From screen to print on paper
Posted in Graphic Specialities
If you work in the graphic design world, you will know that when it comes to graphic print design it is essential to understand how to get good print results on white or tinted papers. This starts from the creation of the graphic file.
In design for print of brochures, books, business cards, flyers, catalogues or any other printed communication material, it is important to consider some fundamental rules of graphic layout.
In this article we have collected a series of tips of how to prepare a file to gain the best print result on paper.
Pre-press in the era of digital printing
The print workflow varies from one technique to another. In particular, when we talk about digital printing, the process becomes faster as it does not involve the production of plates and of course they are also not needed in order to create any proofing material.
The pre-press stage, which especially since the ascendance of digital printing, has become even more important as it establishes all the operations before the final print. These capture all the requirements needed from the creation of the layout up to the final approval and sign off to print.
In the case of using an online digital printing service you will need to follow the instructions on the website of the chosen platform and if necessary and available you can request a check of the document to be sent.
When digital printing using either process; wet toner such as, HP Indigo or dry toner, such as Ricoh, Canon, Konika Minolta, Xerox, the received work file will usually be reviewed by prepress technicians.
During the file check process, a prepress graphic operator verifies the parameters: for example, profiles (ICC), dimensions, resolution, colours and any Pantone references, fonts open or not converted to a path.
Prepress for traditional printing techniques
Whether for a simple promotional brochure print or for a print of a product presentation catalogue, the result must respect the customer’s expectations: high quality print as well as true colour representation.
A graphic operator specialized in prepress has the skills to achieve the best printing results, but for every designer it is useful to know some secrets tips of the graphic arts for file preparation, so that the print result on paper is the desired one.
In addition, the choice of paper on which to print your graphic project – whether coated board or an uncoated, coloured, embossed or metallized paper – will influence the preparation phase. Find the ideal paper for your work among Favini’s graphic specialties.
Colour management in prepress and colour profiles
Colour is the first aspect to which you must pay attention when printing.
By using the correct parameters, you avoid the risk of obtaining a print that has a different colour output compared to the designed version.
We asked Emilio Marchiorello, Graphic Designer in Favini, to tell us the key aspects to consider for colour in prepress.
“My advice is to design using the right colour profiles and pay attention to the type of paper and ink”
To design correctly, Emilio suggests using the correct colour profile according to the device: for the monitor, to see the correct colour, and for the input device (e.g. digital camera, scanner) as well as the output media (e.g. desktop printer and printing press).
Furthermore, it is important to consider two additional aspects: the type of paper substrate (coated or uncoated) and the type of ink.
It will be normal for a good quality printer to already have the colour profiles calibrated for his printing press, but it is always good to compare these colour profiles to those with which you designed the print work.
Regarding the profiling of the document, it is common that new systems, where there is no assigned profile, to automatically define the colour space required. In any case, it is always good practice to preview the work and any changes that have been made.
Dependent on the graphic work and the print technique, whether digital, silk-screen or offset printing, the choice of black must be considered.
Black can be the “classic” version that is obtained from the CMYK composition: C = 0; M = 0; Y = 0; K = 100 with 100% of black ink.
You can also choose other shades of black, such as a composite black, to create a brighter black obtained with different CMYK combinations, for example C = 40; M = 40; Y = 40; K = 100. Theory suggests that you should never exceed 300% of total ink, and be careful not to use composite black for text, as you risk off-register.
File format to be sent for printing
It is important to check with your own typography, the characteristics of the file to be sent for print.
The ideal format to be sent to printers is high resolution PDF format, set to CMYK, Actual size. For optimal results in digital and off-set printing, photos must have at least 300 dpi resolutions and be on a 1: 1 scale.
Regarding the font, it is better to convert all the texts into paths or to provide the fonts with the file; in addition, it is always advisable to provide logos in vector format.
Safety margins: boxes, crosses and bleeds
When creating the graphic work for printing, bear in mind that once printed it will then be trimmed.
Margins, bleed area, cutting marks, are all tools that allow you to fit the graphic elements in the final print, from the simple business card to the printing of catalogues and brochures.
The margins are the safety border area applied to the edge of the sheet to limit the space in which to insert the graphic elements to prevent the work being inadvertently cropped.
Dependent on the graphic application, these can vary in size: from 3mm on small print such as business cards, up to 10mm for large works such as catalogues or books.
The Grafigata! graphic website explains that within a graphic file that some boxes are created: media, bleed, trim and art box.
Another aspect to consider for the cutting stage is the bleed area. To avoid white threads along the edges after the cut, you should consider that the sheet will be cut between the bleed and the trim box, in this way colours and graphic elements will reach the edge of the printed sheet.
“I recommend to designers who design graphics for print, to enlarge the graphic elements towards the bleed.”
Now you are ready to print
Before sending your graphic work to print, check that all the aspects we have explained are under control, here is our checklist:
- You have chosen the paper;
- You used colours in CMYK and selected the colour profile suitable for the type of substrate;
- You used 100k black for texts and paths and rich black for full fills and shapes;
- File is saved in high resolution PDF format;
- Images have been converted to CMYK and have a resolution of at least 300 dpi;
- Fonts have been converted into paths;
- Logos are in vector format;
- The graphic elements are entirely inside the safety margins.
To help you choose the paper on which to print your project visit our Applications page, whether it work for a catalogue, packaging or an invitation, you will find the Favini’s fine papers ideal for your creative idea.
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