Fantastic poster prints don’t just happen. A lot of thought and hard work go into this process. Whether you choose offset printing or you are interested in other methods and techniques, it is important to understand what is needed for posters that are vibrant and highly appealing. This comprehensive guide can help you get posters that rock instead of prints that flop.
Use CMYK for Your Poster Prints Instead of RGB
Any design for poster prints needs to use CMYK, or 4 color process, instead of the standard red, green, and blue, or RGB. Computer monitors, scanners, and digital cameras utilize RGB, but during the RGB to CMYK conversion process some colors will not be reflected with perfect accuracy. It is better to start off using the CMYK color scheme from the beginning so no conversion is needed.
The initials CMYK refer to the four ink colors used in printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The letter K is used for black because it is considered the Key color since it is the strongest and used to add depth and weight to images.
Offset Printing Can Produce Incredibly Clear Images
The use of offset printing can give you posters that contain crisp and clear images that are reproduced down to the smallest detail, but this method may be a little more costly and not every printer may offer this process. If your images must be perfect every time then the offset process may be the best choice, and most printers can offer this or refer you to someone who can.
If you plan on printing images where the finest quality is a must then digital printing may not be sufficient. You may need to find a professional who specializes in offset printing instead.
From our article, Is Your Printer Capable of Printing Images that Pop? 10 Ways to Tell! Click here for the complete article.
The Right Resolution is Critical
If you want top quality poster prints, then using the right resolution is extremely important. A print file can be enormous, and a low resolution could cause the printer to send back your file so that it can be altered to meet the resolution specifications. A minimum of 300 Dots Per Inch, or DPI, should be used for print files so that your final products are not blurry or pixelated.
In the old days, (the 1990s) when scanning became widely available, 300 dpi was a good starting point because many, many books and documents did not contain more detail than that, and even today, 300 dpi is a good starting point.
Source: The Library of Congress
Poster Size Does Matter so Choose Wisely
It is possible to get poster prints in a wide variety of sizes, and this is true whether you use digital, home or offset printing. Every printer will have standard sizes offered, and these can range from 18” X 11” or smaller to 27” X 40” or even bigger. You want posters that fit well in their intended locations, and you may want more than one size for different display areas.
Digital, Litho, or Home Printing?
Home printing for poster prints may be fine for a third grade event or elementary school display but this method has no place in the business world. Litho printing uses plates to transfer images, and it can provide a high quality but the effort and cost for the project will usually increase because the plates must be produced before the printing can start.
Fine art posters are produced by the offset process as well, but more care is taken in their creation.
Digital printing is often less expensive than offset printing or litho methods, and the materials can usually be delivered faster because there is less set up time before the process is started and finished materials are available. Deciding between the different methods offered by a printer may come down to your budget and the amount of time you have until the materials are needed.
Consider the Bleed and Trim Factors
Bleed and trim both need to be considered when you are designing poster prints. Bleed refers to around 3-5mm that surrounds the edge of the poster. Trim refers to the outer edge of the finished prints. Make sure that all of the text, images, and other elements of your poster are positioned so they are not affected by bleed or trim. Stay within 1/8 inch of the edges.
Always Check Fonts and Spelling before Printing Starts
Before you give the okay to start the printing process for your poster prints make sure you do a final review to double check everything. Look at the fonts, images, and even element sizes to ensure these are accurate. Use Spellcheck as well, a single misspelled word can turn a fantastic poster into a complete failure that is unusable and a waste of time and money.
What advice can you share on getting great poster prints?