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Best Rules for Printing your piece perfectly
from the Print Lizard
Whether you are a veteran graphic designer, a newcomer to the printing business or somewhere in between, one thing's for sure: you want your printed piece to be perfect -- no excuses. With today's tighter deadlines and clients expecting more out of you in less time and for less money, it's easy to make mistakes. Most of these mistakes create headaches for you and your printer in the prepress stage, which can cost you both money and precious time. On the previous page, we talked about layout, colors and photos...
Fonts: Always remember that not every printer will own every font in existence. In order to ensure that the font you chose are printed correctly be sure to embed your fonts or better yet -- include the printer and screen fonts themselves. Ideally, convert them to paths (outlines) when you send your files to be output. But when deadlines are critical, (as they always are!) it's good to send your files with both options. This provides your printer flexibility and can speed up the process.
Proofing: Never believe your own laser printer. Unless you have your desktop printer calibrated with the specs from your prep house you have no way to know if your proof is accurate for color. Asking a printer to match your uncalibrated proof can not only be a costly gamble, but can also be time consuming, especially if your proof is outside achievable color. At PrintLizard.com our Graphic Designers usually contact the customer if there are any questions on color and are available at anytime to discuss options.
PDF Presets: PDF is the hottest new file format, but it is also one of the most misunderstood. Because PDF's allow you to downsample your images, make sure that the file you submit has been saved at the proper resolution and includes your bleeds. It can also be helpful to view the file with "Overprint Preview" to confirm that your file does not have any undesired overprints. These could change the appearance of your final piece, or worse, confuse your printer and jeopardize schedule.
Software programs: The good news is there are countless software programs on the market that will allow you to create artwork for printing. The bad news is that many of them are incompatible with you printer's plate-making software and equipment. PrintLizard.com is compatible with many software programs but most commonly works with Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand and In Design. These are best geared to give you the widest versatility as well as output capability. Our designers and pressmen are experienced with these programs and that will speed up the prepress stage.
Automation: Many software programs like Photoshop and In Design allow you the opportunity to automate tedious tasks such as converting RGB images to CMYK or placing text from spreadsheets. Use these to your advantage by creating preset actions and templates to save you time and energy.
Backup your files: It's basic common sense here, but there's nothing more frustrating then getting to the end of a long project and then losing all you have created!! At the end of each session write a copy of your files on CD, memory stick or external disk. If your computer crashes, you will have a copy of all your hard work that will keep you on your tight deadline.
Contact Information: It may sound simple, but always include information on whom to contact if and when questions or problems arise. You will want to tell your printer what the fastest means of contacting you are by giving them your direct phone number, cell phone and email address.
Make a checklist: One of the best ways to make sure you've covered all the bases is to create a master checklist. Use the information just covered plus the information from your printer to customize your own "preflight checklist." Review it for each and every file you create to be sure it meets the output criteria for that printer. It may not seem worth the extra time up front when under a deadline, but these extra steps will prevent any frustration and headaches down the road.
You can call our Customer Service Representatives anytime of day at our toll free phone number
1-866-226-1756 or shoot us an e-mail to graphics [at] printlizard.com ...
* PrintLizard Printing Templates
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* Download the DTG PrePress Check List [PDF Format]
* Download this PrePress Check List courtesy of Creative Latitude. [PDF Format]