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How to Avoid Costly Printing Mistakes

by Frank Salsa

posted in Business

Syndicate This Article

Don’t make the assumption that printing is easy.  If you do, then there is a big chance you’re your final result will not be how you imagined it.  You need to pay attention to all of the details from the very beginning to make sure that you get your desired results.

Know Your Size

It is very important to know the size of your document and plan accordingly.  Otherwise, by the time you get to the actual assembly process, nothing will line up properly.  You will want to consider the finished processed – will your product be trimmed, bound, or have a different adjustment to the margins?  If it will, then you need to consider these during the design process.  Otherwise, once the project is bound or folded, it may not read like you anticipated.

If you are creating an odd-sized piece, you should create a custom page instead of just drawing a box in the middle of a regular letter-sized page.  This will make the printing process easier.  Remember, when the printer creates your document, each business card or post card is not their own page.  Instead, multiple copies are printed per page, and then the page is cut to the desired dimensions.  Taking care of this from the initial design process will help prevent time delays and other errors further down the line.


In some cases, you will want the color of an image or the design to go to the edge.  For this to occur, the image must extend past the edge of the page to avoid any white showing.  Often the amount of a bleed is an extension of 1/8th of an inch, but your printer may have a different value. Make sure that your image extends past the cut amount as directed.

Watch Your Edges

Another thing to watch out for when printing is your edges.  Borders are particularly dangerous; if they are not positioned properly, they will look wrong for the finished product.  And since the printing process can have a small margin of error during printing, folding, or trimming, this must be taken into consideration.

When using artwork and text, avoid going too close to the edges.  If you must have a border on your project, make the margins wider to help camouflage any problems.  The larger the total margin, the less obvious any small errors will be.  Your print service provider should give you the specific margins for folds, cuts, and bindings.

Know Your Folds

Folds for brochures and other folded projects should be carefully monitored.  How you are going to fold the project will influence the final design.  For example, if you are doing a tri-fold brochure that is folded in a letter fold, then the interior panel must be slightly shorter than the other two.  Otherwise, the project will buckle and not stay closed.  However, this slight shortening of the page can affect how your boarders, images, and text appear if you go too close to the edge of the page.  If you are doing a z-fold, then all of your panels can be the same size.

If you always consider the finished project throughout the design process, then you can help to avoid costly printing errors.

About the Author:

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