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Digital Printing Design Tips

Digital printing offers many benefits that offset printing doesn’t. Speed, versatility, and low cost all make digital the ideal printing choice for a wide variety of projects.

When it comes to designing for digital printing, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. We have compiled a few basic tips for those who wish to design their own projects that will be printed digitally.   


Your images should be at least 300 dpi. Anything less and the overall image quality tends to suffer greatly. If you have line art, keep it at a minimum of 600 to 800 dpi for best results.


If you can, try to avoid large areas of solid color, gradients or blends in your project. With digital printing, they can show banding or mottle from time to time. If your project absolutely requires solids, try using a filtering technique like a texture or pattern.

Variable Data

The ability to print variable data is one of the strengths of digital printing. Keep in mind that variable data can go wherever you like on the design.  Due to the nature of variable data, be sure that your longest field entry has room to fit on the design. The proper name “Jon Doe” is a lot shorter than the proper name “Montgomery Remington” and if you don’t leave enough room on the design, Montgomery’s last name could get cut off when the project goes to print.


Some fonts look better than others when it comes to variable printing. It’s advised to use TrueType or Adobe Type 1 fonts for variable data. There is a wide selection to choose from in this family of fonts. In order to make sure that it will be readable, don’t set your type to below 4 points sizes.


Before the advent of digital printers, proofing on offset printers used to be a time consuming and expensive process. Because digital printers do not require any press setup, proofs can be printed instantly on whatever substrate you’re going to use. This will enable the designers to make adjustments before the full project is run. Take full advantage of the ease and availability of proofs before committing to the print run.


If you’re designing your own project, call ahead to the printers to verify printable areas. A general rule of thumb is to extend image bleeds to 1/8” past crop marks, as well as allowing ¼” between images that will be bled.

Take into Account the Finishes

If your project is going to require binding, folding, die-cutting, or scoring, the designers should talk about the file setup with the printers prior to running the job. This will ensure the finishes will come out as intended as well as allowing the designers to plan for the finishing requirements in the final design.

Design Help in New Bern

While many people feel right at home designing their own projects, there are those who feel that design should be best left to the professionals. At AlphaGraphics, we have expert designers on staff who will sit down with you and help turn your vision into reality. To learn more about how AlphaGraphics of New Bern can produce and design your next project, you may email us, request a quote or call us at (252) 633-3199.

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