Preparing print ready files for digital printing simply means getting your files ready for print.
The digital files must contain all the necessary specifications for optimal printing without the need for any additional adjustments or changes. If a print shop has to fix files before printing there may be an additional cost. Preparing print ready files alleviates frustration, saves time, and is much more cost effective.
Here are five tips to help you when creating and preparing print ready files:
1. First, Ask Your Printer What They Need for Print Ready Files
Speak with your printer beforehand and ask them what they need. What file type, image resolution, and color palette are required in preparing print ready files. Every shop has different specifications depending on their equipment. There’s no point in preparing print ready files until you have the correct specs from the printer you will be working with.
2. What Color Palette Choice Should You Use
A computer monitor uses the RGB color palette. Printing equipment uses the CMYK color palette. The colors on printed projects will differ from your RGB monitor colors. To ensure the colors you want are rendered properly, specify Pantone (CMYK) colors instead of your RGB monitor colors. Pantone colors are your best bet for color integrity.
3. Raster vs. Vector Images for Print Ready Files
Raster images are based on pixels (Photoshop files). Vector images are based on mathematics (Illustrator files). Vector image scaling is intuitive so you can scale your image to any size without distortion. Raster images cannot be scaled so be sure to use the appropriate image type for your project. Ask your printer what image type is needed before preparing print ready files.
4. Photo Sizing & Resolution
Unfortunately, you can’t make a bad photo better (or a small photo bigger). For example, a 640 x 480 pixel photograph cannot be scaled, so it’s not possible to stretch a small pixel photo to fit a large banner. When preparing print ready files, make sure that your photos are scanned to the finished size (the size they will be when printed). The photos should also be optimized to at least 300 dpi or higher. Ask us if you need help understanding photo sizing and resolution to create print ready files.
5. Choosing Print Sheet Sizes
With today’s digital printing techniques, we can now print on many different types of paper, including different paper sizes and weights. Printed sheet sizes are determined by the finished size of the document. But there are ways to save on printing costs. For instance, two 8 1/2” x 11” printed documents (no bleed) can be printed together on one 11” x 17” sheet.
If you still have questions about how to create print ready files, you can talk to our printing experts at PRI Graphics.
Adobe offers some tips on How to Make Print Ready PDFs.