Working at a print shop, I too often I get files that aren’t ready for print. It’s mind boggling to me that the files aren’t prepared for print. I know we all make mistakes, but some things are just inexcusable for professionals in print design.
I see Logos with type not outlined, files that need a bleed that don’t have one, pixelated images… the list goes on and on and on and on….
So without further ranting, here’s my ever-evolving list of best practices for print design:
Use the Correct Tool.
Photoshop is great for editing images. Illustrator is great for creating logos, artwork and illustrations. While InDesign is great for print layout.
Create margins for all important content and use them. A general rule of thumb, use at least .125 or 1/8 of inch for your margins on smaller print pieces such as business cards, note cards, envelopes, etc. I personally like to increase my margins the larger the print piece. Letterhead I’ll go up to a quarter inch (.25) and up to 2 inches or more for large format.
What happens when you don’t use proper margins? Well, first your bindery guy or gal will be mad at you for making their cuts more difficult, but more importantly your graphics may get cut-off and you’ll end up with an inconsistent final product.