For the purposes of this article, all references to “Printer” refer to a company that prints, cut and finishes. Not the office equipment.
CMYK = Cyan Magenta Yellow Black (PRINT). These colors mix together to create most colors. However they will never be able to print as bright as the colors you see on your monitor. If a blue looks really vibrant on your monitor do not expect exact matching when it prints. It’s simply impossible.
RGB = Red Green Blue (DIGITAL/SCREEN). These colors are emitted by your monitor and mix to form most colors. If your logo or artwork uses spot colors or custom colors from the Pantone color system, do not expect that they will appear 100% correctly on screen.
For best color proofing on the fly, print the document or artwork on a high-quality printer and review the colors on that.
Print = 300 dpi (Dots per inch)
Digital = 72 dpi (Dots per inch)
You’ll notice that the digital image resolution is less almost 1/4 that of the print resolution. This is important when choosing images for printing. If you open an image on your monitor, it will not be printed at that size. It will be reduced about 1/4. So make sure that your images are very large, otherwise if they’re scaled up, they may loose detail and increase in pixelation.
Design specs require exact dimensions whether pixel or inches. Exceptions include standard items such as letterhead, Biz Cards, Presentation Folders and websites. For most other items, it’s necessary for you to find out what the exact dimensions for the finished artwork will be. If you need help in determining this, any good designer should be able to help. Often the sizes you will need to stick to for a project will be determined by your printer. Most printers have preset size they can do for fixed costs and other sizes for additional.
This is the 1/8” area that extends beyond a the actual size of the artwork in print. It allows for errors on the printing side such as paper movement when the paper is cut. It allows for the artwork to be printed to the edge of the paper. All Print artwork sent to clients will appear (on average) to be ¼” larger on each dimension (1/8” on all sides). Full Bleed refers to image stretching from one edge to the opposite, or in general, an image that extends to any edge of the finished artwork. As an example most copy machines will not print to the edge of the paper, there’s always a white border left. If the copy machine printed full bleed, then there would be no white border.
This area is usually 1/8” inward from the edge of the page but is but can be more. This imaginary boundary marks area where text content will be safe from the cutting process of print design. Keep this in mind when considering how big you might want a certain bit of text to be, as it may get cut off (and look unprofessional).
These are small lines or dashes indicating where the Printer should cut the artwork. These often appear at the corners of the artwork or where any other cuts may need to be made (envelopes). Don’t worry, they won’t appear on the finished artwork, they’re just for the cutting.
All Printers are different. Kinkos, PrintRunner, CR Print all have different capabilities and restrictions from quantity order to cutting and finishing options. Because of this it can be important to find a printer that can produce what you’re looking for. Even better is when they can provide a print template for the item. The printer will understand this request. Alternatively you have your designer contact the printer to acquire the templates. It can be difficult pricing out various printers and finding just the right one. At Custom Creatives we’ve put together our own list of preferred vendors and are always happy to price out a print job.
I hope this helps answer a lot of questions like, “What are these marks on my proof?” or “Why doesn’t it look as bright when i print?” If not, feel free to contact our designers and they can help you out. If you need expert packaging design, check out Designhill.