The Importance of a Press-Ready Graphic Artist
While creating your own art sounds like a good idea to save yourself costs, many times it causes extra costs in reprints and extra time and hassle for you. This can easily be avoided by allowing our expert graphic artists create your art from concept to creation using proper color modes, image resolution, etc…
Shown below are just a few examples of why an experienced graphic artist is of great benefit to you. Even if you choose to still create the art yourself, the following examples of common art mistakes are of great benefit to help you in your venture to create your own art.
Press quality artwork is created with 4 colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black. This color mode is called CMYK (the K represents Black). These 4 colors are mixed together in various percentages which result in the finished print image.
RGB color on a monitor use light to create a visual reference for the color whereas CMYK uses ink to create the color. The color gamuts for RGB and CMYK can be similar for some colors (and the gamuts do overlap in some areas) but on many other colors they differ greatly. Again, this is why starting your design in CMYK mode is so important. For a more detailed explanation of CMYK & RGB color gamuts click on this link. Here are more explanations.
Images generated by PC monitors and printers only use 3 colors: Red, Green & Blue. This color mode is called RGB. RGB mode typically does not accurately convert CMYK mode and vice versa. The color blue, as an example, using certain cmyk or rgb values can “look” blue on a monitor but when printed can look more purple than blue. An experienced graphic artist would know this ahead of time and use proper CMYK values when creating the art thereby saving you time, hassle, disappointment and money. We can easily convert your RGB art to CMYK (and our software automatically does this) but this can create issues and unexpected results such as blue turning purple. This is why it’s a good idea to start the design in CMYK mode rather than converting to RGB later.
So, if artwork is created incorrectly in RGB and printed in CMYK then there’s a good chance that there will be color variations in the printed version. In Figure 1.1 below, the supplied images were created using CMYK color mode. In Figure 1.2, the same images were incorrectly created using RGB color mode, resulting in a green rather than the teal color necessary for this project.
Both looked nearly identical on the clients computer monitor but vary greatly as you can see from the figures below on the final print output.
Another common color issue when art is created by an inexperienced novice compared with an expert is the use of black or dark solid colors. For example, a large area using a dark color such as black should use “rich” black color values (a mixture of cmyk) if the intent is to create a vibrant color for that area. Most times an inexperienced artist will use what is known as “flat” black for those areas which uses 0% value for CM&Y and 100% for black (k) thereby creating a flat dull look when printed. Conversely, many inexperienced artists use the default rich black created by many program applications for small text used throughout the artwork which creates a muddled blurry look to the text when printed. An experienced artist would know to use flat black for those areas.
Another common issue with size and resolution is when an artist (even experienced ones make this mistake) actually use a high resolution image but scale it up from the original in effect lowering its resolution. For example, using a 2″x2″ original 300 dpi image and then increasing its size to 4″x4″ when you place the image in your art in effect lowers its final output resolution by half to 150 dpi! Again, most experienced graphic artists would know this ahead of time and save you the time and trouble.
Using “Vector” art for logos also gives you much better output than using images. Vector art is scalable to any size without any loss of clarity or resolution whereby images (such as tif, bmp, jpg, eps, etc…) are limited to the resolution of the original size.
Sizing / Templates
Using a proper template for your product is crucial for many reasons such as those listed above to avoid unexpected results. If you can not find a template for your product contact us and we will gladly email you the template for the product for which you are interested. Some clients provide us with art that was designed based on using a template from another disc provider. Keep in mind that while many products use “similar” sizes for discs, inserts, etc…, they are not exact and most every disc provider has slightly different template sizes for all their products. Therefor, providing art using a template from a different vendor is not advisable. If you have already designed your art using someone else’s template, we can check it for you against ours to ensure it fits properly and notify you if it doesn’t. We will gladly do this for you free of charge once your order is submitted, just make sure to let us know you didn’t use our template at time of order.
When submitting final art to us the final art should be based on our templates, in at least 300 dpi resolution, with proper Bleed/Trim/Safety proportions, and in high resolution or pdf format. Some clients submit photoshop pdf files (which is acceptable) so that if there is an issue we can correct it for you (non photoshop pdf and jpg files are mostly as-is and can not be altered by us). Do not include any guides or marks from the templates in your final submitted art. Those are for your reference only. Though not mandatory, you may also submit a second low resolution proof version including the guide marks.
Fonts / Typestyles and sizes
When viewing and designing art it is a good idea to keep sizes in mind. Many times you may be zoomed in at a much larger size on the monitor when designing your art and not realize the size of the text you are using is very small and will be almost illegible when printed. Conversely a large style make look good on the monitor but may look overbearing and unprofessional when printed.
As a general rule of thumb, if there are areas you would like small type used then 7 to 8 point type should be the minimum size you should use. Smaller than 7 point type becomes very difficult to read and enters into the area of “lawyer type”. Again, this is just a general rule of thumb but can vastly differ based on the actual typestyle font you choose. Some fonts (especially curved or cursive) can be difficult to read even below 12 point. Again, this is another area where an experienced artist would help eliminate the issue before it even begins.
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