Getting Your Project Ready for Printing: A Print Production Checklist
If you’re using a professional online printing service, most likely you’ll be submitting your design to be printed in a digital file so you will need a print production checklist for guidence.
However, there is nothing worse than seeing a perfect project on your computer screen only to receive a printed project that looks different.
One of the best ways to avoid this preflight discrepancy is to make sure the digital file you send to the printer follows the printer’s production checklist.
Most printers have templates and pre-flighting checks available when you upload to tell what is wrong.
You can find our printing production templates here to download when creating your designs.
This way there will be no confusion or conversion on behalf of the printer, and the finished product will look exactly the way you pictured.
By taking the time to check a few requirements and guidelines before you submit your files, you can go a long way in ensuring that your finished product meets your print standards and requirements.
Print Production Checklist for Customers
- Document size and trim size match
- Bleed around the edge of your project 1/8 or .125
- CMYK color and not RGB color for the right color separation
- File images being submitted in a separate folder or embedded in the application
- Save files as 300 dpi jpg
- Make sure all your file images resolution is 300 dpi
- If applicable, do your fold lines match the standard folding styles?
- Fonts in a compatible format such as postscript type 1 and are not corrupt?
- Are your files saved in the correct format?
Most printers recommend submitting your files in either .eps, .jpg or .pdf files
All printers will vary on which file type to use. Talk to your printer beforehand to know which file type is recommended for your particular project.
- Proofread and color proof
- Have crop marks and bleeds
- Color separations CMYK
- Folding matching printers template
- Use postscript or outline fonts
- Imposition on multi-page design
- Output high-resolution fonts and images 300 dpi
1. Define Project Goals:
• Clearly outline the purpose and goals of your print project.
• Determine the target audience and desired message.
2. Choose the Right Printer:
• Research and select a reputable printing company that suits your project’s needs and budget.
• Get recommendations or read reviews if possible.
3. Select the Right Materials:
• Choose appropriate paper or materials that match the intended use of your print piece (e.g., glossy, matte, cardstock).
• Ensure the paper weight and type are compatible with your printer.
4. Design Preparation:
• Create or finalize your design using professional graphic design software.
• Set the document dimensions, bleed, and safe area according to the printer’s specifications.
5. Resolution and Image Quality:
• Ensure all images are high-resolution (300 DPI or higher) to avoid pixelation.
• Use vector graphics for logos and text to ensure sharpness at any size.
6. Color Considerations:
• Use the appropriate color mode (CMYK) for printing, not RGB.
• Consider using Pantone or spot colors for consistent color accuracy.
7. Proofreading and Content Review:
• Proofread all text for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
• Verify that all information is accurate and up to date.
8. Bleed and Trim:
• Extend design elements (such as images and background) beyond the trim edge to avoid white borders after trimming.
• Ensure important content is well within the safe area to prevent it from being trimmed off.
9. File Format:
• Save your design in a high-quality, print-ready format (e.g., PDF, TIFF) with appropriate settings for compression and embedding fonts.
• Request a digital proof from the printer before production to review how the final print will look.
• Carefully check all elements for accuracy, positioning, and color correctness.
• Specify the desired quantity of prints you need.
• Consider ordering slightly more copies than needed to account for any unexpected issues.
12. Printing Options:
• Discuss any printing options such as finishes (e.g., gloss, matte), binding (e.g., saddle-stitch, perfect bound), and coatings (e.g., UV, lamination).
13. Delivery and Turnaround Time:
• Confirm the estimated delivery or pickup date with the printer.
• Allow enough time for production, especially for large or complex projects.
• Maintain open communication with the printer throughout the process.
• Address any questions or concerns promptly.
15. Review Final Proof:
• Review the final proof provided by the printer before giving the green light for production.
• Double-check all details and ensure everything looks as expected.
16. Approval for Production:
• Once you’re satisfied with the final proof, give the printer approval to start production.
17. Payment and Invoicing:
• Ensure all payment terms are clear and agreed upon.
• Review the invoice and make payment according to the agreed-upon terms.
18. Quality Control:
• Inspect the printed copies upon delivery or pickup to ensure they match your expectations.
• Check for any printing defects or discrepancies.
19. Feedback and Follow-up:
• Provide feedback to the printer on the quality and satisfaction with the final product.
• Keep a record of the printer’s contact information for future reference.
By following this print production checklist, customers can help ensure a successful print production process and achieve the desired results for their projects.
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