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6 Best Practices When Designing for Print

6 best practices when designing for print

While designing for web and print have a lot of core similarities, there are also quite a few vital differences. Listen as marketing strategist Brianna goes over 6 things graphic designers need to do for print that they don’t typically have to do for web design.

  1. Always use CMYK for print. RGB is the color model for web and digital, CYMK is the color model for print. We can convert RGB files to CYMK in pre press (usually) but you will still get better color quality if you convert in the native file before exporting.
  2. Use high res photos and files. When you export a file for print, always use a print quality setting, or a high resolution setting. Photos should be a minimum of 300dpi.
  3. Ask for specific margin and bleeds measurements. Even if you are familiar with print design and know all about margins and bleeds, what you might not know is that different printers have different size requirements for margins and bleeds. Its always best to ask your printer for their specific requirements before you start designing.
  4. Ask for address box measurements. This applies to print pieces that will be mailed. USPS has very specific requirements about where the address box can go and how big it can be. Ask for those measurements, or better yet a template, before you get started so that you’re able to create an effective design around the box.
  5. Send unlocked files. During our prepress checks, we are often able to fix a lot of minor issues in order to optimize print quality and save time having to go back and forth with the designer. However, if a file is locked, we can’t do anything to it, and it takes time to go back to the client/graphic designer and have changes made. This could result in missed deadlines. Always send us unlocked PDFs or native files so we can make necessary adjustments in pre press.
  6. Always design in Adobe. There are lots of different design programs that serve lots of different purposes. The best program for print is Adobe. Photoshop, Illustrator, or our personal favorite, InDesign. You’ll have the best print experience if you design in one of these programs.

Looking for a trustworthy commercial printer to turn your designs into high quality print work? Give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email We have a wide variety of presses, papers and finishing services.