You finally decided on the perfect artwork for your upcoming event and you want it plastered on everything! You took the time to prepare images for printing and you can envision how incredible it will look on a canopy, advertisement flag, everywhere — and how much new business it will generate. You submit the file for printing, feeling as though you just handed over the keys to the rest of your life, and walk out on Cloud Nine anxiously awaiting your finished products.
Then the day you’ve been waiting for arrives — the finished product is finally ready, and much to your chagrin it looks...not great. Or worse, awful! The image is skewed and blurry, the colors are faded and the text colors bled into the background. And that sinking feeling sets in...
How to Best Prepare Images for Printing
Don’t worry. If this has been your experience in the past, or if you’d just plain like to get it right the first time, consider the following tips related to vector graphics and how best to prepare images for printing.
Tip 1: Check the image resolution
To guarantee the highest quality prints, images need to be saved at 300 dpi, or ink dots per inch on a printed image. Even if the image looks great on a computer screen, do not be fooled! When the actual printing is done, the resolution needed is actually more than double the resolution needed to view on screen or monitor (72 dpi). Looks can be deceiving — always double-check the image resolution to ensure it will print adequately on promotional materials.
Tip 2: Use the correct file type
When you are sending images to print shops, flattened PDFs are normally the way to go. But when it comes to creating your custom-branded event display, vector (non-flattened) files are editable in Adobe Illustrator if needed, and that allows printers to render the design clearly at any size. Vector graphic formats can be AI, EPS, PDF or SVG.
Images, particularly those containing text, that are saved as PNG, JPG or GIF files will not guarantee the highest quality possible, and in some cases may print very poorly at larger sizes. We recommend recreating your files in vector format prior to printing. For more Information, check out The Art of Perfecting Your Artwork – Vector vs. Raster Filetypes.
Tip 3: Outline the fonts
There is an ongoing debate about font copyright and when it is OK to share a font. Should a designer share the font used in a vector graphic with the client or ask them to purchase it on their own? What about sharing a font with a printer? It is always better to be safe than sorry and not share copyright protected content (images, fonts, etc.) with anyone. However, if the end user does not have the needed fonts installed, then the file will not appear as it should when opened.
To avoid this dilemma, we recommend outlining the fonts so there is no need to share font files. Further outlined fonts can scale to any size. Adobe has made it really east to outline fonts. Go to the "Type" menu and choose "Create Outlines" — simple as that! Creating outlines will protect the copy and allow a print shop to resize as needed. But be aware! Converting text to outlines will prevent it from being editing in the future, so make sure to maintain an original version of the file without outlines.
Tip 4: Verify the document size
This may be obvious, but please triple check the file size required by the printer before sending it. If at any point you resize your document prior to printing, or are resizing for different products, make sure everything looks as it should in the saved files. Adjust fonts and images as needed to ensure it fits in the safe area of the product.
When in doubt, consider consulting a professional designer to prepare the images for printing. If a designer created the artwork, these items should already be addressed. If a novice created the artwork, it wouldn't hurt to ensure the files are in tip top shape before investing in them further. At SkyLine Canopies, we partner with designers in Texas and beyond to guarantee the success of your custom products.
Tip 5: Check the color profile
Without being super technical here, let’s equate the color profile to the correct file type we talked about earlier. To print ensure the highest print quality, the print shop needs a specific file type and the same goes for the color profile. SkyLine Canopies requires all artwork to be delivered in the CMYK color profile, which stands for cyan magenta yellow black. Printers use these colors to create every color in your artwork. As opposed to monitors and digital platforms, which read color in RGB, or red green blue.
When a printer tries to read RGB, the results can be hideous! Confirm the color profile of your artwork is CMYK so your brand is represented accurately. Even if the artwork is black-and-white, confirm the profile is CMYK or grayscale, not RGB. For help determining your color profile, reach out to one of our graphic designers.
Tip 6: Set up bleeds per the printer's requirements
Last but no least, set up bleeds within the artwork. Using a bleed will ensure there are no white spaces or edges on the final product once it has been cut to the desired size. Ideally, all colors should go past the edge of the document image, which will eliminate any unintentional white space on an advertisement flag or other display.
Need help setting up bleeds? The team at SkyLine Canopies will be happy to help! Contact us for more information.
Prepare Artwork for Custom Printing with SkyLine Canopies
Preparing print-quality artwork is not an impossible task, but if you aren’t a pro, we highly recommend utilizing our team or a other professional designers. Contact us today for help creating print-worthy vector graphic designs. Start 2020 with a custom-branded marketing display that will make the competition envious!
Know someone running a business, charity, sports organization, open house or event? Please share this blog and help a friend present its best features in the best quality! Cheers!