You trust suppliers with your reputation, relying on them to print a job correctly so your clients are happy. Unfortunately, many printers increasingly use web-to-print software, which means the art file you think is print-ready won't necessarily have human eyes rechecking it or the proofs it produces.
A better alternative is a supplier that uses professional graphic designers who look for correct color registration such as PMS colors to CMYK; formatting issues like bleeds; overprints from multiple art boards; and finishing option misplacement like text/graphics positioned in areas with hems or grommets.
Checking over subtle design elements like these isn't part of the web-to-print system. Here are five important services you gain by using a supplier with professional graphic designers who will review your art and eliminate printing errors.
Proof Read Carefully. Clients can be calm about minor design errors, such as lines not being of the same thickness, but mistakes in text are fatal. Use a good proofreader. Graphic designers are pros at catching common typos and can be an invaluable extra set of eyes. If the client wants to proofread himself, be sure to have it in writing. An email is a great confirmation.
Correct Size Artwork. Your design brief with a client should specify the size of artwork. A service oriented supplier can help you establish this early in the process. If you’re uncertain, check Document Setup in your art program or the outmost frame in Illustrator. Confirm everyone is using 210×297 as width by height. Did the client say an A4 because it looks like an A4, or is it 220×286? For ads, contact the magazine or website. If you’re not sure, always double check.
Define Bleed and Trim Marks. The bleed is the distance the artwork needs to extend beyond the final size of the image. This can vary. The most common bleed is 3mm; in some cases, it may not be needed at all. Clarify before you create your PDF, and open the PDF afterward to check inclusion. Professional graphic designers like those at Wholesale Banners Online can make suggestions as to what amount of bleed would work best for your client’s artwork.
Set Artwork's Printing Format Correctly. This depends on what kind of color workflow you will use. For CMYK workflow, all colors should be in CMYK. Pictures should be in CMYK with color separated for the paper used. No color profiles should be attached to the pictures. If you are still using pictures as EPS, it’s time to switch over to using native Photoshop files. The reason: If you’re using transparency in your artwork (e.g. drop shadows, transparent type or colors) your PDF will most likely tear the photos into strips. This can be avoided by using the pictures as native PSD.
For RGB workflow, you can still use CMYK colors, but all photos should be designated in RGB. It’s important to have all photos in RGB, and they should have a color profile attached.
Use native PSD — it has options not available to other formats. If you’re including Pantone colors, make sure only the colors used are in the file. In InDesign and Illustrator, go to the Swatch panel and in the fly-out menu, select all unused and delete those colors. If in doubt, contact your printer. She will be glad to help and will most likely send you the correct Photoshop settings for the jobs going to the printer.
Ensure High-Resolution Final PDFs. Did you send your client a low resolution PDF earlier in the day? Did you remember to switch over to a high-resolution output? Are you using the built-in PDF settings of InDesign or Illustrator? Ask your printer for PDF job settings. The built-in settings are not usually what is used for professional PDF output. High-quality print and press-quality settings are tempting to use if you want quality because of the names, but in most cases you will have to use PDF/X-1a:2001. Consult your printer — preferably a G7 Master Printer that understands the top methods and formulas for printing the exact color across a variety of media.
Don’t make a purchasing decision solely based on a supplier’s listed price – take time to evaluate its art expertise and whether it offers a personalized review of your client’s artwork, proofs and printed products. You’ll come out ahead every time!
LorDec Media Group is a full-service lead generation, marketing, and advertising agency. We develop and create high impact, industry specific, pixel perfect mobile responsive websites and direct response campaigns that are market proven to build brand and product awareness, improve customer retention, and attract new customers. Most importantly, we won't break the bank doing it!
Why not give us a call? We will be more than happy to discuss your needs and answer any questions you may have. No obligation, just a conversation!