The term print-ready artwork still remains a mystery for almost all people who buy print and even some designers who are more used to preparing files for online content. So how do you create print-ready artwork that you can confidently give to your printer and know they won’t reject the file or add costly file correction charges.
There are some basic criteria that your artwork must have in order for it to be ready for print and these are as follows:
- It must be a PDF
- Any images must be high resolution
- It needs to contain bleed & crop marks
Now let’s examine each of these in turn so you know exactly what you need to do next time you are submitting your artwork for printing.
PDF File Format
PDF stands for Portable Document Format and the reason why printers ask for PDF files is it preserves the content as it should be seen no matter what computer you are viewing it on. Whereas, if you sent it in a Word, PowerPoint or any other format, it may not come out in print how you intended it to.
High Resolution Images
A lot of people make the mistake of using the same images that have been used online. For example, on websites. These images will not print very well because they are not high enough resolution. Images for print need to be 300dpi resolution where as a lot of online images are only 72dpi.
Bleed & Crop Marks
Bleed and crop marks are what you see on the edge of the content that needs to be printed. Bleed is the “extension” of the content that is right on the edge, and this will ensure when the printed sheet is trimmed on the guillotine there are no white edges left. The crop marks are the guides in the corners that outline where the sheet needs to be trimmed. Please see image below to give you an example of what bleed and crop marks look like.
If you implement the above guidelines before submitting your print job to your printer, it will ensure a smooth, problem-free production of your job which will get printed to the highest quality possible.
It will also ensure there is no delay in your job and could save you a lot of money in reprints or paying your printer to correct the files to make them print-ready!