“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” Oscar Wilde couldn’t have said it better. Even in business, we can learn from our errors. With printing mistakes, it is easy to avoid them and have impressive results with your printed materials.
Many printing mistakes are made time and time again, even though they can be avoided with a little research and knowledge. Before you order any printing for the first time, it is best to know where the pitfalls lie and how to avoid them. Being forewarned is being prepared, and avoiding the mistakes below can help you avoid wasting time and money in the future.
10 Common Printing Mistakes
- Not Enough Bleed
One of the printing mistakes that is made by a large number of people each year is not allowing enough bleed in the design. The bleed is the artwork which goes past the document edges. You should allow at least 3 mm for bleed, and if you have large format items then you will want to allow even more bleed room because of the larger size.
Improper design of full bleed is a leading cause of printing delays. However, with today’s modern techniques and software like Adobe InDesign it is easy to set guides for trim and bleed.
InDesign offers bleed guides on the pasteboard. To add a bleed guide in the New Document dialog box, click More Options to see the Bleed and Slug guide options.
- Using Images that don’t Convert to CMYK
Always make sure that any images used will convert to CMYK. This is one of the most easily avoided printing mistakes you can make. If you are not sure what is required this can be discussed with the printing company that you will be working in. You may need to convert certain files if exact color matching is desired.
- Spelling Errors
Errors in spelling are much more common than you might imagine. We all make a mistake in spelling once in a while, however this is a big no-no when you are creating business or marketing materials because it calls your professionalism into question. If you can’t be bothered to double check your materials consumers may not trust you with their business.
Spelling and grammar gaffes are sometimes easy to miss. A second and even third set of eyes to review and proof copy for print is always recommended.
- Improper Image Resolution
Improper image resolution is another one of the most common printing mistakes made due to inexperience. If you use a resolution that is too low, your images will not be crisp, clear, and high quality. A minimum image resolution of 300-400 ppi should be used if you want the best looking images and graphics with your items.
…Apple claims that human vision is only capable of resolving 326…There is a lot of quibbling about that number but most still claim not more than 450 ppi.
Source: Library of Congress
- Saving Images as Color when they are Black and White
Some printing mistakes occur because of color variations and file save methods. If you want to include black and white images then do NOT save these as color images. These images may receive color during the printing process if they are not properly identified, saved, or converted. Discuss your color needs with the printer before printing is started.
- Using the Wrong File Formats for Printing
One important consideration is the file formats that are used, and this is an area where many printing mistakes occur. For print projects, avoid the .png and .gif file formats. These are formats that are on screen only, and they do not translate well to the print process. Both the formats will handle 72 ppi, but the ppi needs to be much higher for a print file.
- Poor Design
A poor design will lead to a poor finished item. If you are not willing to go to the trouble and expense of coming up with an exceptional design then why bother? There are plenty of bad designs already out there. Put in the time and money to get a top-notch design. This will help you get better results and ensure that your printed items are appealing and effective.
Always test out more than one graphic design version before you start a full scale marketing campaign.
From our article, 12 Tips for Designing Direct Mail that Pops. Read the complete article here.
- Not Using Quiet Borders
One of the printing mistakes that you can avoid when you know about it is not using quiet borders. These borders are similar to buffer zones, and they should be a minimum of 5 mm from the document edge. No text or other defined elements should be placed in a quiet border. Sometimes a little space is needed to prevent the material from looking crowded.
- Hard to Read Text
Text readability is extremely important to your final printed project. Avoid low contrast text and backgrounds. Line spacing is also important. Crowded lines of text are difficult to read and often drive away readers. Hard to read font choices can also alienate readers.
Readability is enhanced by selecting common type faces, such as Helvetica, Times, Garamond and Univers, to name just a few.
Source: Western Michigan University
- Using the Wrong Printing Company
One of the worst printing mistakes that you can make is using the wrong printing company. The Internet is full of horror stories about unprofessional printers and botched orders. Take the time to evaluate and compare several printers unless you already have one that you trust completely. Make an informed decision instead of acting on a hunch or using the first printer that you find.
Now that you know some common printing mistakes, let Las Vegas Color Graphics get started with your printing project. With decades of experience, we will help you have mistake-free results.