People consume the majority of their information and entertainment digitally these days. However, there is still a place for printed media. The flood of information online means digital media, including ads, articles, and art, is quickly lost and forgotten. Creating hard copies of important content gives your customers something they can hold onto.
If you want your printed media to be beautiful, functional, and archival, you'll need to seek out a quality printing service. Once you've found the printing service of your choice, you'll need to prepare your files accordingly. Here are three steps that will help you prepare your graphics for printing:
1. Save your files correctly.
When you save a file using a certain extension, you tell your computer how the information should be packed. Certain file types preserve quality better than others. JPEG is a common file type used for images. In order to save disk space, JPEG files compress your image, which can lead to a loss of quality. If you want to achieve the best possible print, you should save your image as a TIFF or PNG file. Your printing service may have their own preferences for file type, so find out their specifications before proceeding.
2. Make sure your graphics are large enough.
Computer screens are designed to display images at 72 dots per inch. In contrast, most printers create images at 300 dots per inch. An image created for the web will almost certainly be too small for printing purposes, and improperly sized graphics will lead to prints that are blurry and low quality. Whenever possible, save your graphics in the largest size available. Images that are too large can easily be sized down without losing quality. However, there is no way to fix images that are too small for printing.
3. Remember the limitations of the style of printing you choose.
There are two types of professional printing: four color process and spot color printing. Four color process uses four colors of ink to create every shade of the rainbow. Four color process printers lay down very small dots of color, which visually mix together on the page. By comparison, spot color printing mixes colors before placing them on the page. Four color process printing is more economical and can produce true color results. It's often used to create magazines and other forms of professional printed media.
Like all forms of printing, four color process printing has its limitations. It is an additive color process, which means lighter colors can only be achieved when starting from a light base. You'll need to keep this in mind when selecting paper for your prints. White paper usually works better with four color process.