If you're not sure what it means to have a "Print Ready" file ready to send to your printer, use the checklist below to make sure your files are good to go!
#1 - COLOR SPACE
Be sure the file is setup as CMYK instead of RGB or PMS colors. Additional charges may incur if dealing with spot colors because we'd have to print offset. Otherwise, they will likely be converted to CMYK which will likely result in some colors shifting.
Note: Not all programs allow to setup for CMYK files and will automatically create in RGB. Some of these programs are: Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point, etc
#2 - CORRECT BLEED
Add a quarter inch bleed to your height and width (1/8" to all sides). This will allow for "wiggle" room when trimming to size, to ensure a white trim is not left behind on the edges.
#3 - HI - RES IMAGES
Full size images should be no less than 150dpi, 300dpi is perfect for maximum print quality. 90% of the time we get images that are 72dpi which were likely found as a Google Image search. We DO NOT recommend using this method, please refer to Royalty Free Stock Photo websites.
Note: If your file at its full size is 72dpi and you increase the size, the dpi decreases and makes the print resolution worse. If your file at its full size is 300 dpi and you increase the size, the dpi still decreases but may still be in the 150dpi range which would print well.
#4 - TEMPLATES
Be sure to request templates if you're not sure about your safe zones or how to setup certain files. This will also confirm proper placement and sizing for folding jobs. Template layers should always be hidden or deleted before exporting your design for print.
#5 - CORRECT SAVE OPTIONS
We always recommend providing your print ready file as a PDF. When saving as PDF, be sure that you DO NOT DOWNSAMPLE in the options before saving
#6 - FILES BUILT TO SIZE
Build files for final product size, problems emerge when trying to scale small files to larger sizes. Please do not provide a 4x6 file and ask to increase and print as a poster or banner because chances are the dpi resolution will not allow for this to print well. Always setup your Page, Canvas, or Artboard size first along with resolution.
#7 - WHITE TEXT
Do NOT set to overprint - Have you ever encountered a problem where white text over a colored background disappears when printed? It's due to overprinting so always be sure to double check the Overprint Fill checkbox when dealing with white text.
#8 - BLACK TEXT
Should ALWAYS be set as 100% black and not a mix of CMYK - CMYK Black is a "richer black" but results in a "ghosting" effect where you can see trims of the color layers below. This generally doesn't print well especially on smaller text like business cards, brochures, books, etc.
#9 - FOLDING JOBS
If your job has folding, PLEASE use the corresponding template to ensure the panels are correct sizes and folds line up properly. The panel that folds inward first is always slightly smaller to allow for a clean and even fold.
If you have any questions regarding any of our tips, feel free to leave a comment. If you found it helpful, PLEASE SHARE.
If you'd like to submit a quote request, click here: https://www.imperialprint.com/quote-form