Preparing Files for Print – Introduction

Dec 18, 2020 | Design and Production Support

Designing greeting cards, might be fun and creative, but it’s only half the story. Once you’ve come up with a design or a range, you then need to get it printed. And that’s where things get technical.

In this 8-part series, we’re going to cover the basics of preparing files for print, working with printers, and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls. Here’s what we’ll cover:

We’ll cover all the important factors you need to consider – many of these will are important regardless of what your design is and which printing partner you choose. But it’s important to engage with your printer as early as possible. Each printing company will have slightly different requirements and limitations on what they can or can’t do – some of these will have an impact on your design, so it’s better to open a communication channel and not have to do a lot of rework later.

Remember, the GCA member printers are all experts in printing greeting cards, and will be able to advise you on how to get the best out of your designs. Ask them for advice!

What we’ll cover

Here’s a quick run down of what we’ll cover in this series:

Card Sizes

Things to consider when determining the optimum card size for a range.

Image Resolution

We’ll demystify the jargon, explain pixels & dpi, and give you clarity on image resolution.

Colour Modes

Our article on Colour Modes explains everything you need to know about RGB, CMYK, Pantone and how to choose what to use.

Bleed & Trim

You’ll learn how bleed ensures your artwork prints to the edge of the card. We’ll also cover what you need to know about the fold down the centre of the card.

Finishing Layers

Foil, glitter and emboss adds bling to greeting cards. But they can be hard to visualise in the design stages, and need to be communicated to the Printer. We’ll explain how.

Press Ready Checklist

Our handy check list ensures you’ve thought through all the aspects of preparing a press-ready PDF.

Working With Your Printer

Helpful advice on how to select a Print partner, and what to expect during the production process.

The scope of this series is from getting your design files ready to handing them over to a printing company. There is a lot more to consider too – like barcodes, what board to use, how you’re going to pack your cards, and of course environmental considerations. You’ll find many more articles covering these areas and more in the GCA Library.

The articles in this series are for members only. If you are not a member of the GCA, why not join us?

  1. Introduction – you are here
  2. Card Sizes: things to consider
  3. Image Resolution
  4. Understanding Colour modes (CMYK vs RGB vs Pantone)
  5. Bleed and Trim
  6. Finishing Layers (Foil, flitter, emboss)
  7. Getting Files Press Ready Checklist
  8. Working with your Printer

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