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Common Printing Mistakes: Nail Your Print Projects Every Time

Common Printing Mistakes: Nail Your Print Projects Every Time

In today's digital age, bringing your creative vision to life on paper can be confusing. With so many design tools at your fingertips, it's easy to get lost in the pixels and forget about the practicalities of printing. Here you’ll find some of the most common printing blunders and how to steer clear of them the next time you hit that print button.

Bleed and Safety Zones

Ever printed a design only to find unsightly white borders? That's likely because you forgot about bleed. Bleed is the extra area around your design that ensures it extends all the way to the edges after trimming. To avoid those white edges, add a standard 0.125” bleed to each side of your design beyond the trim line. And don't forget the safety zone! Keep essential elements like text or logos at least 0.125” away from the trim line to prevent them from getting chopped off.

Guide Removal

Print guides are handy dotted lines that show you where your project will be cut or folded. But here's the catch: they should be removed before sending your files off to print. It's as simple as placing them on their own layer in your design file and deleting that layer before printing.

Color Conversion From RGB to CMYK

When it comes to color, make sure you're speaking the printer's language. If your project is destined for print, stick to CMYK. But if it's digital or television-bound, RGB is your go-to. If you forget to convert your colors to CMYK, you’ll likely end up with colors that aren’t accurate or matching your brand standards.

High-Res or Bust

Say goodbye to blurry, pixelated images by ensuring your images are high-resolution. Aim for at least 300 pixels per inch (PPI) to maintain crisp, clear prints that do justice to your visuals. To check the resolution of an image, simply right-click and view its properties or info.

Text: Not Too Big, Not Too Small

Finding the perfect font size is all about balance. Text that's too large can overwhelm your design, while text that's too small is squint-inducing. For brochures and other handheld delights, stick to 10-14 points for body text and 18-28 points for headlines. And don't forget about text hierarchy! Differentiate your headlines, subheadings, and body copy with varying font sizes, white space, or colors to make your text easy on the eyes and the brain.

It’s Worth It to Test

Save yourself time, funds, and a headache by printing one test file before you print a whole batch of materials. Then you can make adjustments and repeat that test until your project is perfectly printed.

The next time you're ready to print, keep this checklist handy to ensure your project turns out just as you envisioned. With a little attention to detail and some printing know-how, you'll be expert at bringing your visions to life in print.

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