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What is Print Ready Art?

Print ready art. We’ve all heard the term, but what does that actually mean? In the printing world, electronic files (yes, even PDF) are not created equal. There are certain criteria that the files must meet in order to print properly. Proper file submission will not only produce a quality project, but it will also save you time and money. The goal is to “click” and print, so here are a few tips to help insure success:

  1. Make sure to convert all RGB files to CMYK. RGB stands for red, green, blue, and it is the standard in website design and animation, however, printers work in 4-color process or CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).
  2. Submit the right file type. Find out what type of files your printer will accept (for example: PDF, EPS, PSD, High resolution JPG, etc.). Be sure to embed the fonts and links to graphics and images when necessary.
  3. Check the resolution of the final piece. It should be a minimum of 300 dpi. It is best not to pull images directly from a website, because these images are usually only 72 dpi, and tend to print poorly. When emailing a file, it is best to send it as an attachment rather than embed it in the email.
  4. Pull the bleeds (1/8”) and place crop marks. A bleed is the term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming, and crop marks are the vertical and horizontal lines that indicate where the piece should be trimmed. Be sure to allow a “safe zone” or margin of 1/8” for the text and images you do not want trimmed.

Lastly, don’t panic, you don’t have to have a degree in Graphic Design to submit a file for print. The best tip for success is to find a reliable local printer that you trust, and partner with them. A professional printer will do their best to make you look great!

Written by Tracey Papke

Tracey Papke is the owner of Potamus Press, a commercial print shop that specializes in offset and digital printing. For more information please visit or call (951)693-2136.

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