Design Software. Making the Right Choice.

October 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

Media Files and color qualityChoosing the wrong design software can be detrimental to a designer’s productivity and general sanity at the workplace. There are hundreds of different applications and add-ons in the form of plug-ins or extensions that can be purchased. Downloadable images and art all come in a variety of color spaces and resolution. Even templates are available online, but are they right? … Where do you start?

1.                 Work in the right software. Generally, graphic design applications can be grouped into three different categories: image creation and manipulation, illustration, and page layout software. Illustrator® is a drawing (vector) program, ideal for logos, packaging, posters and single-page layouts. Photoshop® is a pixel-based (raster) program that lets you size, color correct and manipulate scanned images such as photographs and flat art. Neither is intended for multipage documents. For that, use a page layout program such as Quark® or InDesign®. Microsoft programs such as Publisher® and Word® are not intended for page layout. If you use these programs, it is imperative that you create a PDF/X-1a.

2.                 Build to size. Build your files at actual size unless your final size is too large for your software to accommodate. A printed piece with a final size of 8.5 x 11 should be built to 8.5 x 11 page size. Spreads should be created as two 8.5 x 11 pages, not as a single 17 x 11 form. And always, always, always include bleed around the document. (Minimum of 1/16 inch)

3.                 Are your color and resolution ready for print? Always preflight your file to make sure your images are at correct resolution and consistent color. Many files are supplied or downloaded as RGB, Index, DCS, 300 DPI, or 72 DPI, etc, etc, etc. It is best for you to address these issues and do any conversions while the file is in your possession rather than at proof stage. It’s easy to be misled by some of the “out of gamut” color seen on the monitors.

4.                 Prevent problematic files long before the print stage.

  • Banding
    If possible, avoid using vignettes and gradients on large areas. Adding noise will help minimize banding.
  • Getting Rich Blacks
    Large areas of solid black benefit from an undercolor (such as 40% cyan) to deepen it – creating a “rich black.”
  • Font type, Size & Color
    Knockout type should be larger than 5 pt. and should only knock out of one or two colors. All type 5 pt. or smaller should overprint. Minimum type to knock out of a 4-color image is 8 pt. Minimum size on serif type is 5 pt. and should print in one color only.

Prisma Graphic has many tools available on their website to answer your questions, so you do make the right choice.

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Entry filed under: #1 printer in arizona, application add ons, application plug-ins, best printer in Phoenix, color correction, DCS 300 DPI, design software, docshop, DokShop, downloadable images, indesign, largest printer in Arizona, largest printer in Phoenix, number one printer in Arizona, photoshop, pixal based programs, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Prisma Graphic Voted #1 Commerical Printer in Arizona Third Year in a Row. Should I use RGB or CMYK??? – That is the question.

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