial printing processes, RGB is not a reliable color model. How colors appear on the screen will not match the printed materials.
When preparing files for printing, designers should create their documents and prints using the CMYK palette. CMYK is a subtractive model that uses cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (or black) colors to mask light on a white surface. The CMYK model will help designers get their color-accurate when moving from a computer screen to a printed document or pamphlet.
2. Understand When to Use Spot Colors
Some colors don’t fit into CMYK or other computer-based color palettes. It includes the trademarked red used by Coca-Cola and the famous green from John Deere. Whenever a designer uses these colors, it’s better to use a spot color made-to-order for the project.
Due to the cost of spot colors, it’s better to resort to using them only if the project size justifies the price. Larger quantity orders can make spot colors more economical. The commercial printer will have to produce an additional color plate to create the color, and designers can use the Pantone Color System to ensure the accuracy of the ink.
3. Plan for the Right Quality from the Start
To prevent extensive rework of design, consider the quality of the final image from the start of the project. Low-quality images and insufficient resolutions can lead to poorer reproductions of the printed materials. Designers need to consider image resolution when creating their materials. In digital systems, the number of dots per inch (DPI) contained in an image determines the resolution.
Most computers use 72 DPI for image resolution when displayed on a screen. The resolution should be at least 300 DPI or higher to prepare files for remote printing. By designing all material with a higher resolution, designers will get the kind of quality they expect from a commercial printer.
4. Calibrate Different Screens When Possible
Designers should also consider calibrating their screens to improve their image quality. Special tools allow designers to measure the color settings on their screens and ensure a uniform image display whenever they transfer files from one computer to the printing house.
Due to the changes in display technologies, it’s crucial before approving a production run. What one person sees on their screen won’t automatically match another computer’s display. Solutions that help designers calibrate different monitors are puck-like devices that attach to their screen and uses spectrophotometers to measure the light color it’s emitting.
A spectrophotometer can help designers to find matching color profiles and settings on different types of screens. It will use ambient light and advanced software to mimic the colors and create unique profiles whenever a designer displays and image on their screen.
5. Consider the Additional Design Elements
Designers will also need to consider folds, special effects, bleeds, or finishes before sending them through to a remote printer. Planning for margins, safe zones, and trimming can help designers from running into problems during a production run.
Improve Your Print Production Processes and Workflows with Blue Technologies
For designers, using an automated workflow system can ensure they carry out all their checks and verifications before sending materials to a commercial printer. A workflow engine can help ensure staff clears all the required checklist items before they release designs for production. Graphic designers can also track work more efficiently using a digital system.
Blue Technologies can help designers and printing houses to implement a controlled process for all of their operations, ensuring the agency or company meets the required product quality they expect of all their printed materials.
For improved printing release and color matching processes, Blue Technologies can help your company formalize its design workflows and prepare files for printing accurately.