If you are looking for my postcard printing services, you need to use the right file layout. There are various ways in which the files for print should be prepared, covering the applications in the Adobe Creative Suite. The design tools such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign are similar and ensure similar processes. If you are starting out in the print design business and are looking forward to learn more about preparing files better to send to press, here is all the information you need to ask for. The first thing to get started about is to understand the basics. With most of the print jobs, there are certain guidelines that you need to follow. These specifications are required for preparing postcards, brochures, advertisements, business cards and other printed mediums.
PVC ID Cards
CMYK or RGB: There are a lot of colors that are created in the RGB mode, but cannot be achieved using the standard 4 color process printing. It is best for you to create your document from the start in the CMYK color mode in order to make sure that you have a thorough idea regarding how your colors are about to print. A few exceptions to the rule are large format prints or tradeshow signs, but the best way through which you can know for sure is by checking with your printer.
Four over Four (or 4/4): This is especially true for flyer printing. When you print 4/4, it essentially means that you are printing 4 color on the front and 4 on the back. If there is nothing on the back, it would be 4/0. For the postcards though, you could print 4/1 which means 4 color on the front and 1 spot color on the back. If it is a business card, you might have to print 2/2 or 2 spot colors in front and 2 on the back.
- Trim Line: It refers to the finished size of the piece.
- Live Area: This is the area in which it is entirely safe to contain any important information. For instance, if the trim size of your postcard is 4 X 5 inches, the live area could be 3.25 X 4.25 inches. It is inclusive of the binding in case the ad is placed to the right or left side of the postcard spread and you do not want to make the copy unreadable in case it is placed too close to the spine.
- Bleed Area: The more bleed you offer, the better it is. The minimal bleed that is required for a printed piece is 0.125 inches or 1/8 inches, although more is required in a few specifications. Hence, if you are working with an image in Photoshop and placing it in InDesign for print preparation, pay attention to the area that you might need to use for the bleed.
- Crop Marks: These indicate where you need to cut the paper.
Should You Use Packed/Rich Black or Black?
While undertaking my postcard printing project, it is important to consider which type of clack to use. There are generally 2 types available:
- Black – 100 K: This can be used for barcodes and body copy
- Rich Black – 40 C 40 M 40 Y 100 K: This can be used while using blocks of black.
The rich or packed black specifications might vary from one printer to another, so it is best to ask your printer for recommendations.
Rich Black vs. Black (100 K): It can be tough to tell the difference between black and rich black on your computer monitor depending on the type of monitor you have and its calibration as PC screens tend to show richer colors in the RGB mode. This is why it is wise to get a press proof while printing blocks of black. For preparing a file with UV varnish or coating, all that you are required to do is choose the text or image on which you want the varnish. If you want to keep your work organized, create a layer and a spot color that is called the spot or varnish.
After that, you need to make sure that the spot color that you create is not already used in the file. Add a fresh layer, duplicate the elements and apply the spot color to the elements on the new layer.
Extend the Design Elements into the Bleed Area
If you have a design that has type which is flush with the trim, you can rasterize the type and pull the paths out beyond the bleed. You can extend certain elements to the bleed area to make sure that the text is about to be printed just at the edge once the piece is trimmed by the printer. If that element is not extended to the bleed area, there might be a gap in the text at the edge of the printed material.
Use of Spot Color
- If you need more exact color matching or vibrant colors for consistent branding of your company than what is produced by the CMYK inks, choose PMS colors or spot colors.
- While doing spot colors in Photoshop, all the objects and type that are in the same color are merged on the same layer and named with the spot color in which they should be printed to make it clear to the printer.
- Provide a layered PSD or TIFF file and rasterize your type and vector layers. The method can also be applied to the files that are set up in Illustrator.
- Remove any unused colors before packaging file.
Check the fonts that have been used in the document in case you need to remove anything that has been saved on the pasteboard. If you want to show the errors like the RGB linked files, check the Show Problems Only option. Click the Package button if everything works fine. While you are collecting the native files for the packaged folder, make sure that the links are clicked on.
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