8 Tips for creating a Print Ready Artwork

8 Tips for Creating a Print Ready Artwork.

Posted on Posted in Miscellaneous

8 Tips for Creating a Print Ready Artwork.

If you have a artwork ready then that doesn’t mean it is print ready. So what are the requirements for print ready artwork? Well, there are several things go into creating a print ready artwork. What is CMYK and RGB? Bleed and Crop Marks? Image Resolution? What is Font converted to shape/outline? There are several things to consider. Your artwork will be perfect if you do it. It significantly reduces chances of bad printing results.

So is it hard to do it? No!  We are giving you 8 tips for creating Print Ready Artwork.

1) Set up artwork at right size.

Set up artwork at right size

It is very important to set up an artwork size correctly. There are standard sizes such as A4, A3, Letter etc. You need to know at what size it will get printed. you should communicate with printer before setting up a size. You can ask him what size will be printable and according proceed with artwork. It will be very difficult to change size once your artwork is done. It will affect fonts, images, gradients. Image resolution will have negative effect on it. So it is always advisable to do it in the beginning only. The actual size of print ready artwork should not include bleed or crop marks.

2) Make sure your artwork is in CMYK colors.


What is CMYK? They are the process colors used for printing. Every single color is a combination of C (Cyan), M (Magenta), Y (Yellow), K (black). For example Red is C:0 M:100 Y:100 K:0. Printing allows artwork only in CMYK colors so they should be used in print ready artwork. If you have artwork in RGB colors then convert them to CMYK. But color tones do change while conversion so make sure you use CMYK in first place. Make it a habit.

3) Use right software.

  1. If you are creating a print ready artwork combined of vector and raster then you should use softwares like CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Quark Xpress. They have fantastic options to create designs like logo, flyer, brochure, leaflet etc.
  2. If you are creating an image artwork then use Adobe Photoshop. It is highly recommended software which is used worldwide. It has array of options to work with.
  3. If you are creating an artwork which just has text then you can use Microsoft Word or Note pad. They have simple structure to create nice text artworks.

4) Convert fonts and outlines to shapes.

Convert-fonts and outlines to shapes

It is very important that you final artwork shouldn’t have text in font format. If you give your artwork to printer and he doesn’t have that particular font in his system then your font will change after he opens the file. So always convert your fonts to shapes one design is done. This rule also applies for outlines used in artwork. An outline has specific thickness when you create it. If printer resizes your print ready artwork and outline is not set as “scale with image” then thickness of outline remains same and artwork looks different. So convert outlines to shape once design is done. Your artwork will be seen and printed as you created when you convert fonts and outlines to shape.

5) Use Images / Photographs with right resolution. .

Use Images and Photographs with right resolution

The image used in print ready artwork should have resolution of 300 DPI. If it is below than that then Image will pixalate and printing results will be bad. Your file size will be large if  resolution is higher than 300 DPI. So make sure it is 300 DPI always. But If you are creating a artwork for large banner such as 10’ x 4’ then keep resolution at 72 DPI. The main reason is such banner will be seen from long distance and so 72 DPI will be more than enough. It keeps file size short as well.

6) Use bleed and crop marks.

Bleed is very important when you create artwork. It extends design further actual size and makes sure there is no white edge when cut. It makes printer’s job easy and your artwork safe. Normally 3mm of bleed is perfect. Crop marks go hand in hand with bleed.They are also called cutting marks. Crop marks tell printer where to cut exactly. They separate bleed from actual artwork size. If you are using 3mm bleed then use 10mm crop marks. Cutting Marks should be in registration color (C:100 M:100 Y:100 K:100). Some printers add bleed and crop marks but it may disturb your print ready artwork. So it is wise to do it yourself. It is not complicated at all.

7) Produce printable file format.

Print ready artwork can be created in any software of your choice. But printer allows some specific file formats only. So discuss with him and accordingly “save as” your artwork in that file format. Mostly formats like PDF, Ai, EPS used all over the world. These are standard file formats preferred by printers. The software you are using gives options such as “Save As” and “Export” to produce these file formats. So use them wisely. Check those options and see what works well. You can settle down with right process by experimenting.

8) Print a proof to check.

Print a proof to check

Your artwork looks great on computer screen, so you may think your job is over. But it is not. Eventually it will get printed, so it is important to see how it looks on paper. Take a print of artwork and check it thoroughly. If it is good then give it to the printer. By doing that you are telling him what and how he needs to print. Then it is his responsibility to produce quality printing. You can also give him notes to follow the proof of print ready artwork. A good co-ordination will bring out perfect results. So go beyond just designing!

Creative Director

Rohit Bhagat

Owner/Creative Director of Oh! Sandpiper Creative

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