Whether you’re a business looking to print advertising materials, an artist creating posters for an exhibition, or just someone wanting to print invitations for a party, it’s crucial to properly prepare your file before sending it for printing. The quality of your print largely depends on the quality of your file. In other words, if your file isn’t properly prepared, your print might turn out poorly, with poorly calibrated colors, incorrect margins, or missing crop marks. But don’t worry, we’re here to provide advice on how to prepare your file for printing.
What Format Should You Send Your Files In? When you’re looking to print a document, it’s important to prepare it in the correct format to avoid errors and production delays. At ‘Print in Britain’, we accept various file formats, but some are preferable for high-quality printing.
The PDF (Portable Document Format) is most recommended for professional printing. It preserves layout, colors, and fonts while reducing the risk of printing errors.
The JPG format is a compressed image file format that reduces file size without losing much image quality.
However, for technical reasons, we strongly advise using the PDF format.
Colors The quality of your print also depends on the colors used in your file. To ensure you get the desired color in print, choose your colors preferably from a color chart (such as Pantone®). Regarding color conversion, if your document uses the RGB color mode, it’s important to convert it to CMYK to avoid color variations during printing.
Texts The readability of texts depends on the font used, its size, and color. It’s recommended to use simple, readable fonts with a size that’s easy to read. Also, avoid using text options like bold, italic, shadow, and outline from some software (Word, Xpress, etc.) as they might not print correctly. Opt for the “bold” or “italic” version of the font (e.g., Arial Bold).
We recommend attaching all used fonts when sending your file. Recognizing your fonts prevents layout shifts.
Vectorizing your texts (on Illustrator or InDesign) avoids interpretation problems and eliminates the need to attach fonts with your file.
Image Resolution Images are key elements of any printed document. Therefore, it’s important to ensure they are of the right resolution to guarantee quality printing. Your image should have a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). If it’s lower, the image might appear blurry or pixelated when printed. Make sure to work with sufficiently high-resolution images.
Also, avoid enlarging your images too much. Recommended enlargement rates, in correlation with the image’s resolution, should not exceed 130% to avoid pixelation.
Layout Once your file is prepared with quality images and texts, it’s important to pay attention to the layout. There can be variations in cutting during printing, which can leave unsightly white edges on your document. To prevent this, include bleed – graphical elements that extend beyond the cut line. If your document has a colored background or an image, extend the layout around the document. This extra material will be trimmed, avoiding white lines on the edges. At ‘Print in Britain’, we print with a 3mm bleed.
It’s also important to have sufficient margins to ensure that no important elements of your document are cut off during printing. Margins should be at least 5mm to guarantee quality printing.
Spelling and Grammar Checking the spelling and grammar of your file before sending it to print is essential to avoid costly errors and production delays. A simple typo or grammatical error can affect the professional appearance and comprehension of your document.
To avoid this, it’s recommended to thoroughly proofread your file several times before sending it to the printer. You can also ask a trusted person to review your document to ensure it’s perfect.
By taking the time to carefully check your file before sending it to the printer, you can ensure that your document will be printed professionally and without errors, reflecting positively on your business.