Art Mistakes Printing Postcards

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Avoid art mistakes printing postcards, brochures or business cards with these five tips.  A quick review will catch these errors and send you on your way to proof approval and printing.

Submitting art to be printed isn’t brain surgery, but there are errors and art mistakes that will delay your project and often cost you a print deadline.  Here is a checklist for printing postcards -5 common art mistakes to avoid and help increase your odds of success of having art accepted by your printer on the first go round.

1. Low Resolution Logos, Photos and Graphics

If you want your logo and photos to “pop” begin with a good high resolution copy.  If you already have a high quality digital (EPS, PDF, TIF or at least JPG) copy of your logo, keep it on the desktop for whenever you need it.  If you don’t have a good digital copy and plan on being in business for a while have someone create a logo or do a
Logo Cleanup

Don’t grab logos or images from print from a website.  Most website photos are low resolution Tif or Gif files and won’t print well.  You can always buy high quality photos for printing cheap. Simply Google “Royalty Free Photos” and pick up some nice photos online for just a few bucks.  But make sure you buy photos that are 300DPI, not the 72 DPI those are for web only.

2. Not Embedding Fonts and Flattening Files

Let us cut through the jargon.  If you create a PDF file you must embed your fonts. This ensures that whomever opens your document will be able to view and print the file correctly  even if they do not have the font you used on their computer.

Flattening simply means that if you created your document in layers (on Photoshop for example) that the file you submit to print combines those layered files into one file.  The good news about this is that it also makes it smaller and easier to email.  Unflattened files are usually huge and and when emailed are returned as undeliverable. Flattened files are smaller for easier emailing. Be sure not to send incomplete or corrupt files.

3. Not Adding Bleed To Your Art Submission Files

Not adding what?  Bleed.  Bleed is key if you want you postcard, brochure or business card to not have a portion of it near the edges cut-off.

This is one of the most common art mistakes printers see on submitted files and they are quickly rejected.  Allow me to explain.   Imagine you have a 2″ x 3.5″ business card design with a blue background.  Picture this card in your mind. If you submit your art at the exact size of 2″ x 3.5″ to print, you will end up with a 2″ x 3.5″ image with a blue background on a white piece of card stock.  Now picture cutting that.  When the blade comes down you will either cut off some of your background or leave a trace of white if you cut just outside the art. Printer’s cuts are good, but not perfect.

How do you solve this?  There are two easy ways.

1.     Add a white border .125″ on all 4 sides ( .25″ to width and .25″ for length).

2.     Extend your artwork an extra .125″ on all 4 sides ( .25″ to width and .25″ for length).

Now don’t just make you artwork larger because you will still have the problem.  You need the extra room at the edges.  So extend the artwork at the edges, don’t simply enlarge it. It is also a good idea in general to not have anything important that can not be cutoff near the edges of your art.

4. Submitting Art AS RGB, Not Saving As PDF Or JPG

Most printers prefer your art as CMYK.  Again,if using Photoshop go to Image, then Mode and you can easily change it to CMYK.  Be sure to save the file after making the change.  Most printers prefer a PDF orbut will accept a JPG file.  No Gifs or Tifs those are for the web. And if you are submitting black and white. Don’t save them as RGB or CMYK, save them as Grayscale.

5. Not Getting A Proof and Reviewing It Carefully

A proof is very important.  Even if you have to pay for it. The next time you catch some art mistakes before printing it will save you the cost of many, many $5 proofs.  Remember even if you think your art is perfect, once in a while people screw up and upload the wrong file.  (Not you of course, but some people). So you could spend all day on perfecting your ad and then one little click and you screwed up an important project.  A last proof looking for art mistakes is like chicken soup; it couldn’t hurt.

So there you have it, five art mistakes to avoid when submitting art to be printed according to
Cloud 8 Design

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