We get lots of enquiries for bespoke stationery, particularly from small craft business owners. You may not know that as well as all of our notebooks and pads and whatnot, we also do the "essentials" like business cards, letterheads, posters..... anything you need really!
So with this in mind here are our top tips for saving artwork and images to get the best quality from your print…..
Jpeg (or Jpg) - Is an image file, usually a digital photograph would be a Jpeg. They can be used as print files, as long as the picture isn’t to be printed too big, generally they’re not very good for enlargements as the bigger the photo gets, the lower the image quality gets. When supplying for print, make sure the file is saved on the highest setting and it should be fine. (300dpi is a good standard, but you can also get an idea of quality from the size of it, 11kb will not print well, but 3mb probably will!)
PDF – is a printers favourite type of file, it maintains quality and it is “locked” meaning what you send us, is what we receive! Sounds obvious but with files such as Microsoft Word documents what you save at home can look a lot different on my screen at work – a PDF eliminates this problem. To create a PDF you will need Adobe Acrobat or a similar product, and to view them you will need Adobe Reader (which can be downloaded for free). A PDF is easy to create from software such as InDesign and Illustrator but “at home” users may have difficulty if they don’t have the right software. A free PDF printer driver such as “doPDF” (available from: www.dopdf.com) should do the trick.
GIF – an image file. Best suited to simple images to be used on websites. Not good enough quality for print purposes. AVOID!
Pack and Go (Publisher) – A lot of “at home” users create their artwork in Publisher which has a special feature for preparing your file for print, called Pack and Go. A publisher file saved in any other way can cause problems for a commercial printer so it is best to use this option – click on the File menu, then Pack and Go, then Take to a Commercial Printing Service. The wizard will guide you through the rest of the process.
Illustrator – Illustrator is fantastic piece of design software that makes it easy to save as a PDF file, but just one tip – always convert the fonts to outlines. This basically means that the fonts become images, rather than typefaces so if your commercial printer doesn’t have the same font as you, it won’t convert it to courier! This illustration shows how to do it:
Images from Google! We get a lot of images supplied that people have just found on Google Images – it seems an easy way to find a nice picture for your artwork but very often they are not good enough to print from. If Google Images seems like your only option then change your settings to those shown below – this will ensure that the largest of all the images are shown, giving the best chance of a printable one. Of course, the other thing to be careful of when using images such as these is Copyright, always check that you’re allowed to use the image in the first place!
Hope these tips help - feel free to get in touch with any queries or ideas!
Stationery Geek HQ xx