Making sure your file is print-ready when you send it to the printer will save you time and
To help you we have compiled a list of the most common print file errors to avoid to make sure
your file is ready to go to print.
- Not Including A Bleed Area
One of the most common reasons that a print file is sent back from the printer is because it is
lacking enough bleed space.
The bleed in a design is the artwork which goes past the document edges.
There should be at least 3 millimeters for the bleed in a file and if you for large format printing
then you should allow even more bleed space. Make sure your graphics extend to the edge of
the page and keep text within the safety lines.
Design software like Adobe InDesign makes it easy to set guides for trim and bleed.
- Poor Image Resolution
Another common print file mistake is poor image resolution.
Make sure the photos you’re including in your print layout are high resolution. The standard
resolution for print materials such as print advertisements or brochures is 300dpi. The resolution
will vary or be less for large-format pieces like pole banners or transit wraps.
If you use a resolution that is too low, your image will be low quality and blurry. The resolution
you need will often be determined by the distance from which the piece will be viewed. Check
your vendor’s specs and print out a piece of your project at actual size to get an idea of what the
resolution will be.
When placing an image be careful of cropping, zooming in on and enlarging a small portion of a
photo, as this can greatly reduce the resolution. If you’re using images sourced on the web,
make sure you get the original photo. Often photos from the internet will be low quality because
they have been compressed and have lost information degrading the quality.
<include a picture to show the difference between a low and high-quality resolution image>
- Missing Fonts
When you’re packaging your file for print in Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, sometimes checking
the box to include fonts does not always ensure all the fonts included in your file will be included
in your package.
That is because some of the fonts included might be from Adobe Typekit. Most fonts are
licensed which allows for an easy handoff to your printer, but Adobe Typekit fonts are different,
and they do not allow themselves to be packaged. Check with your printer if they have Typekit.
If they do, they should be able to sync and access the font. Printers usually insist on being
provided the actual font, so you may need to purchase it. It is preferable if you provide the
source files to your printer for a complex job because it allows for control and flexibility with the
project. Most printers require PDFs and by default Typekit fonts do get embedded into digital
formats including PDFs.
Creating a PDF should embed your font automatically, but it never hurts to outline your fonts
just to be safe. Make sure to embed the fonts and outline them when you’re creating a PDF to
send to print. When you outline your fonts in Illustrator just select your text and click Type >
- Incorrect Specs
The most important thing you can do when you send your file to the printer is to check the
specs. Have your file built to the specs provided in a spec sheet, template, die line or in any
other communications you have had with your printer concerning the file details.
Even a small difference in the overall size of your project could require you changing paper and
press size and will likely result in you having to resize your layout.
- Wrong Colour Profile
When retouching your images, it is best to do it in RGB. Photoshop has a variety of filters that
are only available in RGB color mode. Make sure to work in layers and save the layered RGB
Photoshop document to allow for future editability. If the image files are large, be sure to flatten
them before you package them for delivery and retain the layered file just in case.
Most printers prefer to convert images to CMYK themselves using profiles that are specific to
the press and paper being used at their shop.
Avoid Mistakes Consult An Expert
Now that you understand some mistakes to avoid you should be able to send a print file that will
be delivered to you on time and on budget. If you still have any questions about how to set up
your file for printing, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly experts at Print Calgary at (403) 235-
1616 to help you.
Title 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Sending Your File
to a Printer
Meta Description Learn mistakes to avoid when setting up your
print file to send to your printer. Avoiding
these mistakes will keep your print project on
time and on budget.