With the technology available for digital design these days, it’s easy to forget that hitting ‘print’ doesn’t safeguard your document against presentation errors. Without being armed against the common printing mistakes made by businesses daily, you’ll end up with a finished product that looks unprofessional. In a client’s eyes, the quality of your printed work reflects the quality of your services.
Here are the seven most common printing mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Not enough bleed
From simple business cards to complex presentations, not allowing enough bleed can seriously reduce the quality of your document. The bleed is the use of graphics or colour that overlaps the edges of the border to ensure a quality print. Not enough bleed will see your design printed with accidental white edges or asymmetrical borders. An easy way to fix this is to ensure that designs have a 3mm bleed, or even more for large format printing.
- Spelling errors
A sure-fire way to mess up a document is to not pay enough attention to spelling and grammar use.
With a strong focus on content, it is easy to forget that sentence presentation matters. It is even easier to skim across mistakes if they are a product of your own creation.
Spelling mistakes may not seem important on your computer but in print, they are glaringly obvious.
To prevent against spelling mistakes, use corrective tools such as Grammarly or have a coworker proofread before printing.
- Low-resolution images
A common mistake in printing is not understanding the importance of image resolution. What appears on your screen may not always translate into print and it is important to ensure you are aware of your image properties and how they will present on paper.
A finished product with low-resolution images screams technical ignorance.
There are five types of resolution relating to digital images, with the well-known pixel count as the factor that dictates print quality.
When selecting images to use for print purposes, ensure the pixel count is high enough for the size of your design and use applications such as Photoshop to save images at the desired resolution.
- Poor design
A novice design is easily noticed, with issues such as poor spacing and formatting paving the way to an unprofessional finish.
It is always worth consulting with a designer or marketing expert to produce a quality document. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t be confident with the entire world seeing it, do not use it.
- Images that don’t convert to CMYK
Don’t waste time selecting graphics for a design only for it to not print how you pictured. Colours can often print dull or toned down if images are unable to convert to the conventional CMYK colour standard. Certain shades and tones of RGB or HTML colour images cannot be reproduced in a CMYK format.
An easy way to check if your image will uphold its digital appearance is to use products such as Illustrator, which specify document colour mode and allow for format conversion.
- Wrong file formats for printing
Understanding file formatting is crucial to the completion of a printing job, with many not realising that certain formats present better on paper. A design printed as a word document creation, for example, will be of lesser quality than a design printed as a PDF. Certain formats are saved as ‘print ready’ files, which means they have all of the necessary specifications to go to print.
If in doubt, a PDF is always a compatible format that will maintain the structure of your design.
- Forgetting quiet borders
Quiet borders are a buffer area of a document that is kept free of design in order to prevent issues with trimming. Guillotine cutting and display products can often take up part of your design that was intended to be seen. A 3mm quiet border is an efficient way to ensure machine error is eliminated.
Keeping in mind these seven simple slip-ups will maintain the reputation of your design and facilitate a quality print.
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