As a professional printing company, we have witnessed a fair amount of print file mistakes that have cost companies time and money while also delaying the production process. The act of catching mistakes when preparing a file for print might mean a missed deadline for you. However, discovering mistakes with print ready files after the fact can be even worse because this often requires making corrections and even reprinting the complete print run. You don’t want to be stuck with an inferior product that creates a less than professional impression of you or your company. Thankfully, most print file mistakes can be avoided and this article will share common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Mask Files Are Not 100% Black

A mask file is necessary when you are ordering Spot UV and foil products. In general, a mask file is a separate file that tells the press exactly where you want the Spot UV or foil placed on the printed materials. In order to highlight where to place them, all elements in the artwork need to be removed (or turned to 100% white) except for the area on the product where the Spot UV/foil will be placed. This is a necessary step as the press will not be able to determine the correct placement if there are other color values present while the press searches for the particular file value. Be sure the file does not contain a gradient as the black must contain a solid edge.

Files Do Not Contain Bleed

Adding bleed to your artwork is an important step because this is where you extend your background past the edge of the artwork. This ensures there will not be a white stripe that is visible to others along the edge of the printed product. Keep in mind that each professional printer has different bleed requirements and these requirements can also differ for each project. Before you finish preparing a file for print, be sure and ask your printer about the specific bleed requirements for your project.

Choosing The Wrong Paper

If you choose the wrong paper stock for your project, this can be a costly mistake. For example, you might feel that a thick, textured cardstock is the best option for a high-quality project because this is not always the case. This paper stock might be an ideal choice for business cards, invitations, or announcements that the public will likely keep for an extended period of time. On the other hand, it can be a waste of money on promotional items or product catalogs that consumers will likely throw away in the future.

The decision to only print on very thin paper is not always ideal. The use of very thin paper can save money but it might not deliver the desired look. Light paper is an ideal choice for newspapers, flyers, and newsletters that don’t need heavy paper or high-resolution images. Not sure which stock to use? Talk to your printing company to determine which paper is best for your project.

Resolution Is Too Low

Print files need to be at least 300 PPI for print jobs. In order to avoid low resolution, set your document resolution to 300 PPI before the design creation process begins. In addition, make sure your raster images or photos are already set to 300 PPI before they are placed in the print file. You should also avoid obtaining your images from random websites because of copyright issues and the resolution of the images might be too low. In other words, be sure and use high resolution, print-quality image files that you can get from professional image sources.

Before uploading any print ready files, take the time to look them over carefully to make sure you haven’t forgotten any aspects of the project. You can also reach out to our experts at Driftwood Printing with any additional questions.

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