When having your photos or artwork printed, it’s not enough to just hit “Print” and hope for the best. The resolution of your finished image is probably the most important aspect of producing a high quality print. You have probably heard the terms DPI or PPI from your local print shop and thought they were speaking another language. The truth is, these initialisms are relatively simple concepts that, once learned, will help you become the master of your own destiny in print and on the web. Here are some quick definitions:
DPI vs PPI
Though the terms DPI and PPI are often used interchangeably, they actually have a very subtle but important difference.
DPI stands for “Dots per Inch”, and refers specifically to the number of dots in a printed inch (versus on the screen). The more dots that are packed into a square inch the better the detail and sharpness.
PPI means “Pixels per Inch” and is most commonly used when talking about the pixel density of a digital screen (monitors, phones, etc.).
Resolution is the measure of the number of pixels in a display, measured in width and length (1920px x 1080px, for example). The higher the resolution, the more detail, and the higher the DPI the higher the resolution.
Print vs. Web
For printing, your images need to be at least 300dpi if you are looking for the best quality. Depending on the size of your finished piece, you could go down to 150dpi if necessary, but never lower. 150dpi is typically acceptable for banners or oversize posters, since they will be viewed from a distance so the the printed dots don’t need to be packed so tightly. Anything that will be viewed up close should be 300+ dpi.
On the web, DPI doesn’t really apply. The resolution of your image is most important. Remember, the larger the better! You can always reduce an image’s size without affecting the quality, but you can NEVER increase it’s size without some loss in clarity.
These are just the basics, and there is a ton nuance in preparing files for print and web; but these tips should put you on the right track to getting beautiful images in any format. If you need any help or have any questions about DPI or PPI, just let us know! We’d love to help you take the mystery out of your files.
It can sometimes be hard to get what you are expecting out of your print project. When you are designing your files and documents, you aren’t necessarily worrying about what will happen when you hit “Print” at the end. Rightly so, as you are designing visually and you’re only point of reference is what your eyes are seeing at the moment, that is, what is on the screen.
Even if all of your text looks correct, and those pictures appear perfectly placed and color corrected, surprises can still jump out to get you when you submit your file for printing. This short guide on preparing files for print will give you some of the basic pitfalls to be on the look-out for, and help you to save your files into a format that EVERY print shop or vendor can handle.
RGB vs. CMYK
Probably the most underestimated factor in printing your project is its color space. The screen you are looking at right now is displaying colors in the RGB (RedGreenBlue) color space. It is mixing those three colors in different ways to achieve the 16 million+ colors your monitor/screen can display. That’s great for photographs, bright colors, dark blacks, and bright whites. When you open up Microsoft Word, for example, any colors you choose are based on this RGB gamut. So that hot pink color you chose for the birthday invitation you’re working on look great on the screen, but when you get the finished piece back from the printer, something is amiss…
Most printing services can’t use the RGB color space when putting ink to paper. They use CMYK (CyanMagentaYellowBlacK), which is a combination of 4 colors to achieve a more muted color gamut.
It’s best to start your project using CMYK, that way, you’ll get a more accurate representation of the final colors when they are printed. You won’t have the option in Word, but Publisher will let you choose CMYK colors, and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop let you pick the color gamut of your choice at the very beginning of a new project. Click here if you want to learn more about the technical side of RGB vs. CMYK.
No One Told Me There Would be Fractions
When placing your order for postcards or flyers, you may have come across the terms “4/4”, or “Four over Four”. Don’t worry, there’s no math involved, it’s just a term to describe the number of colors printed on each side of a two-sided piece. 4 process colors (CMYK) on side A, and 4 process colors on side B. You may also see “4/1”, “4/0”, or even “1/1”. The “1” refers to one color, typically black, and the “0” means that the piece is single-sided. See? Easy-peasy.
BLEED and You
Cut Edge: This line represents the finished cut edge of the piece.
Live Area (Safe Zone): The area that is considered safe to keep information or important elements within. For example, if the trim size is 3.5in × 2 in, the live area might be 3.25 in × 1.75 in.
Bleed Area & Edge: The more bleed, the better. This area is the overage you need to provide if the color of your design goes all the way to the edge. Keep in mind anything in this area will be cut off, but you need something here so you don’t get white space at the edge of your finished card. Printers tend to shift minutely when printing, so not every sheet is always perfectly aligned, this extra space accounts for that shift.
The absolute minimum bleed you need for a printed piece is 0.125 in (1/8 in) per edge but some pieces require more than that. So if you are working with an image in Photoshop or Illustrator and placing it in InDesign for print preparation, keep in mind the area you might need to use for the bleed. It’s a little more difficult in Word and Publisher, but it can be accomplished.
Crop Marks: Indicates where the print shop with cut the paper to create the finished piece.
PDF – The File’s the Thing
Once you’ve finished for piece for printing, you’ll need to get the file safely over to your printer of choice. You could just send them the Illustrator, Photoshop, or Word file, but you may be surprised at the final result. If you are using a font that the printer doesn’t have, or if your images aren’t embedded into your file correctly, the layout of your file could change drastically when the file is opened on another computer. Your computer is your home base: it’s got all of your settings, fonts, and preferences. But when your file leaves your home base sometimes all of those settings and assets can stay behind. To ensure that everything you are seeing on your monitor at home matches what your local print shop is seeing, you’ll need to compile your file into one need little package. That package is a PDF.
In Illustrator or Photoshop
You can just choose the PDF file format from a drop-down menu when you save the file, then you’re done. Send that PDF to the printer and they’ll see what you see.
Publisher offers a handy Pack-and-Go feature to prepare your file for commercial printing. It creates a print-ready PDF for you in seconds.
Word also has an export feature that lets you create a PDF.
