There’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding in your hands the final printed product of your hard work. But getting to that point can be tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with the technical aspects of printing.
You could spend hours — maybe even days — researching printing techniques and figuring out exactly what to do. But why waste time? Get it right the first time by reading our ultimate guide to getting professional printing results. This guide breaks down all the steps you need to take from start to finish, from pre-press preparation, to working with a professional printer, and even how to store and ship your final printed project.
We’ll show you everything you need know about setting yourself up for success when it comes to professional printing — without ever having to set foot in a print shop. So buckle up and let’s dive into it!
Preparing Your Design for Printing:
Ready to get started on your project? The first step in ensuring professional printing results is preparing your design properly.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Check your resolution: Your design should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) so that it prints clearly and crisply.
- Select the right format: Most printing companies require vector files like EPS, PDF, or AI, as these are easier to edit and will give you the best prints.
- Use the correct colors: Make sure you use Pantone colors for brand consistency and accuracy—otherwise, RGB and CMYK colors don’t always render perfectly on paper.
- Double check bleeds and margins: Make sure your design has a 1/8″ bleed on all sides to ensure that color reaches the edge of the page without leaving any white borders. In addition, add a margin of at least 1/4″ away from the edge of your design so important elements don’t end up getting trimmed off.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to printing stunning designs!
Choosing the Right Materials:
When it comes to getting professional-looking printing results, materials are every bit as important as the technology. Whether you’re printing on paper, plastic, or fabric, choosing the right material can make all the difference.
Here are some printing tips for ensuring you pick the right materials for your print job:
- Consider whether you need the item to be waterproof, pliable, or durable. Different materials have unique properties that make them better suited for certain applications.
- Select a material that is compatible with your printer and ink type. Not all materials are suitable for all printers, so make sure you do your research.
- Check the weight and thickness of your material—heavy card stock may need additional support from a stable surface to prevent jamming.
- Choose a material that matches the quality of your print job—you don’t want an expensive print on cheap paper!
By picking the best materials and setting up your printer correctly, you’re well on your way to achieving top-notch results with every print job.
Different Printing Techniques and What Works Best:
When printing professionally, it pays to know a bit about the different printing techniques available. The type of printing you choose will depend on the material you’re printing, the quality of the end-result, and your budget.
Offset printing is one of the most popular techniques for professional printing projects. It’s typically used for newspapers, books, magazines and other large-scale projects and involves two cylinders that transfer ink or other pigment to a rubber-blanketed cylinder before going onto the paper or other material. This method is good for large-volume prints and produces consistent results.
Digital printing has become increasingly popular because it’s fast and perfect for small-volume jobs like brochures, flyers and business cards. This method works much like a standard desktop printer by using toner cartridges with powdered ink pigments that get heated up before being applied to the surface. The results are sharp, crisp images with plenty of detail – just what you want when printing items with lettering or logo designs!
No matter which technique you choose, make sure to work with an experienced printer who knows their stuff. They can help ensure you get excellent results while avoiding any pitfalls along the way!
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Printing:
When you’re printing something, a lot can go wrong. To prevent that from happening and make sure you get the most professional results possible, here are some common mistakes to avoid when printing.
Paper quality can make a huge difference in the finished product. Stick to higher-quality paper stock whenever possible, and make sure the size of the paper sheet is appropriate for the project. Low-quality or mismatched papers can lead to blurry or smudged prints, not to mention a less-than-professional looking product.
Resolution is important when it comes to printed images—the higher the resolution, the clearer your image will be. To ensure you get optimal results, it’s best to choose high-resolution images and ensure they are properly sized for your project before printing.
A bleed is an extension of an image beyond its designated boundaries—it’s what covers any errors in cutting after it’s been printed. Without a bleed, some part of your image might appear cut off at the edges and ruin your graphics. Always check your print design for bleeds and adjust accordingly before sending off for printing.
Proofreading is one of those things we often forget about—or simply don’t do—but it can have a big impact on how your final printed piece looks. Take time to read through your material carefully before sending it off for printing; typos or other errors may be magnified when they show up in print form, so catching them sooner rather than later could save you from embarrassment down the line!
Tips for Choosing the Right Printer:
No matter if you’re printing photos or documents, a good printer is essential for achieving the professional results you want. But with so many choices, how do you know which printer to get?
When considering print quality, pay attention to resolution and ink types. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi) and this number is important because it determines how sharp your prints will be. You also need to check out the type of ink: dye-based inks are more vibrant, but more prone to fading over time than pigment-based ones.
Speed and cost:
How fast do you need prints? Faster printers cost more, but if speed isn’t an issue for you, then you can save money by opting for slower models. Also consider how much it costs to replace ink—modern printers tend to use less ink per page than older models, so that’s something you should keep in mind when comparing features.
Another cost factor is paper quality. While good paper can make a great difference in print results, there’s no point in splurging on expensive paper if your printer isn’t able to handle it properly. So check the manufacturer’s guidelines first before investing in high-quality paper stock!
By considering these factors and doing a bit of research on the various options available, you’ll be able to find the right printer that meets your needs and budget.
The Importance of Color Calibration:
Color calibration is one of the most important steps when it comes to getting professional printing results. Poorly calibrated colors can lead to results that are drastically different from your digital design. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to calibrate color settings before you print.
Calibrating your colors correctly ensures that you get consistent, accurate color output every time, so your prints look as good as your digital designs. And while getting a professional printer to calibrate your colors is ideal, there are some steps you can take yourself to ensure proper color calibration:
- Choose the right color profile for your project – this will depend on the type of paper and printer you’re using, as well as what type of results you want.
- Set your resolution – this should be appropriate for the size and quality of your project.
- Check that all colors in the document are consistent across different areas of design – this will ensure that any existing differences won’t be exaggerated by printing.
- Adjust paper settings accordingly – these settings should offer the best possible results when combined with the other settings you’ve chosen for optimal color accuracy.
Taking these steps will help ensure that you get professional printing results every time and that all of your colors come out as accurately and vibrant as possible!
Professional printing doesn’t need to be intimidating or expensive. With a bit of research, a good eye, and a few simple tricks, you can get superior printed results that will wow your customers.
From selecting the right paper to optimizing the design, and from choosing the right finishing options to perfecting your printing technique, getting professional printing results is within reach. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have no problem turning out prints that look sharp and will stand the test of time.