There are many design, color, paper choices made during the creation of a file that can affect the quality of the final printed outcome. We've listed below the combinations that typically lead to a higher risk of production error, and why you should avoid them. When armed with the right information, you can limit these mistakes and produce high quality designs for print!
1. Placement Issues
One of the most common mistakes in the design process is the placement of images and logos on the paper. There are several ways that placement on the page can negatively affect the quality of printing.
Creeping – Creeping is caused by the way paper lies once it has been bound. Elements closer to the inside edge risk creeping into the folds of the paper. To counteract this while designing your product, you should take this possibility into account.
Ensure there is a buffer zone between the image and crease. This will allow any creeping risk to be mitigated by buffer zone. Alternatively, important images or information should be placed on the opposite side of the page from the binding, minimizing the risk of important information being lost to creeping.
Cutting Error Risk - When preparing your design for print, you need to take into account the cutting of the document after it has been printed. There are three areas you need to consider when designing your printed material:
- Bleed Zone
- Trim Line
- Safe Zone
The bleed zone is the area that will be lost during the trimming process, whereas the area between the trim line and safe zone is at risk of cutting errors. Within the safe zone, there is no risk of trimming issues and this is where all the important information should be placed. There should be 8mm of space between the edge of the paper and the safe zone giving space for an 4mm bleed zone and 4mm between the trim line and safe zone.
Although the bleed zone will be lost in the trimming process, it’s important to make sure your design fills this area to avoid any white edges on the printed material. Any logos or important information should be placed within the safe zone.
2. Color Issues
There are also certain design aspects that can cause coloring issues when you end the product to be printed. These can easily be avoided if they are addressed at the design phase.
Color inconsistencies - If you are planning to print a full page with one color, the probability that this will cause color inconsistencies is higher for multi-location production. Gelato has implemented a color consistency program to review the settings of all machines (including our proprietary web-based color consistency tool), and the Gelato print jobs are always the first ones to be printed early in the day. Despite this effort, print is still a physical process and even factors such as the location’s humidity can potentially affect the result.
Risk of “pixelation” or misregistration - Font, text size and color are important factors that should be considered in design. If any are too small or thin, it can increase the risk of pixelation or misregistration during the printing process. This is also the same for the color you have chosen. If the text is not 100% one color, there is an increased chance of quality issues with the final product. Selecting at least 7 point font with sufficient thickness and single color will allow for a much higher quality printed product.
3. Paper Issues
Along with the design elements to produce a high-quality end product, you must consider the paper and the various elements around printing on paper to avoid any post print issues. You can add a layer of protection to your print material on Gelato to mitigate a number of risks.
Smearing Risk - Printing a flat product with color on one side and white on the other, such as flyers or business cards, produces a high risk of smearing if no protection has been added. To avoid this, you should select paper type Silk and add protection to stop any smearing.
Scratching Risk - choosing not to add protection on a full color cover increases the risk of the product being damaged with scratches post print. Using paper type Silk and adding protection for your covers will ensure the product maintains a high quality standard.
Cracking on the spine (after folding) - As brochures are folded while being read, the spine is at risk of having the color crack, especially if the spine has full color. Avoid the issue by selecting Silk paper with protection for the cover pages, and less than 200gsm (or 100lb cover) paper thickness for inner pages. This will ensure your final product is durable and will maintain high standard of quality throughout its use.