Printing – Essentials explained


25 March 2012

Essentials Explained is designed to help you understand the fundamentals of marketing your business and the related areas. This time we will be breaking down the printing process, to help you get your material printed. Another Essentials Explained that may be of use is Printing Decisions.

Getting your marketing material printed is a vital step in reaching your customers. Understanding the printing process can help you make the best printing decision, and ensure you are reaching your customer with quality material.

The printing process

The first step in the printing process is to decide what you want to print, who you are targeting it at, and what job you want it to do. You will then have enough information to brief the graphic design company that you have chosen to create the work for you.

Why hire a graphic design company?
Why not just create the document yourself? Well, like other areas, graphic design requires a set of specialised design skills. Not to mention the software, and know-how to get the final document ready for print.

The money spent in hiring a graphic design company is an investment in your printed material, and ultimately, your connection with your customers.

Your chosen graphic design company, or a printer that will do the graphic design, will take your concepts, copy and images and create your document to be printed. You will then get a proof of this document to double check before it is sent off to print and you receive your printed copies.

When dealing with your graphic design company, or printer, you may be required to know some of the following terminology.


Artwork terminology

1-up – each page to be printed is separate, there are no spreads (side-by-side pages) in the file.

Bleed – also known as external bleed, is when the background colour or an image is extended past the borders of the page. This allows for a small margin of error when the paper is cut. If you do not have any bleed, you may end up with a white line around your file. Bleed is generally 3mm.

CMYK – stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. These are the four colours used in full colour printing, and are mixed together to create the colours that you see on paper.

Crop marks – are the black corners on your print job that show where the paper will be trimmed. Anything outside the crop marks will be cut from the finished document.

DPI – stands for dots per inch (yes I said inch, for some reason we still use this measurement here). DPI is the number of printed dots that will fit into a square inch (2.54cm2), and gives an idea to the resolution, or quality, of an image or document.

High resolution – refers to the quality of the image or document. For printing, an image at its correct size (100%) needs to be at least 300dpi. When the resolution is smaller than this, the finished printing tends to look grainy or pixelated.

Registration marks – are the marks made by the printers so that they can line up the four different colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). These will be made outside the crop marks and will be trimmed from the final document.

Safe text area – is also known as internal bleed. This is the area just inside the crop marks. It is important to keep any important images or information out of this area to ensure it is retained after trimming. Safe text area is generally 3mm.

Italic Creative are qualified in graphic design, as well as online services so contact us today if you would like to discuss getting some print work done, or for a whole marketing solution.