File Format For Print

1. Native file format — acceptable print format for printers

When preparing pages for printing, the graphic designers generally use page layout programs to provide the structure and design for the job. Page layout files include the overall page design elements (rules, columns, screen tints, and so on) as well as text. These files, also known as native files, vary in format from one program to another and generally do not contain photo or illustration files. Instead, graphic files are linked to the page layout file. In addition, page layout files do not contain the fonts used to display and output the typefaces used in the document. Thus, jobs delivered by the designer to the printing company or other service provider in the native format must be accompanied by both the fonts and image files. Page layout programs provide a method to “collect” or “package” the supporting files that must accompany a native page layout file in order for that file to output properly.

.psd is the native file format for the Adobe Photoshop, .ai for Illustrator, .indd for InDesign.

EPS (short for Encapsulated PostScript) is a vector format designed for printing to PostScript printers and imagesetters. It is considered the best choice of graphics format for high resolution printing of illustrations. EPS files are created and edited in illustration programs such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.

Vector graphics are a scalable, resolution-independent format composed of individual objects or shapes. Vector images can be resized easily without loss of quality making them an ideal format for initial logo designs and illustrations to be used in multiple sizes.

2. Recommended file format (PDF)— stardard print format by SWOP

PDF/X1a is the most widely adopted, all-inclusive file format relevant to the printing industry based on the Adobe’s Acrobat PDF format. The printing layouts created in the Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign all can be saved in the PDF format.

TIFF/IT-P1 is an internationally-accepted format accredited by the International Standards Organization and known as ISO 12639:2004. “ISO 12639:2004 specifies a media-independent means for prepress electronic data exchange using a tag image file format (TIFF). ISO 12639:2004 defines image file formats for encoding colour continuous-tone picture images, colour line-art images, high-resolution continuoustone images, monochrome continuous-tone picture images, binary picture images, binary line-art images, screened data, and images of composite final pages” (International Standards Organization, 2004).

PDF verse TIFF

Although SWOP allows designers to save files in either format, a review of the specifications pages for numerous publications reveals that the trend is toward PDF/X1a and away from TIFF/IT-P1.

3. Web image format (JPEGs, PNG, GIF) — the least wanted file format

JPG (short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg) is a file format best used for photo images which must be very small files, for example, for web sites or for email. JPG uses lossy compression (lossy meaning “with losses to quality”). Lossy means that some image quality is lost when the JPG data is compressed and saved, and this quality can never be recovered.

GIF (short for Graphics Interchange Format) is a file format for storing graphical images up to 256 colors. It uses a lossless compression method which makes for higher quality output.

PNG (short for Portable Network Graphics) was created as a more powerful alternative to the GIF file format. PNGs are not restricted to the 256 color limitation of GIF files and have better compression. A PNG file can be saved with a transparent background which allows you to place your image on top of another image without an outlining white box.

GIF files are probably the most popular on the web being used in logos and color images. Even though PNG files are widely supported, GIF is still the most popular.

TIFF, JPEGs and PSD

TIFFs, JPEGs and even PSDs are what you should be saving your bitmap files as (the sort of things created in Photoshop).

TIFFs and PSDs are lossless. You don’t lose any quality by saving a file as a TIFF or PSD.

JPEGs normally lose quality when you save them but take up a lot less space on your computer. A very high quality JPEG is often not a lot different to a TIFF or PSD, but it does very much depend on the sort of image you’re saving.

A TIFF or PSD is normally a better option than a JPEG. But if you’ve been supplied with a JPEG, from a camera or stock photo website, and you’re not modifying the image then you will gain nothing from saving it as a TIFF or PSD. A TIFF or PSD cannot create detail where there was none in the first place. But a JPEG can remove detail where once there was some.

There’s a couple of thing to notice in the pictures here related to JPEGs. Firstly, JPEGs can’t handle spot colours. So when this JPEG was saved it converted the Pantone colour into a CMYK value. Secondly, the white space in between the red lines on the JPEG is filled with a very subtle yellow/grey tint. This is due to the compression.

Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.

5 things graphic designers are supposed to know when it comes to print

In the past decade, I’ve had a few hundred ‘just out of university’ graphic design interns through our door. Some with extremely portfolios of work, some with potential. Each time they have started, I have been astounded as to their almost ignorance of designing for print. They knew fundamentals of typography, white space, colour scheming, etc, however, they are ignorant about basic pre and post design stages.

We have created a list of the top 5 things that 80% of our new designers did not know when it comes to design for print.

1. True Black Color.

When you’re creating the artwork, and you pick black, even when working in CMYK, it reverts to almost black, (#000000 or 75/68/67/90 in CMYK) a default in the color picker. When this almost black goes to print, it comes out looking grey, which means unhappy clients.

Here’s the solution. Go to the color picker, and change the CMYK values to C50 M40 Y40 K100. True black for print, every time.

true black color CMYK value

2. Bleed and Crops.

Bleed is the area of artwork that is extended beyond the actual dimensions of the document. It is used to avoid strips of white paper showing on the edges of your print. That is, a background colour or image should spread to cover the entire bleed area. The standard for the ‘bleed’, the edge around the document that will be trimmed, will be 3mm. This means that every side of your document needs an extra 3mm added on to it. If designing in Illustrator, this is easy peasy japanesey.

bleed and crops

In the Illustrator, open a new document and you will see that there is a space for ‘bleed’. Make sure that this is set to 3mm for each the Top, Bottom, Left and Right, or that the link button is pressed.

set bleed in illustrator

Learn more here, http://blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/tutorials/designing-for-print-setting-up-crops-and-bleed

3. DPI and PPI.

PPI stands for pixels per inch. PPI is a measurement of image resolution that defines the size an image will print. An image that is 1600 by 1200 pixels at 300ppi will print at a size of 5.3 by 4 inches. Or it could be printed at 180 ppi for a printed size of 8.89 by 6.67 inches. The higher the ppi value, the better quality print you will get–but only up to a point. 300ppi is generally considered the point of diminishing returns when it comes to ink jet printing of digital photos.

