1. Not adding bleed to your document
If your design has color to the edge of your sheet, then “bleed” is required. Bleed is when a document is printed slightly bigger than required and is then trimmed back to the original size after printing. This ensures that your final product does not have an ugly white edge along the sides. We require .125” of bleed on all edges, so if you are printing an 8.5 x 11” document, we need the design files to be 8.75 x 11.25”. Keep in mind that .125” will be cut off each side, so be sure you do not have any pertinent info too close to the edges. Note: if you intend for your printed piece to have a white border where nothing on the sheet goes to the edge, bleed is not needed. Crop marks are still helpful!
2. Using images obtained from the web
The internet uses images which are only 72dpi (dots per inch). For printing, 300 dpi is typically required if you expect your image to appear clear and crisp. Using a 72dpi image taken directly from the web and imported into your document at the same size you need it, is likely to be too low resolution and this will cause it to print blurry and pixelated.
3. Creating/Supplying artwork in RBG color format
All printing companies print in CMYK. Any files supplied in RGB colors are prone to a color shift when converted to CMYK. If you work in CMYK mode while designing, this will give you a much better idea how the final printed piece will look.
4. Supplying the Wrong File Format
We can accept various file formats, but for supplied designs we prefer PDF files. The biggest advantage of sending a high-resolution print ready pdf file to your printer is that if the pdf is created properly, there is almost nothing that could go wrong with the file. Text and graphics will remain how they were designed. Text will not reflow because of missing or incorrect fonts. Images do not have the chance to relink incorrectly and you can see how the file will print by viewing it on your computer. Remember to include crop marks and bleed if applicable.
5. Not paying attention to resolution when exporting native files to PDF
For good print reproduction files should be saved at 300dpi. Less that 300dpi and your artwork may print blurry or pixelated. Always use the “high quality” option when exporting your art to a PDF file.
Also, be sure to save your artwork at the size it is to be printed. If you supply artwork that is saved at a small size and you want it printed larger then things can go horribly wrong! We can scale artwork down in size, but we can’t scale it up without a loss of resolution (and good resolution is what makes the image crisp and sharp).
Have questions when preparing to submit your artwork? Reach out to us! We are here to help and want your final piece to look exactly as you imagined it (or better)!
By Kyle DeMartyn, Creative Director