How to Deal With Digital Files During a Commercial Printing Project

When it comes to dealing with modern commercial printing projects, you can assume the process will involve digital files at some stage. Especially if you want to create work and send it to a commercial printing company, your go-to solution will be to produce your artwork on an application and email or transfer it.

You should know how to deal with digital files the way your commercial printing services provider prefers. A company will usually recommend clients do these three things.

Use Scalable and High-Quality Formats

Nothing frustrates printers more than working with digital files that don't scale well. If someone sends a low-quality JPEG, for example, it can be challenging to make it work. This is especially true if they need to blow the image up. Compression artifacts can look downright hideous when you try to scale them up.

Always send imagery in at least a 300 dpi format. Likewise, use a scalable editing program and digital file format. The folks at the commercial printing company will have a much easier time tweaking the files for production.

Size Your Digital Files for the Product

When you set up a digital file, the application will prompt you to provide the dimensions in inches, pixels, or dpi. Select inches and then set the resolution to 300 dpi. Doing so will prevent unnecessary size and scale conversions. If you're doing label printing, for example, you probably don't want the file to default to 11-by-8 inches.

Ask About Color Profiles and Processes

If you're not familiar with color profiles and processes, talk with your printing provider about them before your next project. When you create a digital file for printing, the application will embed a profile. This tells whatever machines, from computers to printers, that encounter it what colors match its preference.

If you've ever seen a printed product's colors look very different from the computer screen version, there's a good chance the color profile was off. Ask the printer to send you versions of their color profiles so you can create the closest match.

Similarly, you should know which process will be in use when the items go to print. The color process indicates how many colors the machine will use and which inks to employ. CMYK, meaning cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, is an example of a common four-color process.

Whenever possible, create and save your digital files in the same color process. This will reduce the risk of a color mismatch arising from a conversion.

If you have any other questions regarding commercial printing, be sure to contact a shop near you.