If you’re a creative spending much of your time designing visual elements on your computer, one of the most important aspects of the entire process is ensuring that they actually look like you want them to when they make the transition to a physical form. It only takes a few missteps to create an unpleasant, blurry mess, after all. If you’re about to make the leap from digital to print and are unsure where to begin to ensure that you get exactly what you envision, you’re definitely not the only one. To help remedy this, in this article, we take a look at a few things that you should know about print design before rushing out and printing out reams of mistakes.
Basic printing information
When you’re looking into custom sticker printing, one of the first things you should understand is the difference between RGB and CMYK colour. In essence, how your computer software generates colour on your screen is not necessarily the same system that printers use. Computer programs use what is known as the RGB colour system, which is (as you might be able to guess) made up of the colours red, green and blue. Printers, on the other hand, use CMYK, which translates to cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Overall, the RGB colour set has a greater range of colours than most printers can accurately reproduce, so with this in mind, if you intend for your designs to eventually be printed then opt for the CMYK colour scheme. If you do choose this path, though, do know that what you see on the screen with CMYK might not actually be what you get in the final printed product, which is why proofing your designs is always a wise idea. It’s also highly important to consider the resolutions of your images from the outset – printing requires high-resolution images, and 300 DPI (dots per square inch) is the standard setting to ensure this.
More tips for print
Another big consideration you’ll need to make when designing your image for print is to factor in how well it will scale – although an image might look great on your screen, there is a chance it might not scale well if you decide to make it much bigger or smaller. When you’re considering this scaling aspect, you’ll need to pay close attention to typography, as the fonts you use may not look very good if you shrink them down to business card size (or perhaps even be illegible), and vice versa for larger poster sizes. For this reason, vector images ensure that your images are infinitely scalable, which is why this is the preferred design image of choice for most. Finally, you should be taking into consideration bleed – bleed is the room you’re required to leave around the edges to compensate for any unexpected margin errors a printer creates while printing – most printers require different amounts of bleed, so sometimes it’s a matter of checking relevant settings.
Check everything before it goes out
Although you might think many of the errors of digital to print are due to errors with the printer or a misunderstanding of the process, a lot of errors can be rooted out before they happen through some simple proofreading. Double and triple check everything before it’s sent out to ensure that you don’t end up with costly errors that could have in fact easily been manageable mistakes.