Color Printing Design Tips
Getting Started with your Graphic Design
Designing your own printed piece can seem like a challenge. These handy hints will help you with the process. Here are the first steps.
- Decide the purpose of your piece. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who will be reading it?
- What is the main point you want them to remember?
- What do you want them to do when they read the material (What is the “call-to-action”)?
- How will you be distributing the piece (does it need to have a mailing panel)?
- What is your budget?
Design with ColorThe best designs are simple. Clean lines, organized structure and minimal clutter will ensure that people read and remember your piece. Use a limited set of colors throughout your layout to keep the design consistent. Choose a color for each area of interest including:
- Titles — Headlines, Subtitles
- Body Copy — Captions
- Graphics — Borders, Lines, Clip Art
Image ResolutionResolution is the measurement of the number of pixels of color information in an inch.
The Rules of Resolution
- Images should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size in the layout.
- The settings used during the original “capture” of an image (ie: scanning, digital camera, etc) determine its base resolution. Resolution can only be improved by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.
- Images which include text should be 400 dpi at the final size in the layout.
- Resolution and image size are inversely proportional to each other. Enlarge an image, the resolution decreases; reduce an image, the resolution increases. Example: a 2″ x 2″ image at 300 dpi (acceptable) enlarged to 4″ x 4″ has a new resolution of 150 dpi (unacceptable).
- Low resolution images print fuzzy, jagged and blurry.
- Recommended minimum resolution for printing is 300 dpi; computer monitors generally have a display setting of 72 or 96 dpi. If we indicate that some of your images have low resolution, they may look fine on your computer monitor but will likely appear blurry or pixelated in print.
Things to Avoid
- Web images are predominately low resolution (72-96 dpi) GIF or JPEG files. This resolution is good for quick transmission over the internet, but is not acceptable for use in printing. Do not save images or graphics from a website to use in your print project!
- Upsampling is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. Upsampling adds more pixels/dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry images, ugly blocks of color, and high contrast in images. The only way resolution can be improved is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.