DPI is better known as Pixels Per Inch, it is the measure of the resolution for printers. And it is often used interchangably with PPI, causing a lot of confusion, however, DPI refers to the resolution of a printing device.

When sending the artwork to print, you want to make sure that your dpi is set to 300. In Illustrator, this can be found on the New Document settings page.

4. PDF Formats.

Most printers will want you to send the final as vector PDF document. Using a JPG or PNG, will make it so that your text is fuzzy and your images less sharp. If you are using a combination of photos and art, then ensure that the photos were 300 dpi when you brought them in.

Printers have diferent requirements for formats (moo.com for example states in their preparing artwork section: ‘Make sure you pre-flight your PDFs using the ‘Adobe PDF/X-1a’ preset. This option can be found in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and more recent versions of Adobe Photoshop.’) Make sure you ask your printer before sending the artwork what they prefer. Below you can see the selection for PDF/X-1a.

5. Exporting PDF With Marks & Bleeds.

Your art should have been started with the 3mm bleed on each edge. To make sure that all of the appropriate crop, and printers marks are on the final PDF here is what you do.

1. go to File > Save As, and make sure that PDF is selected in the bottom drop down box.

2. Name your file, and hit Save. This will bring up the PDF dialogue box.

3. On the left hand side, hit the tab for ‘Marks & Bleeds’ Make sure the boxes are ticked for ‘All Printers Marks’, and under Bleed, ‘Use Document Bleed Settings’ Hit Save PDF and you’re done.

bleed and marks set

Wah-lah! Now you should have an exported PDF that has all of the pretty printers marks like this one.

marks pdf print

Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.

The print size, pixel dimensions and image resolution of a picture

People always have an illusion about the print size of a picture saw on the computer screen. They believe that the print size and quality will be same as the one they see on the pc screen. If you are one of them and are planning to print some professional quality pictures, the article below is highly recommended.

The print size of a picture can hardly be the same as the one you see on the screen. The monitor resolution play the tricks. Even for the same picture, the size displayed on the screen is different if the monitors have 2 different resolution. A monitor set to 800×600 will show an 800 pixel wide by 600 pixel tall image as a full screen image. On a monitor that is 1600×1200 the image will only take up 1/4 the screen. You might have thought it would take up half, but it’s actually going to be 1/2 as wide and 1/2 as tall (so 1/2 times 1/2 = 1/4). Long story short, the image will look much smaller on that screen even though the image is the same size.

Well, so how do we know the actual print size of a picture since we can not get this information visually on the screen? To get an answer to this quesiton, we need define the concepts below first.

Pixels, short for “picture elements,” are the building blocks that make up a digital image — the tiny individual dots that a digital camera uses to capture a scene or that a computer uses to display images onscreen. A file’s pixel count (or pixel dimensions) is arrived at by multiplying its pixel height and width (as in 3000 × 2000 pixels). The Pixel Dimensions section tells us how many pixels are in our image.

The easiest way I can explain image resolution is to say that more resolution means an image displays more detail (or is capable of displaying more detail). It is measured by the pixel counts either from the top to the bottom  or from the left to the right inside each inch of the image. The pixel counts inside each inch from the top to the bottom is equal to the pixel counts from the left to the right. In one word, the resolution (or “res,” for short), is the fineness of detail in a document, and is measured in pixels per inch (as in 250 or 300 ppi).

While the print size, also called document size  tells us how large the image will appear on paper if we print it.

For now, we have explained pixel dimensions, document size and image resolution. What is the relationship between these 3 factors?

pixel height = image resolution * document height

pixel width = image resolution * document width

Below is a picture I took of a fower by the river. Let’s open it in the photoshop to have a check.

document-size-pixel-dimensions-printing-size

I’ll go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen and choose Image Size, which brings up the appropriately-named Image Size dialog box:

image-size-photoshop

Let’s do the calculation.

1200 = 72* 16.667

800 = 72*11.111

Bingo, all is correct.

Here the image resolution is only 74 pixels per inch. However, if we want a professional quality print, we need increase the resolution to make the image suitable for printing. 300dpi is standard, sometimes 150 is acceptable but never lower, you may go higher for some situations. Image files with higher resolution (more dpi) will also have a bigger file size because they contain more data. Start with the biggest images you can but when putting images on the web they should be set to 72dpi, it’ll save you a ton of bandwidth and they’ll load faster. Yes, they’ll be smaller than the original but should in most cases be plenty big because of monitor resolution (ppi) sizes.

For more information about the resolution, please check the links below

http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1660204

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/essentials/image-quality/

http://www.vsellis.com/understanding-dpi-resolution-and-print-vs-web-images/

Shanghai DE Printed Box is a China medium-sized custom paper box manufacturer and packaging solution provider with facilities around 100,000 square meters in total. The company exclusively specializes in the supply and export of the custom paper boxes, including the paper printed boxcorrugated printed boxcosmetic paper boxrigid paper box, cardboard gift box and custom paper bag. If you have any questions about the custom paper box, or would like us to give you a price quote, please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us an email.