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Digital to Print: What Considerations Need to be Made?

One of the biggest miscommunications when it comes to professional printing is the transition from the computer screen to the physical product. Often, businesses design with one idea in mind, and are subsequently confused when the print product comes out looking a bit different! It’s one of the many reasons to trust a true professional graphic designer or, at the very least, partner with a printing company during the design process. But why doesn’t the design on the screen always look like the one in your hand when the job is done? The answer is complex and can take a number of forms. The core idea is that digital media and print media are separated by principles that can have a profound effect on the visual. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
  • Resolution: Resolution on a computer screen vs. resolution on a printed product are going to come across differently—chiefly because of how you’re viewing them. On the computer screen, you might be viewing a scaled image, whereas print products always going to be printed to size. Always consider resolution before you transition from digital to print.
  • Color: RGB vs. CMYK is something that many people outside of graphic design and print have a hard time understanding. On the computer, designing in RGB colors is fine and will give you a rich color experience. However, as soon as the digital file is converted to print, you want to make sure you’re making the switch to CYMK. This is the mix of colors possible via ink, and while the difference may be slight, it’s still going to be noticeable if you don’t take it into account.
  • Consider finish: It’s hard to envision a “finish” for your digitally-designed file. When it comes to print, the finish is an integral part of any material, meaning you’ll need to make considerations during the design phase that will affect the finishing stage. Luckily there are tools in many design programs that allow you to simulate finish—remember to use these before deciding on a finish. They’re also handy when designing, so you know what to anticipate.
  • Bleed: Considering the bleed when designing is critically important, or you might end up with a product that looks like it’s not quite proportionate! Bleed is simply the degree to which a digital design surpasses the boundaries of the print dimensions. It ensures your design reaches the edge of the print material for a full and complete print.
Depending on the nature of your project, there can be even more considerations from digital to print that require review. Sizes, file types, graphic nature, design-to-material considerations and more can all crop up in projects. Working with a print professional or a graphic designer will ensure these variables are considered during the design process, so they translate seamlessly to the final print product. Before you create a design and send it off to print, run it under the eyes of an AlphaGraphics Lisle professional, to ensure it’s truly ready. We’ll give you peace of mind that your design is up to spec and that the finished product will be everything you expected.

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