Print Design Guide

Common Mistakes in Print Design

Everyone makes mistakes but Service Printers is dedicated to informing our customers about the design and printing process so you will always have a great printed product. Avoid the following common pitfalls when designing your brochure, business card, flyer, or any other printed project.

No Bleed

Be sure you extend images 0.375″ beyond the final trim edge. For more information on this see our Trimming Guidelines

Correct Incorrect
Correct Bleed Incorrect Bleed
The background image is extended to the Bleed Edge (blue line) The background image is NOT extended to the Bleed Edge (blue line)

Not in the Safe Zone

Text and other important elements like logos should be placed no closer to the Trim Edge than 0.375″. For more information on this see our Trimming Guidelines

Correct Incorrect
Correct Bleed Incorrect Bleed
The text is kept within the Safe Edge (orange line) The text is NOT kept within the Safe Edge (orange line)

Low Resolution

The resolution for anything that is to be printed should be at least 300dpi. Anything less than this could result in pixelated images and fuzzy text. Images captured from the web are highly discouraged.

Correct Incorrect
Correct Bleed Incorrect Bleed
The resolution is set at 300 pixels/inch The resolution is set below 300 pixels/inch

Borders

If you use borders they should be within the Safe Edge, or thick enough to extend all the way from the Safe Edge out to the Bleed Edge. This will ensure the border is not trimmed off.

Correct Incorrect
Correct Bleed Incorrect Bleed
The purple border has been placed within the Safe Edge (orange line) The purple border has been thickened and extended from within the Safe Edge (orange line) to the Bleed Edge (blue line)
Incorrect
Incorrect Border Placement
The purple border has been placed outside the Safe Edge (orange line)

Designed in RGB

Designing in RGB is only appropriate for graphics that will only be displayed on screen, for example images designed for a website. When designing for print you should always convert your images to CMYK.

To create a new file in CMYK mode:

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Click File > New…
  2. Set the size of your image, then select “CMYK Color” from the Color Mode drop-down menu. Make sure your resolution is set at least 300 pixels/inch.

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Click File > New…
  2. If Advanced Options are not visible, click the arrow next to “Advanced” at the bottom of the window
  3. For Color Mode, select CMYK

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign defaults to a CMYK color profile. There is no need to convert your InDesign document to CMYK or to set a color mode when creating the file. However, you should make sure the working CMYK profile is set to U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. Do this by:

  1. Click Edit > Convert to Profile…
  2. Under “Destination Space” select U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) V2 in the CMYK Profile drop-down menu

To CONVERT a file to CMYK after it’s been designed in RGB:

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Click Edit > Convert to Profile…
  2. Under “Destination Space” select “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Click Edit > Assign Profile
  2. Select “Profile” and in the drop-down menu select “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign defaults to a CMYK color profile. There is no need to convert your InDesign document to CMYK or to set a color mode when creating the file. However, you should make sure the working CMYK profile is set to U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. Do this by:

  1. Click Edit > Convert to Profile…
  2. Under “Destination Space” select U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) V2 in the CMYK Profile drop-down menu
Correct Incorrect
Correct Bleed Incorrect Bleed
The file is being created in CMYK The file is being created in RGB

Text not converted to outlines or rasterized

When text is created in Photoshop or Illustrator they should be flattened. In Illustrator this is called “Create Outlines” and in Photoshop it is “Rasterize Type.” Text is no longer editable, but errors related to missing fonts when sending files to your printer are eliminated. You can also create outlines from text in InDesign, however this is not necessary if you Package your file before sending it to the Printer.

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Select the text layer in the Layers Palette
  2. Click Layer > Rasterize > Type OR right-click on the text layer and select “Rasterize Type”
  3. It is highly recommended you Save As… to a different file name after you create outlines as you will no longer be able to edit any of the text.

Adobe Illustrator

  1. Select the text box
  2. Click Layer > Create Outlines
  3. It is highly recommended you Save As… to a different file name after you create outlines as you will no longer be able to edit any of the text.

Adobe InDesign

It is not necessary to Create Outlines from text in InDesign if you Package the file (an InDesign tool that collects all fonts and linked images into one easy-to-send folder for your Printer).

 

 

Trimming Guidelines

Service Printers strives to produce 100% accurate products. However, as with any mechanical process there are tolerances that should be taken into account. When building your file, please follow the guidelines below to ensure your project is printed correctly.

The Green line represents the trim edge (or final size). The Blue line represents the bleed edge and the Orange line represents the Save Zone

Trim Edge

This is the edge of the final printed product.

Bleed Edge

Images should be pushed out to the Bleed Edge, 0.375″ past the trim edge on every side.

Safe Edge

Text and other important elements should be placed within the Safe Edge which is .0375″ inside the Trim Edge. This will ensure that no text is cut off due to variation in the trimming process.

Examples

Correct

The background image has been extended 0.375″ past the Trim Edge and the text is within the Safe Edge.

Correct Business Card

Incorrect

The background image has not been extended to the Bleed Edge. This could result in strips of white around the edges of the business card.

Incorrect Business Card - the background image has not been extended to the Bleed Edge

Incorrect

The text has not been kept within the Safe Edge. This could result in text being cut off due to tolerances during trimming.

Incorrect Business Card - Text has not been kept inside the Safe Edge. This could result in text being cut off during trimming