Inexperienced designers and marketers often run into the same problems when it comes to their first several print jobs. Learning how to avoid these mistakes can save you big in time, money, and embarrassment!
Even the most experienced graphic designers are prone to making these mistakes, especially if they aren’t familiar with designing for print! Learn the top printing mistakes caused by graphic design gaffs so you can avoid a costly mistake during your next project.
1. Waiting Too Long To Submit A Project
Maybe you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” This holds especially true for big projects in the world of design. You will always hit unplanned roadblocks, which makes having wiggle room in your schedule invaluable. Always set up a schedule that allows you to get the entire print project to the printer several days before the deadline in order to ensure the job is completed on time.
Supply your printer with a hard copy proof so that you are very clear on how the finished project should look, just in case the digital format isn’t laid out exactly to the final specifications. A hard copy is also helpful for proofreading. When you look at your design in a different format, you can catch errors not easily seen on a screen.
2. Failing To Understand Color
Printing is done in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), not the RGB (red, green and blue) used for screen colors. Many designers even choose to go with Pantone colors to ensure accuracy—using a Pantone swatch book—instead of relying on their computer screen. Additionally, it is important to note that true black is not the same color as the default Photoshop black (which is actually 75 cyan, 80 magenta, 67 yellow and 90 black in CMYK - making up 300% total ink coverage).
For crisp black that uses the appropriate amount of ink for text, set all colors to 0 except for black (0C, 0M, 0Y, 100K). For a black background or larger text, you will want to use a heavier “rich black” to darken the space to a deeper color that doesn’t overdo the coverage limit: 50C, 40M, 40Y, 100K.
Another color issue that can cause problems for designers is trying to print small, white text on top of a richly colored or patterned background. White text is not a printed color; it’s a negative space where the plates do not place any ink. Because it is difficult to get the background plates to line up correctly, small text often ends up looking blurry.
3. Skimping On The Margins
Most projects have some kind of image, bar, shape, or design element that is supposed to go all the way to the edge of the page. This means that your printer will need you to purposely overlap images and shapes that are meant to go to the edge of the page over the boundary of the job. The overlap makes sure there is no white strip left along the edge of your print. The amount of bleed required will depend on the printer and your project requirements. Additionally, you want to make sure you give the text plenty of room from the edge because printed text will look far more crowded than it did onscreen.
4. Not Converting Or Embedding Fonts
Never assume that your printer has the particular font you used in your design. Get in the habit of embedding your fonts for longer text sections and altering your text to outlines (like logotype or text art). If you don’t embed your font or turn your text into outlines, it may be replaced with a default font that will ruin your entire design.
If you are looking for a reliable, high-quality printer, contact Arkansas Graphics at 501-263-2649 to get an estimate on your project. We have graphic designers on staff who are experienced in corporate consultation and can help you avoid these—and other!—top printing mistakes.