Unless you are designing for the web, before you can finally have the final output in your hands, there is every possibility that it will pass through a printer. Funnily enough, what you see on the computer screen when designing is not necessarily what you will hold in your hands after printing.
There is always a slight variation, sometimes large variations, regarding quality between the work output in the computer screen and the final print design. Due to this, therefore, it pays to learn how to prep your designs so that you make them ready for a good output when printing. Presented here are tips to help you make your designs look great in print-:
Color images correctly in the RGB Color Space
A lot of color information is usually lost when images are converted from RGB to CMYK. This implies that designers as well as the various graphic design tools have a limited range of colors to work with when trying to adjust color changes in images. Again, whenever there is a conversion of images from RGB to CMYK, there is the creation of black separation as well as the reduction of CMYK in the image all at the same time.
Depending on how much the CMY is eliminated during the separation, making color adjustments to that image may be very difficult and nearly impossible in most cases. It is, therefore, necessary for every designer to color images correctly in the RGB color space for better print output.
Test the Fonts Used
There are a plethora of fonts available for free downloading from the internet. Some of these fonts may have certain restrictions which inhibit their use in printing and PDF creation, and you may find out about it at the printing stage of your project. If you know that you will be printing the final output, it is recommended to test the font you intend to use first.
For instance, you can start by activating the font in your system then create a document in inDesign using the same font and finally export the page and try converting to PDF. If you do this successfully without any warnings or errors, then the font is safe, and you can go ahead and use it in your designs for printing. Print design needs to take the finished product in mind.
Be cautious with large solids
Not every printer or printing press can reproduce solids evenly. Lithographic presses will do a great job at this but toner-based printers may exhibit a tendency to show unevenness, mottle or even banding when dealing with large solids. The simple explanation for the disparity between the two is that the ink and tonner are two different materials. Keep this print design tip in mind.
When toner is used on a paper, it is dry. The toner is never absorbed by the paper fibers but rather, it is fused in to the sheets of paper using fuser oil and heat. The consistency in printing will thus be achieved based on how evenly the fusion of the toner happened on the paper. This calls for great caution when using large solids in designs since there are no guarantees that there will be evenness when the design is finally pushed through the printer.
If, however, you have to use large solids, there are some methods you can use to counter the uneven appearance characteristic of the toner- based printers. For instance, you can apply a filter to large solids, or you can break up large color areas using other design elements such as images, texts, illustrations, etc. In this manner, the large solids will not appear unevenly when the design project is finally printed.
Watch out for the folds
Another great print design tip which you should always have in mind is to watch out for the folds. Since toner is infused into the paper unlike ink which is absorbed by the paper, there is a high likelihood of cracking to occur along the folds. Rules, thin lines, and headline text across a fold may be okay, but if you have to use heavy coverage in the design, then it will be imperative for you to score the sheet before folding.
Variable Text Field
If you are working on a VDP project, take note of the longest word in the text fields while working on containers for holding variable data. Think about odd word breaks, and feel free to test some data randomly so that you know whether or not they will be switched in the designing when making the final print.
There are still lots of other factors worth considering when dealing with print designs. These tips should however be sufficient enough to point you towards the right direction so that you make great designs which will look awesome in print. Don’t suffer the pain of working out an entire project only to be disappointed at the printer.