Avoiding costly print production and graphic design mistakes

Common mistakes in print and production process.

Many designers with web design expertise are inexperienced in print production and lack understanding print process to design consistent visual system which includes web and print products. One of common mistakes is in hiring one firm to design branding and identity, while retaining another for website and third print marketing campaign. This approach is quite common and seemingly caries lower cost. In fact, cost can be as much as 100-200% higher or more compared to hiring one group with expertise in all areas. Moreover, mistakes are common and require project management by the client, who if not very proficient, may contribute to lack of common vision and disastrous results.

In any scenario, common misconceptions and mistakes, which marketing department must know regardless who is involved in active effort are:

  • You just can’t take any picture from anywhere and use in your website, print or marketing materials. All images must come from authorized libraries or sources provided by your designer ensuring no liability and copyright infringement. A wrongfully used image can lead to a law suit and costly liability for your company
  • You can’t use pictures from website in print. Be aware of resolution. Professional print minimum resolution is 300 dpi, anything less then 200 dpi will not look as sharp as typical print products unless it is a large format print where resolution from 72 dpi to 100 dpi may be acceptable
  • Remember difference between vector and bitmap art. Vector will print well in any resolution, bitmap won’t and can’t be scaled up without loss of resolution
  • Color modes are RGB for screen use and CMYK or PMS for print. Designers use PMS and CMYK swatch books to specify colors accurately, so do print shops. Either PMS or CMYK colors will not show correctly on your screen. Only way to see how colors will reproduce in print is to ask printer to me you a sample printed often on higher quality inkjet dye sub printer that closer simulates how CMYK or PMS will print. Best way is still to use swatch books to determine any potential color issues
  • Printing signs can be done in either RGB or CMYK and PMS. Print shops often provide detailed artwork specification as to most desirable artwork format
  • Pantone PMS colors should not be mixed with CMYK, use either one or another unless its by intent and 5 or more color printing
  • Use PMS colors for one, two color printing. When more then two colors are used, selecting PMS is not wrong, but will likely cost more then 4 color CMYK print and should only be done when color accuracy is paramount
  • Digital print is cheaper and to be used for smaller runs, but does produce lower quality then offset printing
  • Office printers can’t accurately print anything. Regardless what printer it is, you can’t rely on result to match swatch book
  • Word is common but to be used for digital or offset as last resort. Most print shops will not accept word files as they are not providing accurate color and object information. Some digital only printers will work with Word files, but again can’t guarantee accuracy of color

These are among the common issues that come up in many organizations during print projects. To avoid potential problems speak with our experienced graphic designers by visiting our graphic design studio website or calling us at 703.963.3690

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