Have you, as a consumer, ever wondered… why does my design get rejected every time I place an order? This is very common question, and it’s most often because software and applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Paint, and more, are allowing consumers to build simple designs as a means to an end to create a business card, poster or other printing project. However, these programs are very simple tools that allow you to create nothing more than a sketch for your design. Photoshop, Illustrator, and other professional design software allow for a more complete and refined result.
Remember that getting a file rejected by the printer will result in a longer turnaround time for your order to get printed. In addition, printers may even charge additional fees to get your file into ready-to-print conditions.
Avoiding Printing Issues
There are many ways to avoid getting your files rejected by the printer. The first is to hire a designer- a professional who has experience designing for printers. Generally party flyer designers have the most competitive prices, as they manage hundreds of club flyer designs per week.
Another choice would be getting a pre-designed template with the guidelines included from the printer, and laying out your design on top of the template file.
Last but not least, many printers are now acquiring an online design studio tool that will allow you to seamlessly design your business card, flyer or brochure during the checkout process with quality results. These online studios are often very easy to use and as user-friendly as programs such as Word, PowerPoint, or other software you may have used in the past.
What is a template?
A template is considered a pre-designed file which contains a preset format, and which works as a base for a future design. These template files are usually provided by the actual printer, and it should include the printer’s exact settings and requirements. Still, there are very basic rules that will be compatible with any printer in the market, and that is what I will show you how to build from scratch.
Building a template for yourself
One of the most challenging elements of the process of getting a printed product to your door is how to get started. Here, I will teach you how to create a basic 4″x6″ (generic postcard flyer size) template from scratch. A flyer is much simpler than a brochure because it doesn’t fold, and with a flyer you only have to design the front and back, whereas with a brochure with folds, there are four or more faces to create.
1st step, creating a new image (with bleed)
Open Photoshop, click “File” (on the top left corner), and then click “New”. A settings window will open and you will introduce the values and settings for the new file. this is essentially the most important part of the whole process.
Type a custom “name” for your new image. Then, under “preset” select “custom”. For the “width” option, select “inches” first, then enter the width of the flyer. In this example, it will be 4″ tall 6″ width flyer, but you want to type in 6.25″ for width and 4.25″ height, for bleeding purposes (the space left for when the flyer is trimmed). for resolution, you should aim for larger and better quality-building your design over 300 DPI in pixels is recommended. 350 DPI is ideal. For the “Color Mode”, select CMYK, and click OK.
The bleed: An extra margin specially designed for the space left after the cutting edge. It gives your design a much better finish and it allows the printer to play a bit with the precision of the cut, without harming the look of the printed unit. If a white border is left for a business card, and the cutter or paper moves even slightly, it becomes very noticeable. With a full bleed business card, you extend your graphics and background beyond the cutting line. This gives a safer margin and a better look for your flyer.
CMYK: An acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is the process used to separate an image into 4 different colors for the printing plates used by an offset printing machine. For your screen display it’s always best to choose RGB, but if you want to have something that looks closer to the realized design, use CMYK. That will help you figure out how colors will look on the finished piece.
2nd step, marking cutting edges
Create a 4″x6″ box that will act as our measurement margin guide, and center it in the middle of the design with the alignment tool. After you’ve created the box with the exact measurements, center it by selecting the box first, then clicking the “Selection” tool and selecting the whole working area of the image. Next, go to “Layer”, “Align Layers to Selection”, and then “Horizontal Centers” and “Vertical Centers”. Your box should now be in the center of the image leaving a border of your background color around the box.
Make sure you have the ruler active so that you can drag lines into your working area. Drag lines from the top ruler to the top and bottom borders of the box we created earlier. Drag two lines from the left ruler for the left and right borders of the box as well.
3rd step, safe area
Now you’ve gotten to the step where you need to create borders that will allow space for the printer to trim the edges of your poster. Remember to always allow extra space on the edges so that your text and content doesn’t get trimmed. For this step, select the box one more time, decrease the box size to 3.75″x5.75″, and center it again. Then re-do the ruler line for each side of the box.
Remember that all text should be inside of the content area, and maintain an additional margin from the marked ruler lines.