Common Misconceptions About Printing

Posted by Kelly Chen in Marketing

There are few things as frustrating as investing in printed marketing materials for your business or organization and having them misprinted or be of poor quality.

A lot of printing woes can be avoided by consulting with your designer and printer, and trusting their expertise. As a small studio working in both print and web design, we witness a lot of misconceptions about printing and wanted to share them:

Misconception #1: An accurate print can be obtained from a home or office printer
Home and office printers differ greatly from professional industrial printing equipment. Even your high-end consumer printer could never be fully calibrated to reflect the correct colour values of an industrial printer. Generally, images printed from home printers – especially inkjet printers – also lack a lot of clarity.

Misconception #2: A tiny low-res image grabbed off a website will suffice
Low-res or screen-resolution – 72dpi (dots per inch) – images are not meant for print. If you send a screen-resolution image to print, it will reproduce all pixelated, or in non-tech-y words: just plain fuzzy (and ugly). For offset printing, you want 300dpi resolution or vector images. Note: Billboards have a slightly different resolution requirement, but that discussion is for another time!

Misconception #3: The colour you see on-screen will look the same off-screen
On-screen colour is made up of red, green, and blue (RGB) lights, while printing ink comprises of four main colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black – or CMYK. (A more detailed explanation of additive and subtractive colour models would take a while, so let’s just leave these facts as is for the purpose of this quick post.) Since the colour makeup of on-screen and off-screen are different, the colours you see on a computer will never look exactly like the colours in print.

Misconception #4: It’s okay to skip the press-check
Sometimes clients don’t understand the importance of press-checks or feel that a physical press-check costs too much and they’d rather not pay for it. If you don’t pay for the press-check, you’ll probably end up paying more for a reprint! A press-check allows you to have one final look-over of the project before approval to run the entire job. If colours are not quite as you’d like or there is anything that isn’t reproducing as well as you’d hoped, this is your chance to adjust!

Misconception #5: Crafting or scrapbooking paper is suitable for printing
Specific printing jobs require specific paper, but specialty papers from a craft or art supply store are just that: papers for crafting and art projects. If you have a vision for a certain type of paper you’d like your project printed on, talk to your designer and they will get in touch with a paper rep to source the type of paper you need. If you’d rather skip the paper rep, the printer should also be able to advise you on what type of paper will or will not work for your project.

Have a print project you need help with? Get in touch with us today! We have a network of different printers and paper reps to tailor everything to your project’s needs.