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The Greenprint Designer's Guide

Greenprint work with many design agencies and one of the main aspects of a successful partnership is managing expectation. We never want to tell a client who has designed a beautiful creative that it will not reproduce as it looks on screen, but reviewing the artwork before committing to print can flag up potential problems which are best discussed up-front. Even experienced designers with a good knowledge of print can overlook the basics in their quest to create a design which looks amazing on screen but which can create major problems either on press or in finishing.

Some of the most common issues we find are: 

* small type reversed out of 4 process colour background which can fill in with the slightest amount of paper stretch - anything below 8pt can be a problem, depending on the sheet size and the stock (unless printing digitally) 

* printed borders or frames within 3mm of the trim edge which can look ugly with just a small variance in the trim position - even +/-1mm tolerance could result in a 3mm border becoming 2mm & 4mm on either side of a page 

* folios placed within 3mm of the edge of the page on a bound product which can vary in position due to production tolerances (as above) - particularly problematic on high pagination stitched work where page creep pushes the foredge further out on each inset section 

* solid backgrounds in process colour with breaks across a page (reverse out halftones, logos etc.) which can cause banding through ink starvation (even with inking roller oscillation) 

* split doubles where an image splits across a spread on a stitched or square-backed product, requiring almost zero tolerance in print position, trimming, folding and binding when each process inevitably increases the tolerance for movement. Paper is a 'living' material which stretches and contracts during production, so spreads may look great on a computer screen but will not always create a perfect print.

* on perfect bound work, another common problem on split doubles is not supplying any bleeds on the spine edge to allow the printer to pull a page out towards the foredge to allow for 2mm of image which will not be visible due to the tightness of the binding

* when finalising print-ready PDFs, always set the fonts to outline path, so the fonts are not required when the print studio rips the files as they have already been converted to an embedded image

There are so many potential pitfalls when designing for print, so it is understandable when designers fall into them. The trick is to (a) flag up potential problems before you start production and (b) work with the designer to find a solution - don't just tell them that they can't have what they want, advise them how much better the end product will look if they modify their design to suit the production processes involved.

So for any designer looking for a printer who really understands how to get the best results for your creatives, contact Steve at Greenprint for friendly advice and top-notch customer service.

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