You’re versions of these programs may differ, but the option to create a PDF should be found in similar places. Look for “Export” or “Save as” if your screen looks different from the images above.
After you’ve created your PDF file, open it up and verify that it looks like you meant for it to look, then send it over to us for output. Looking good!
When it comes to your business, marketing can often seem like magic or some other dark art: it’s hard to describe how to do it, but you’ll know the moment it works. As technology and new media are changing the way businesses interact with their customers so, too, must businesses change the way they market and promote their products.
This article by the Harvard Business Review suggests that the “why” of the product can ultimately be more important than the product itself.
We can help you sell those ideas and promote new “mental models” that will get your customers invested in what you are selling. New flyers, postcards, or even web graphics are a great way to get your ideas out into the world (real or digital), so don’t hesitate to call us and talk with one of our talented & professional designers today!
Does your storefront need a new look? Is your signage in need of some freshening up? We can help! Our designers are experts in re-branding and displays, so we will use that knowledge to spruce up your company’s outer image.
We recently updated the signage for local gourmet market and jelly kitchen, The Jelly Queens.
Signs and banners can make a huge impact to your visibility and memorability. The right logo and identity will stick with potential customers, long after they’ve seen it. It can be as simple as displaying a new banner or window graphic outside of your store or office. As evidenced by the Jelly Queens signs, sometimes a subtle update can make all the difference.
While our friends The Jelly Queens didn’t need logo help, if you’re considering a re-vamp to your brand why not study the comprehensive 2015 Logo Trend Report by LogoLounge for some ideas and inspiration?
Just because summer is coming and you’d rather be on the beach than in the office, it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of paper goods you’ll need over the next few months. Between birthdays, weddings, and graduation parties, there are plenty of opportunities to impress the people in your life with high-quality invitations, cards, and printing. Don’t hesitate to give us a call when you need help planning your summer vacation printing. We can walk you through the entire process from idea to finished product, and you won’t even break a sweat. Most people think of creating photo books or collages at the end of the year during the holiday season, but why waste all those great shots you took during the summer?
Sunshine, road trips, beaches, water parks…you’ll have plenty of fun photos to share at the end of the summer.
After you’re back home from your summer vacation, you can bring us all of those photos and let us turn them into album or photo collage. They will look great in your scrapbook, or in a frame on your desk back at the office.
Here’s a great article with tips on taking the perfect travel photo during your summer trip!
Many of the local schools are finishing up the year soon, and that means it is time to celebrate! Have a student who is finishing up their High School years? Let the experienced designers at P&B Print help you get those invites out for your special student’s big day and celebration. Even if you find an example of one you like, but are not sure how to make it: stop on by and let us help you design invites that will WOW friends and family.
Have a local sports team in their finals? P&B Print has been helping make team books and awards ceremony brochures for years! Contact us to get some info on how we can help design and print a great looking booklet for your special event. We have helped organizations such as Round Rock Dragons Football, El Amistad Scholarships, and are currently working with the Round Rock Lacrosse team on hosting their tournament finals booklet! At graduation time or any occasion, we are your best local Print shop and Graphic Design studio.
Got a special event or significant other coming up for Valentines Day? Everyone appreciates a heartfelt card on Valentine’s Day, and the team at P&B Print has plenty of experience making designs and prints to bring out the best in the holiday. We can help you design and create anything from an office giveaway item to special custom valentine cards for your sweetie. Contact us today to start the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday. Even if you don’t know where to start, we can come up with the perfect sentiment for any occasion!
Struggling for the perfect sentiment to combine with our design? Here are some ideas from the company that practically invented the greeting card. After you’ve narrowed down what you want to say, our designers can help turn words into art!
Have spring trade shows coming up, or just want to have some hand out items for the office? P&B Print offers a huge selection of products that incorporate YOUR logo. Recently we have done large scale retractable posters, vinyl banners, koozies, flyers, brochures, business cards, post cards and more for our client’s upcoming trade shows. Contact us to get a hold of our experienced Graphic Designers who can help you create a great look for your upcoming event. Visit our Promotional Product Site to browse our thousands of items from Pens, Koozies, Bags, Bottles, Hats, Shirts and much much more! Get the most out of your marketing at the spring trade shows with Promo items today!
Do you have an example of an invite you would like to produce? Or have an idea for Custom Invites, Cards, and Envelopes all your own? The Graphic Design team at P&B Print can help you make your dream become reality! Contact us to set up an appointment with one of our experienced designers and create something uniquely yours! We are more than just a printer, we are your spot for creative and innovative design!
Even if you find a pre-made design on Etsy and would like it printed, we are more than happy to help you pick out the best paper and finish for your special event. Experience matters, and our team has years of printing and design experience to make sure your occasion shines. Remember P&B Print is your best local Personal and Business Printing Company, serving the Round Rock, Georgetown, Hutto, Pflugerville and North Austin communities for 15 years!
Quality Printing is important in providing your company’s image. Our local Round Rock Print Shop excels at bringing you the best quality material and printed pieces. Don’t be fooled by the hype you receive from a Print Broker or Online Advertisements. P&B Print offers better than the inexpensive products you get with the online super deals. We offer Full Color Business Cards printed on 16pt Cover as well as the new Silk Laminated Business Cards with Spot UV. Stay ahead of the curve with top of the line products!
P&B Print and Design Studio is among the most technologically advanced print and web graphic design firms in Round Rock, Texas. We keep up to date on the latest technologies, assuring your projects are as cost-effective as they are professionally executed. We are experts in Adobe’s Print and New Media suites including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and can handle your projects in the software package you’re most comfortable working with. When you’re ready to work with Round Rock’s most advanced and professional print and graphic design professionals, give P&B Print a call! Visit our Facebook page to see more examples of our quality printing!