How to Prepare Your Project for Printing
Here is a quick checklist for prepping your files for print:
Make sure all of your images are at least 300 dpi (dots-per-inch). For best print results, 300 dpi is recommended. If your images are at a lower resolution, they may print blurry and pixelated. For example, if your jpg is 900 pixels wide by 1200 pixels wide, it is sized to print 3" x 4" (Take the number of pixels and divide by 300 to get your output size).
- File Size & Project Dimensions
Make sure your file is sized correctly for output. If you are printing 8"x10", you'll want to make sure your file is sized that way.
Whenever possible, ensure you are using CMYK color space for optimal color output. Our equipment can make this conversion for you in most cases, but to ensure the best output, send your files in CMYK. Learn more
- Crop Marks
Not all files will require crop marks. Crop Marks are typically required if you are sending your file already imposed. If you are sending it this way, crop marks should be offset from the finished image by 1/8".
- Bleed & Safe Zones
If images or colors bleed, be sure to include 1/8" bleed on all sides. For example, a full bleed business card would be 2.25" x 3.75". Your project needs bleed if the print needs to extend to the edge of the project/page (e.g. no white border). Also be cautious of the "Safe Zone" on any project involving cutting... make sure any text or other item you don't want to have cut is at least 1/8" in from the trim line. Learn more
- Spell Check
Be sure to run spell check before converting your file. It is always a good idea to have a second (or third) pair of eyes proofread your project.
When possible, send your pdf document with outlined fonts, or flattened. If you are sending a Word Doc, Publisher, Illustrator, Photoshop or inDesign File, it is important to also send us any font files we might need.
- Image Content
Be sure you are not using any copyrighted images (e.g. anything you do not have permission to print/use that is owned by someone else). This can vary from images you "found on Google", well known licensed characters such as Spongebob or Winnie the Pooh, to images from professional photographers like Beltrami Studios. If it has a "watermark" on it, odds are you don't have permission to print the file. To be safe, you can purchase images from stock image web sites like bigstockphoto or crestock. If you are using a photo from a professional photographer, be sure you have written permission to print the image. CW Print + Design staff will not print your project if you are using illegal images! Learn More about Copyright.
- File Type
For best results, send your file as a print-ready pdf (Portable Document File). Adobe PDFs are a universal file format that can be viewed on virtually every computer, regardless of fonts or software that might be installed on the computer. PDF is an ideal format for print documents as they will most accurately reflect the printed outcome. Depending on the software you are using to create your file, you can usually convert your file by looking for something that says "Save As" or "Export As" and setting the outputted file type to pdf. Some programs have a "Convert to Adobe PDF" button built in. You can also use a free pdf conversion software like PrimoPDF.
These are just basic guidelines. Always look at your files before you send them to print. When in doubt, please request to see a printed proof.