Wondering why your printed design looks different than the digital version? Here are 7 things to look for and what is happening.
1. Edges getting cut off or not flowing off the edge- Improper Bleed Usage
“Bleed” is the term used for the amount of artwork that extends beyond the border of the document. It is important, especially with smaller hand-held designs like business cards, to make your design slightly larger (usually an eighth of an inch but will vary with different printers) than the size you will be printing to give the printer some room to play with. If it is not used properly, you will probably notice either a white edge on at least one side of the design or that part of your design is getting cut off somewhere. Also keep in mind not to place anything like text too close to the edge or it may be cut off.
2. Blurred Text on a contrasting background- Bleeding ink with too many colors
You may notice that your text looks blurred when printed. This could be due to the amount of cyan, magenta and yellow within the black. The colors may bleed when printed so it is important to use true black when possible.
3. Incorrect Colors- RGB vs. CMYK
There are two types of color set ups used when designing on the computer (RGB and CMYK). RGB (Red, Green and Blue) is used only for digital viewing purposes while CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) is specific to viewing printed work. It is very important to convert your work to CMYK before printing otherwise the colors will appear off.
4. Blurry Images- Using low resolution images
Printed images need to be at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch). This is why it is important to have high-quality images from the start. You can always shrink an image but you cannot increase the amount of detail in an image. A common mistake is taking an image from the internet, which is set at 72 dpi (dots per inch) and trying to enlarge it. The image will not become any clearer, it will only become pixelated, and having a pixelated image on your design is just awful.
5. Grainy Images- Using Incorrect File Format
There are many different types of files used, it is important to keep in mind what type of file is used and for what. Image files ending in .gif and .png are made strictly for viewing on the screen. Printed images files should have the .tiff extension. If your images look grainy this is something you should check for.
6. Missing fonts- Fonts Not Embedded in PDF
There are millions of fonts available to us today, but don’t assume that your printer has the fonts you are using. If your fonts are not being printed correctly it is because the fonts in your design were not embedded into the PDF properly. Not to worry, all you need to do to solve the issue is convert all text to outlines. This will convert your text into shapes so that they won’t be recognized as a font.
7. Jagged Edges on Logos or Graphics- Raster vs. Vector
Raster images are made up of pixels. Enlarging them will only increase the size of the pixels within the image causing loss of quality and jagged edges. Vectors are created by a mathematical formula used to create an image that can be enlarged without quality loss. Make sure you are using vectors instead of rasters when it comes to graphics.
We hope these seven tips have clarified things for you. Still confused? Call us today, we are happy to help!