Designing for Print in CMYK: 10 Essential Tips

Source: Elevate Printing

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tom Walker of Franking Machine Cartridges

There is a difference between printing your designs for the web and using them in print advertising. You might have noticed that none of your monitors show the exact same colors as what ends up on the page. You need to take your paper and registration into consideration. Here are some tips which will help you create that perfect CMYK design.

1. Paper is Really Important

Determine what type of paper you will be using for your project very early in the process. Learn about the saturation levels of ink that your paper can receive. For instance, there is a dramatic contrast between newspaper and semi gloss. Learn a little bit more about paper types.

2. Perform Pre-flight Processes

Make sure that everything is available for your printer. You need to make sure that they have access to your images, fonts and file associations. The picture that you changed in one part of the brochure might need to be changed in another. Print out the document in house to look for obvious corrections which need to be made.

3. Talk With the Printer

Printers are a source for information about what works and what does not. They have the experience that it takes to make your job go smoothly, and the good printers will talk about their experiences. Once you have decided on a paper early in the process, talk with your printer to find out about their suggestions. They might be able to offer solutions.

4. Look at Some Swatches

Before settling on a layout, look at some swatches for the colors that you are envisioning. These swatches are the same kind that you will find for paint in a home improvement store, except these are for Pantone colors. Your monitor will be great for giving you a general idea of color, but it will not be accurate for your printing.

5. Use the Right Software

Photoshop and GIMP shine for creating and touching up your photos, but they are not as proficient at creating magazines, newsletters and brochures. Choose a program which is up to the task, like Adobe InDesign, Scribus or OpenOffice Draw. You will be able to capitalize on the strengths of each type of program, allowing you to perform your duties as a designer faster and more efficiently.

6. Proof (and Proof Again)

Make sure that your printer provides a proof of your finished document before the bulk of the printing is completed. That proof protects both you and the printer. You are able to see what your piece will look like. Your printer is giving you their set of expectations for the work.

7. Use Only Real Fonts

Some designers will use graphics design programs to create italicized and bold words. If you have not selected a scalable font with italics or bold lettering, there may be some deviations from your expectations. This will probably force you to change the design in some way. It is easier to begin with the correct font.

8. Solids

Some printers handle solid colors badly. They will add stripes or other unwanted printing flavor do your document. When you are designing your document for printing, a little bit of color goes a long way.

9. Use RGB Colors for Photoshop Images

RGB images are faster to render, and are easier to use for your on-screen design. The images that you create are also only part of the story, since you will be adding layers of text and other design work to your finished piece. Every program allows you to easily flatten your layers into the CMYK format.

10. Choose the Correct Profile

Adobe has tested quite a number of the popular papers for their abilities to take ink. They have created profiles which you can use to get the most out of your printing. By choosing the right profile for your endeavor, you are maximizing your printing as well as making being more efficient with the process.

The printing world is quite a change from the online world. There is nothing quite so exhilarating as to be able to see and feel your documents. Here’s to your having the perfect prints!


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