If your business prefers to design its own print materials, here are a few time and money saving tips to ensure your PDF files are print-ready:
- Remember that the end product is only as good as its components. For high-quality printing, a PDF file must contain high resolution images, appropriate fonts, etc.
- Ensure that your fonts are properly embedded in the PDF. Some font creators don’t allow their fonts to be embedded. If that is the case, you should convert all fonts to outlines/curves/paths. Most design programs, such as InDesign, require you to convert fonts to outlines before creating the PDF. (Please note that fonts can be a tricky subject. Give us a call if you have any questions about font use or how to convert fonts to outlines, and we can walk you through the process.)
- Ensure that your color values are appropriate for the desired output. In most cases, CMYK is standard, however, it could also be RGB. If CMYK is the right choice, some programs may allow you to convert everything to CMYK during PDF creation. However, it is recommended that you convert before output to avoid potential color changes when RGB images are converted to CMYK. If you have questions about color output, remember our printing experts are here to help!
- Because transparency can have unpredictable results in printable PDFs, always make sure you flatten (rasterize) the elements affected by the transparency.
- Ensure your PDF exports have a designated bleed if graphics are designed to print to the edge of the page. Elements that bleed should extend .125” outside the finished trim size.
- Elements that do not bleed should be .1875″ inside the finished trim size.
- Remember the page size should match the finished trim size.
- Proof and preflight before creating a PDF file to identify missing fonts, unlinked images, or other issues that could result in problems down the road.
- Use the appropriate PDF file settings. When in doubt, contact our print shop and we can recommend a file setting for your project.
Let us know if you have questions or need help creating print-ready PDFs. Remember, our printing experts are only a phone call or email away!
When you send projects to PrintWorks, we will gladly walk you through the printing process step-by-step. But here are a few helpful tips to help ensure your next printing project is a success:
- Before you begin, give us details about your project so we can give you a cost estimate. Include quantity, paper stock, size, color, binding, folding, trimming, deadlines, etc.
- Discuss what types of files are preferred, such as a PDF or a packaged InDesign file.
- Determine your color model. For example, will you want full-color (all colors), one color (everything in one color, typically black), spot color (black plus one accent color), etc.
- When it comes to printing, “haste makes waste.” Take time to proof for typos, wrong dates, incorrect phone numbers, etc. Encourage several people to proof before submitting to be printed.
- Discuss and plan for final sizes, remembering that your document may need to be printed oversized to allow room for bleeds.
- Since we can often print multiple documents on oversized sheets of paper, always set your publication size the size of your final product, not the paper you plan to print it on. If you want your document to print to the edge of the paper, remember to set a bleed which extends off the page.
- Ensure that images have enough resolution to print successfully – typically 300 pixels per inch (ppi). While graphics can have a higher resolution (up to 800 ppi) they should not be lower than 300 ppi. If you are unsure, send them to us to confirm.
- Keep in mind that for shorter runs, digital printing may cost less, allow personalization and require less complicated pre-press. However, digital is not suitable for all printing jobs, especially those that require Pantone color matches or certain types of paper.
- When printing envelopes, remember standard envelopes can save a lot of time and money.
- If you anticipate needing more identical print pieces in the future, order them now. The more you print, the less it costs per piece.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions about an upcoming print project. Remember, our team will do everything we can to help make the printing process as simple as possible for your business.