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The Essential Print Project Checklist

October 27, 2022 In Design

About to submit your latest print project? Stop what you’re doing!

Sorry to alarm you, but we wanted to get your attention before you send off a file with an avoidable error. We see prints come through our system all the time with simple formatting or logistical mistakes that would have been caught in a final review. Before you send your next project off to print, spend a few minutes going through our checklist to make sure you didn’t miss any important details. Our handy list includes all the important elements and last-minute checks you’ll need for any print project.

1. Page Setup

First, let’s review the page setup of each print to make sure your project doesn’t come out with a different format than you expected. If you didn’t adjust each file with trim and bleed marks at the start of your design process, add them now. These markings will guide our team on where to cut the finished prints. Bleed should always be set at least 1/8 inch past the trim. Once your marks are set correctly, you can scan for other formatting errors. For example, if your project includes files with page numbers, check that the pages are all numbered correctly and displayed in the right order.

2. Typos

If you haven’t already, perform a final review of any written copy to look for typos or incorrect grammar. Some common typos to watch for include misspellings, apostrophe usage, run-on sentences, and using the wrong homonym. You’ll also want to read over your content closely to check for incorrect facts, mislabeled photos, or other clerical errors. Sending out a professional print with typos or simple errors will make your otherwise sleek design look sloppy. For a more in-depth list of writing errors to watch for, check out this helpful article from our marketing partners at Radius.

3. Color Codes

Color is an integral element to any print design, so we want to make sure every color comes out looking just the way you intended. To do that, printers need you to convert every color to a CMYK code. Using other color systems, such as RGB, may result in color variation and a final product that doesn’t quite match your vision. You should be able to convert the color system directly within any Adobe product. We also recommend removing any colors you didn’t use from your swatch palette to ensure only the colors you included in the design are represented in your final print.

4. Font Files

In addition to avoiding color replacements, you’ll also want to guarantee whichever fonts you included in any vector designs display correctly. If you used any non-standard typefaces in the print, you’ll need to give your printer access to those font files. To keep things organized, include all fonts files in a compressed or zip file and send them along with your other design files.

5. File Formats

Speaking of design files, the file format you upload is the last detail you need to check before submitting your final project. Thankfully, most commercial printers can accept several different file formats. However, PDF, JPG, or Adobe files are typically best to ensure the layout isn’t distorted when opening the project on a new computer. For this reason, we don’t recommend using Microsoft or PNG files. For a crisp print, you should also check that your resolution is set to at least 300 dpi to avoid pixelated images. Now you’re ready to upload all your print files, and breathe a sigh of relief that another project is done!