Embarking on the fantastic journey of business ownership is not something we take lightly, but it’s a sad fact of life that even the most worthy businesses don’t simply sell themselves. You could have the best builder’s merchants, the best hairdressers or best cafe in the world, but if your beloved customers have never even heard of you, you’ll never be able to prove that.
Modern promotion has a lot to do with the Internet, but under no circumstances should you discount the importance of printed promotional materials. Whether you’re designing them yourself, or deriving a new design from a designer’s work (from your website project, for instance), it’s important that you know how exactly how to prepare you art for publication.
Colour, And Common Mistakes:
Colour (or color for those who don’t speak the same tongue as the Queen!) is a major stumbling block for anyone not well versed in the basics of design. At the root of the problem is the fact that computer monitors display colours by mixing and shifting between Red Green and Blue. Printers on the other hand, not only use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to create colour, but it’s a process that is subtractive rather than additive (at its most basic, you’re putting inks onto a white background rather than a black one).
Even if you tell your art programme to design in CMYK mode, you’ll be looking through a monitor that uses Red, Green and Blue to mix your colours (and your monitor can always be colour incorrect to start with). If you’ve spent hours selecting a specific shade that is unique to you, it can be quite a shock when that colour comes back from the printers looking quite different. It’s therefore very important to have a printed sample of your work before you commit to printing an entire batch.
Colour also causes problems when you haven’t thought ahead about how exactly your designs will be used. Your complex multi-coloured logo can just look like a black smudge when you print a monochrome letterhead, for example.
A New Year’s Resolution:
Similar to colour, what you see on the screen isn’t quite what you get when it comes to detail. The resolution of even our modern day flat-panels is significantly below the standards of the printing industry. Most artwork is designed at 300dpi, and if in doubt, this is the resolution that you should begin designing at (any elements brought in from lower resolution sources will have to be resized). If you’re new to graphic design packages, this can seem huge, but when transferred to paper it will look brilliant!
File formats typically accepted by printers include PDF, JPG or TIF files, but if you call ahead you can often get them to handle anything.
Bleeding is a Good Thing!:
It’s not uncommon for people to design a piece of artwork to the very specific dimensions of the paper they’re printing too. In practice, it’s virtually impossible to print a piece of artwork onto such a specific area without having nasty white areas. The solution is simple: always extend your design 3mm over each edge. This is called the ‘bleed’. This space shouldn’t contain any information (because it’s there to be cut off), just an extension of the artwork.