When you’re designing for web, your images are usually 72 dpi (Dots Per Inch), which is standard for screen resolution. For most print projects, you’re going to need more than 4 times that resolution: 300 dpi. If you try and print your files at 72 dpi you will end up with blurry, fuzzy pictures, and you want the highest quality for your clients, right?
Bleed, Trim and Safety Lines
Whenever I’m setting up a file for print, the first thing I do is create three important areas on the document:
Bleed: Whenever your artwork extends to the edge of a document, you must set up a bleed area so that when your work is being printed it doesn’t get cut-off irregularly at the edges and leave ugly white lines.
Trim: The trim line is simply the line that shows where your document is going to be cut, and is usually 1/8″ after the bleed. So if your page is going to be 8.5 x 11″ when it’s done, the trim line would make an 8.5 x 11″ box inside your document.
Safety: The safety line is an additional 1/8″ inside the trim line. All of your artwork and text should be inside this box to ensure that it is not cut-off when the page is cut.
RGB, CMYK, 100K Black & Rich Black
As a print designer, your work must be created in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) format. This is because most printers have Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks that they use to reproduce your artwork. If you convert a vivid RGB image to CMYK you can see that a lot of the colours become muted and washed out. CMYK doesn’t quite have the same reach in the colour spectrum as RGB.
Print Formats & Fonts
I have yet to come across a printer that doesn’t accept PDF files (vector and raster). That being said, you should be sensitive to the needs of your printer.
Building a good working relationship with your printer is important (especially if they are local). They might not have the same fonts that you do on their machines. Whenever possible, you should create outlines of your text or embed fonts (packaging the fonts with the files also works, make sure you have proper permissions). Not following this step might lead into possible delays or the issue might get missed altogether. Article Continued...