Avalon Blog

Our Guide: Setting Up Your Documents For Print

Setting up docs for print-banner 

So, you’re setting up a print piece, huh? Great! Avalon has been providing print services since its inception and we are familiar with the common errors in a file that’s “ready” to be printed. Keep an eye out for the following issues before sending your files to print.

1. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

Even with auto-correct saving us on a regular basis, spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors still happen. Maybe you didn’t notice the little red squiggle, maybe you misspelled a person’s last name, or maybe you’re getting too liberal with your commas. Whatever the case, these things happen and once the ink is put to paper, it’s too late.

The fix? Have someone—anyone—else read over your copy. Why? The old saying; “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” Unfortunately, after staring at, working on, and reading through something for the umpteenth time, your brain tends to just gloss over common errors. Having a fresh set of eyes on your piece can help save you some expense on re-running a project, and the embarrassment of the the dreaded double word.

The same goes for reviewing something that’s already been produced. At Avalon, each project is quality checked by a team member who wasn’t involved in the production.

2. Low resolution graphics

Everyone, repeat this with me:

Don’t copy and paste a graphic from a website!

Don’t copy and paste a graphic from a website!

Don’t copy and paste a graphic from a website!

Setting aside copyright, fair use, and fair credit issues, web graphics are, in general, natively 72 dots per square inch (DPI). Print projects are typically set up at a minimum of 300 DPI. Here’s the rub, though—most computer monitors display with web graphics in mind, and that sweet graphic of a cat riding a horse you snagged from your Google image search is going to look just fine when viewing it on your screen; however, it could come out of print looking like a blurry, pixilated mess. You won’t even be able to clearly see the little cowboy hat the cat is wearing! UGH.

As a side note on this topic (something I blame movies and TV for), there is no such thing as “enhancing” low-resolution graphics. There isn’t a magic button we commercial printers can hit to make low-res graphics high res. We aren’t holding out on you, I promise. And unfortunately, simply bringing a 72 DPI graphic into Photoshop and saving it at 300 DPI doesn’t solve the issue either.

The fix? Outsource! There are entire businesses whose sole purpose is to provide high-resolution graphics for print. Consider using these services when setting up your project, they are in general very reasonably priced, and will save you a TON of time and frustration when it comes time to print. Here are a few to get you started:

For an in-depth discussion on file resolution, check out Understanding File Resolution and Its Importance in Print.

3. Mixed Color Space

Have you ever spent a few hours finding the perfect hue of a color only to receive something back not at all what you were expecting?

While there are sooo many reasons why this may be happening, one of the simpler ones that you can control from the get-go is the color space you are designing in. The easiest way to explain color space is through the following examples:

  • Designing something for the web? Make sure all the graphics, as well as text, are set in RGB (Red-Green-Blue) color space.

This will not only shift the color of your RGB graphics when printing, it will open a Pandora’s box of potential issues during the printing process.

The fix? Repeat it again:

Don’t copy and paste a graphic from a website!

Seriously though, besides that, ask your printer for a hard copy proof. Avalon never charges extra for hard copy proofs because we believe it’s an important part of the printing process. Even if the printer you choose does charge extra for it, it’s always a wise investment to see how your project will look as a finished product. In addition to confirming that the color is correct, a proof gives you an opportunity to review the stock, folds, and finishes, as well as allow you to make any changes before producing your full lot amount.

 When your print file is ready, send it over to Avalon and our experts will take it from here!

Posted in Graphic Design, Printing