Basic Things To Check Before Printing Online

by . September 26th, 2013

If you’ve ever used an ordinary desktop printer to try to get professional-quality work done, you know how frustrating it can be. Rarely will colors appear exactly as they look onscreen. Rarely will your printer last a week without a hitch. With an offset printer, there are even more steps involved.

It’s safe to say that with so many things that can go wrong with any printing project, it pays to be prepared. Even the smallest color distortions can affect the final outcome of your projects. This is especially true when printing online- what you see on your screen might not be what we see from our end.

Here’re a few things you’ll need to know if you plan on going with an online printer.

Getting started

It’s important to include a Safety Zone in your submitted files, as this gives pre-press specialists some room to work with. Not including a Safety Zone may result in critical parts of your file getting cut off in the finished product. While we try to add one ourselves when we can, it’s simply not feasible in some projects without compromising some aspect of it.

Take care to add a minimum quarter-inch trim to your project.

While images intended for websites and viewing through computers and mobile devices are best done in RGB or PMS, projects intended for printing should ideally start on CMYK.  While a color model conversion can be done, there will always be some additional color distortion that you’d probably want to avoid.


Image orientation can sometimes be confusing. Make sure to have them all in the orientation you need to prevent unnecessary mistakes from happening.

As you’d guess, a higher resolution is almost always preferred.

Perhaps almost important as choosing a font that matches your brand and message is making sure your font size is large and clear enough to be comfortably read.

There’s a fine line between visibility on screen, and visibility on print. Seriously though, that line is about a quarter of a pt. thick.

Templates aren’t just for inexperienced designers. They can help make it a bit easier to understand what could be done before you get started on a project.


There are dozens of different file formats, and we are able to print nearly all of the most popular ones. It’s best to avoid esoteric file formats if you can, for a print project. This will help us prepare your file with fewer problems.

Here’s a list of accepted file formats with a short description of each:


We generally recommend 300 dpi as minimum. Larger resolution rates normally make for crisper finished prints. You can get away with less than 300 dpi if your prints aren’t intended to be viewed up close (such as banners intended to be viewed from a distance). For up close viewing though, we still recommend 300 dpi or higher.

Long story short – when in doubt of a resolution rat, go with 300 dpi. It’ll make for a nice balance between crispness and file size economy.

Here’s a few more things to look over before sending your file over.

Special thanks to Patrick and UPrinting for coming up with this infographic!

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Did we miss anything? What do you think? Feel free to comment below!.


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