When you put time, money and effort into a printed piece you want to make sure you have the highest quality final product. Here at Typecraft we would like to guide you through the common mistakes people make when setting their documents up for print. This blog covers the top ‘slipups’ we encounter. So give it a read and set your next project off to a good start and guarantee that excellent quality!

  1. Bleed- If any colour or image in your file makes contact with the edge of your canvas you will need ‘bleed’. ‘Bleed’ focuses colour past the edge of the document. In most cases a 3mm bleed of colour is the perfect amount for print. This extra extension of colour is later trimmed off the finished product. This means that your design does not get cut into and that you don’t end up with a dreaded white edge on your finished printed piece of work.
  1. Resolution- One of the most common issues with files is that they may look fine on your screen but when printed they may appear blurred or pixelated. This happens when your file has not been set up at the correct resolution or you have imported an image that is low resolution or pixelated. The resolution and (dots per inch) DPI determine the quality of your file. The more dots per inch in your design, the better quality of your file. E.g. 300dpi will be much better quality than 72dpi. The recommended dpi is 300, which will give you a high quality print.
  1. Setting up at the incorrect size- Make sure you remember to set up your design to the size you wish to order. The artwork needs to be set up at the correct size and positioned, as you would like it to be printed. The proportions need to be correct. Otherwise errors will occur when printed.
  1. RGB or CMYK- CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow &key (black)) is a subtractive colour system where inks are mixed to create a range of different hues. The more ink you mix, the darker the colour gets. The spectrum of colours that can be produced by RGB light is much wider than the range achievable by ink, so our design applications have a special CMYK mode to limit the ‘gamut’ of the colours we have available to ensure print comes out as intended.

RGB (red, green & blue) is an additive colour system where light is used to mix colours; the more light you add the more vibrant the colour gets. When working on digital designs you’ll often be working in RGB mode because that’s how your monitor works, but the problem arises when we’re creating a design for print using an RGB based tool.

Failing to select the CMYK colour model and instead creating your designs in RGB may result in you selecting colours that can’t be reproduced in print (without special inks). If you don’t realise this early on you’ll be in for a surprise when the prints are sometimes returned dull and muted.