Taking designs to print

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Taking a design to print can make or break your design. Quality of finished product is everything, so in this blog, we’re going to look at the things to consider when choosing a printer to turn your design into reality. What are my choices? Print providers can offer you different types of printing processes to produce your print product. Depending on the paper stock you choose you will have different options of the print process. The common types are:
  • Digital printing – This method uses digitally controlled ink droplets or toner and writes four colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) in sequence to create the finished image.
  • Lithographic printing – Lithographic printing uses a plate that is covered in ink of eth four process colours and each is pressed against the paper in sequence to create the final image
  • Large format printing – These printers are capable of printing on rolls wide paper stock of over 18”. Some printers can print up to 100” in width
  • Screen printing – This method of printing uses a mesh (this used to be silk but is now synthetic) called a screen. Over this fabric, a thin sheet of plastic is applied with holes cut in it to allow ink to pass through the screen onto the material being printed on.
  Choosing paper stock What type of paper you print makes all the difference. Something to consider is a paperweight. This is defined by gsm (grams per square metre). An 80gsm paper is the weight of normal photocopier paper, heavy cardboard is 400gsm. You will also have the option of whether the paper is coated or plain. This stunning design by Pearlfisher London uses coated paper and creates a glossy finish although by using plain paper, a matt finish would be achieved. Colours will reproduce differently on different paper stock, so it is an idea to consult a Pantone colour guide to see exactly how your colours will look when printed.   Resolution When creating a PDF for print make sure you set the settings to high-quality print. This ensures the resolution is set to 300dpi, which is required for high-quality print. Also, make sure all your images in your document are 300dpi. Most images for the web are 72 dpi and will not reproduce well in print. They will appear pixelated. The last thing you want is for your print product to look like the pictures were produced on a Sinclair Spectrum (kids ask your parents/grandparents)   Proofing Good quality printers will let you see a proof of your product before you commit to production. This is always a good move. I used to work for a furniture company that produced 17 million catalogues every two months. When we were choosing printers we got proofs from all of them and we could compare colour depth, quality and registration quality. Make sure the same machine is used for proofing as the one that is used for production. I worked for a newspaper and we always wondered why the colours didn’t look like the proofs we received. It tuned out they had a proofing machine that was completely separate, used a different print process and had no relation to the machine they printed the newspapers on.   Hopefully, this blog will open your eyes to some things to consider when choosing a printer. I like to choose a high-quality printer when I’m getting my designs put into print. Having someone reliable and flexible to your needs is as important as your design skills in creating a great product.  

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