10 Common Mistakes Submitting Files to Your Printer

11/20/23 | Published By Angela Campbell

Submitting files to commercial printers doesn’t need to be a complex task. Here are 10 common mistakes made when submitting creative files:

  1. Incorrect Resolution:
    Often, graphics are submitted at a resolution that’s too low, which can lead to pixelated or blurry printed images. Commercial printers typically require images at 300 DPI (dots per inch) or higher.

  2. Missing Fonts:
    If specific fonts are used in a design but aren’t embedded or provided separately, the printer’s system might replace them with default fonts, leading to unexpected results.

  3. Not Using CMYK Colour Mode:
    Many digital designs are created in RGB colour mode, but commercial printers usually print in CMYK. Not converting to CMYK can cause colour shifts in the final print. Always check with your commercial printer to confirm the best colour profile for their equipment.

  4. No Bleeds:
    A bleed ensures that the printed piece doesn’t have unwanted white borders. Forgetting to include bleeds might result in the final piece having uneven or unexpected edges.

  5. Overlooking Proofing:
    Not thoroughly proofreading content for typos, errors, or layout issues can lead to mistakes in the final printed product. Proofs can come in the form of a “Soft Proof” – high resolution ripped PDF, Hi-Resolution hard physical proof – Ideally G7 Colourmetrically balanced for colour accuracy – Imposition proof – for size, scale, content, and pagination. Speak with your printer about what proof will work best for your project.

  6. Link your images vs embedding them:
    Sometimes, linked files or graphics aren’t included with the main document, leading to missing elements in the printed version. If images are embedded, they may create challenges when editing and proofing (like they disappear).

  7. Incorrect File Format:
    While many printers have PDF workflows, they might have specific requirements for how those PDFs are generated or may require different formats altogether. Speak with your printer to determine the best file format for your project.

  8. Inadequate Margins:
    Not allowing for safe margins can mean critical design elements or text get trimmed off or are too close to the edge, making the design look cramped.

  9. Not Specifying Pantone colours or Special Finishes: 
    If your design requires custom Pantone® colours (like metallics) or special finishes (like embossing or UV coating), and this isn’t clearly communicated or set up correctly in the file, the final project might not match expectations. 

  10. Over-compression:
    To reduce file size, some might compress their files too much, leading to a loss in image quality. While it’s important to manage file size, ensuring the quality isn’t compromised is equally crucial.

Talk with us to determine the best proofing method for your project, they are here for everyone’s success. This way, if any of these mistakes have been made, they can be identified and corrected before the full print run.

Great news, Mitchell can assist with your printing AND make sure your files are ready to go!  Check out our technical resources online or request a quote with your project idea to learn more.

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Printing Services, Print File Mistakes

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