As an online printingcompany owner, I see firsthand the orders that come through from the web to print. It is amazing to see the wide spectrum of files that come through from novice to expert designers. It seems as though the majority of time spent on completing a printing order is on the design and setup process.

There are precise specifications for each printed project. For example, when designing a business card, flyer or anything else that requires a bleed off the edge (no white space) the file needs to be set up oversized. Most offset printing companies require a minimum of 1/8 inch over where you want to trim. This allows for enough room to trim all the way around the edge allowing the ink to bleed of the edge, and giving a nice professional look.

Another tip when designing projects to be printed is when you are using the color blue. I can’t tell you how many times we have printed a project with blue ink and it turns out looking purple. There is a reason for this and it is all in the design process. Blue is close to purple in the CMYK color spectrum, and it is very important to make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. Projects come through using 100% Cyan and 100% Magenta which on the computerscreen will appear to be blue. But, when printed through the offset process, the project may appear purple. The best solution would be to always use a low amount of Magenta whenever using high amounts of Cyan, example: C-100 M-70 Y-0 K-0.

The printing technology nowadays is unprecedented. The capabilities of these machines are out of this world. I am surprised when I see a project come in that has obviously not been designed by a professional. The printing costs are the same whether you design, or you have an experienced graphic designer do the work. Why spend the money on a project that is portraying your business as less professional? I am of the opinion that it is always better to spend a few extra dollars on design to maximize the impact of any printing project. In fact, some files that aren’t prepared correctly need to be corrected by the printer which there is usually always a fee, so in the end, it will benefit you to have it done right the first time.

Business is more competitive in a down economy. There is less to go around when people stop buying. So, if you are a company that advertises through flyers, door hangers, notepads or postcards-make sure to hire a graphic design professional for your printed projects. It just might be the difference between you getting the job or account versus your competitor.