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Printing is one of those delightful things that straddles science and artistry. There’s a lot that can go wrong, but a lot that can right. This is our back-to-basics guide to helping you get to the fun end of that spectrum, and to help make your and our lives easier.

The less easy stuff

If you do these things we will be impressed and think you are a cool person.

Get your colours set up right.

Give us enough time to print your stuff.

Give us as much info as possible, and ask questions!

 
 

If you’re printing and your content goes right to the edge of the page, you need bleed. Just add a few millimetres to each edge of your page (3–5mm is heaps), and make sure it’s filled with an extension of the content on the page.

This way, even if the printer is half a millimetre out on its alignment (which it is very apologetic about), you don’t end up with half a millimetre of white and look like you forgot to add bleed and get laughed at by your friends.

Note that the printer isn’t tricked when you add “3mm bleed” to the end of your filename, and will laugh at you, too.

 
 

Our printers will always do their best to get your colours right, but there are a few things you can do to help.

For the most colour control on your end, use CMYK (with the colour profile FOGRA 39). Files in RGB will usually print fine, but often won’t be as bright as they are on your screen. If you do use RGB, we recommend Adobe RGB.

If you want to work in RGB, but don’t want any suprises, use “Overprint Preview”.

Be sure to check the box that says “include colour profiles” when you export, or the best we can do is guess at what kind of colours you’re expecting.

 
 

Here at Ink, we pride ourselves on being able to print at almost any size.

Depending on the printer and the material, we can print anything from 32mm across, up to 3m wide.

That said, in the vast majority of cases, printing to a common size does help things work quicker, smoother, and cheaper.

When you set up your file for print, whether it be in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, or any number of other pieces of software, you’ll be given a choice to pick a size. Take note of this, and choose wisely. Though we can resize things up and down at our end, problems with resolution will often arise, and in general we expect files to be set up at the intended size.

If you are printing at a size your file isn’t set up at, or at a non-standard size, please let us know as soon and as clearly as possible so nothing goes wrong.

 
 
Paper sizeDimensions
A0841 × 1189 mm
A1594 × 841 mm
A2420 × 594 mm
A3297 × 420 mm
A4210 × 297 mm
A5148 × 210 mm
A6105 × 148 mm
A774 × 105mm
Paper sizeDimensions
SRA0900 × 1280 mm
SRA1640 × 900 mm
SRA2450 × 640 mm
SRA3320 × 450 mm
SRA4225 × 320 mm
  
DL99 × 210mm
New Zealand business card90 × 55mm
 
 

As well as making sure your print is set up at the right size, you’ll also want to keep an eye on the DPI, or dots per inch of your files for print.

In the same way that the megapixels of your camera indicate how detailed your pictures are going to be, your print resolution indicates how smooth your printing will look, and if your images will look ‘pixelated’ once they’re on paper. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for at least 300dpi.

Large format printing where the viewer won’t get too close and personal with your print is more forgiving, and you can often get away with 150dpi if you’re sure no one is going to inspect your print too closely. At the extreme end of the scale, billboards and the like may be 30dpi or lower, as no one’s getting to close to them or inspecting them too closely.

If you’re working in Photoshop, don’t feel that you need to resample when you change your image size – if you’re shrinking the image you’re throwing away pixels you might want back later, and if you’re enlarging files you’re just making the file size bigger without adding any quality. In both cases, the file dimensions are most important, and making sure the resulting DPI isn’t too low.

 
 

Probably someone tried to print a file straight from Word or something.

Though our printers are bigger than the one you have at home, they are not necessarily smarter.

Despite their thousands of moving parts and the impressive noises they can make, our printers are inherently simple creatures. They perform best when given simple, descriptive instructions, and aren’t forced to make decisions on their own.

As a general rule, all our printers like PDFs, with as few fancy layers and blended parts as possible. Particularly when printing from Photoshop, please flatten your layers before saving to PDF, or the printer turns everything into these weird triangle things and it’s not a pretty sight.

For files from Illustrator and InDesign, layers are generally okay, but using blend modes such as multiply and screen can sometimes have adverse results. Any embedded files from Photoshop within your InDesign or Illustrator file should be flat, though.

For large format photographic prints, TIFs and JPGs are usually okay.

 
 

Your deadlines are our deadlines, and we’ll do our best to meet them. That said, the longer you give us, the more likely we are to get stuff done in time – especially when it’s particularly busy.

In ordinary circumstances, these are the approximate times we like to have to get jobs done:

Laser printing10–30min
Photographic prints15–30min
Poster prints20–30min
Trimming/finishing1–3hrs
Lamination24hrs
Large format48hrs
Mounting48hrs
 
 

If in doubt, ask questions. We’re always happy to fill in any gaps in your knowledge, or just confirm what you’ve always suspected.

Feel free to double-check that we’re on the same page, and that there won’t be any surprises when you pick up.

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