The success of your final print product relies heavily on the quality of the print files you create.  The better the quality of your print files and designs, the better the overall quality of your print job will be.   Often, we receive print files that have not been appropriately designed, which adds to the risk of the job getting delayed.  To minimize this risk factor, we suggest you first review your print plans with a qualified designer or have one of our Rocket Design Experts create the file for you.  Here are a few points and tips to ensure you are on your way to the perfect print file.

Print size is the actual size of the image once printed.  For example, if you are printing an item 24”x36”, you’ll want to ensure your file has that dimension at the start.

Image file size is the amount of space the image takes up.

Resolution is the density of pixels or dots in an image.  Resolution is expressed in DPI, which means dots per inch.  Make sure all your files are at least 300 DPI.  The higher the DPI = the more dots = the sharper the print.  The lower the DPI = the fewer the dots = the blurrier the print.

Color, just like resolution, needs to be specific for print.  CMKY translates to Cyan, Magenta Yellow and Black also occasionally referred to as Process Color or Four Color.  CMYK is the most popular form of ink used in the printing process.  Pantone colors, also referred to as PMS (Pantone Matching System), is a specific spot color to assure the color will match once produced.

Print file format should be a PDF (Portable Document File) for best results.  Adobe PDFs are the universal file format that can be viewed on virtually every computer, regardless of fonts or software installed.

Crop marks are required if you send your file already imposed and should be offset from the finished image by 1/8″.

Bleeds and safe zones are required if the print needs to extend to the edge of the image (no white space or border).  If this is the case and you want your image to run off the printed piece, then include a 1/8″ extension of the image.

Fonts are recommended in your PDF document if any last-minute edits are required.

Image content is vital for copyrighted images.  To be safe, you can purchase images from various stock image websites.  If you are using a professional photo, be sure you have written permission to print the image.

Spell check your document before converting your file.  A good practice is to have a spell check program or have a second or third pair of eyes proofread your project.

The bottom line is to stick to the print file guidelines.  Knowing the terminology and print specs is necessary if you want your print job to occur without hiccups.   If you need help creating, editing or formatting your print files, get in touch with our Rocket Design Specialist.