Six Things To Consider When Preparing Your Web Layout For Print

Posted on October 24, 2012 by

Many web designers feel reluctant when clients ask them to design a web layout for print. Luckily, making a successful jump from online media to printed design is relatively easy and you only need to understand a few key standards. You should also understand how a print designers plan a project. When putting together a project, take into account format, medium and printing press. It’s also necessary to understand how colors work in printing design. Print designers also study what they are printing on and what kind of press is used. Talk to your team and ask whether any of them is experienced in printing processes. These are a few things to consider when preparing your web layout for print project:

1. Paper type
Determine what your team will be printing on. Newsprint, copy paper, or glossy paper? Each medium involves a set of unique considerations. Thinner paper may have a degree of softness in text and images, because it tends to have more bleed between the paper and ink. Also, due to longer drying time, thicker paper can sometimes cause smudging. Each printing method has different quirks. How sharp is the registration? Are certain colors heavier than others? These are only a few things you want to account in print design planning.

2. Software
For print designers, Adobe InDesign is a preferred tool, which is used for designing various print materials from business cards to leaflets to newspapers to magazines. InDesign can be used for many other applications, but the software is the industry standard in printing business. A part of InDesign’s appeals is similarities with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Shortcut keys, icons and buttons are the same. And if you buy the Adobe Creative Suite, InDesign is already included in the software package.

InDesign is specifically used to prepare and create print projects. You start by creating a new document of any size. Compared to the limited palettes of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign offers more functionality when working with typography. InDesign settings and interface also make easy for inexperienced print designers to meet a unique specification prior to publication.

3. Color
Successful print projects hinges on color choices, but often it is more important to take into account how print colors are composed before everything hit the press.

• RGB and CYMK
Online designers use red, green and blue (RGB) formula. This is a standard for how computers display color accurately. On the other hand, print designers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CYMK) to create hues. Designers need to create colors based on where the project will be used – print or online. Because layers of ink are based on CYMK, print designers need to understand why a color conversion from RGB is important.

• Black
Black is a special color in most print projects. Print designers have three options when creating black for CYMK-based printing – 100 percent black, four-color black and rich black. On many printing presses, rich black is commonly used for solid, large areas. Rich black is intended to give designers richer color that doesn’t look gray in certain situation, something that can happen even with 100 percent black. On types of press with keen registration, rich black should be used for larger types. Print designers create rich black by using C30, M30, Y30, K100 formula – 30 percent for each cyan, magenta and yellow and 100 percent for black.

True black is commonly used for small text in newspaper, books and magazines, because it doesn’t have issues related to registration. However, true black can have gray or washed out look when used in larger spaces. Four-color black has many color-mixing combinations and uses each of the printing plates. Experienced print designers know that four-color black is particularly risky and they usually avoid using in it in most projects. Mixes of four-color black (including rich black) shouldn’t be used for any text block, because skews in registration may render the text unreadable.

4. Fonts
Fonts can pose a huge problem during a transition between the computer and the actual printing process. To ensure your fonts appear as designed, turn text into outlines or send the fonts along with the print project. Adobe InDesign allows you to send fonts to your printer using the preflight or package options. This method creates a folder filled with your original images and fonts that you can submit along with the finished print file. Another option is to turn your text into outlines, which can turn letters into images. This shouldn’t be a problem because you no longer edit the text in the final printing process. Texts converted to outlines will be compatible with any printing process, because the final print file no longer contains actual fonts. Just remember to keep different versions of your final print file – one with fonts converted into outlines and another with real fonts. If you no longer have a version with real fonts, a simple editing task may take many hours of hard work.

5. Resolution
Most printing projects require images submitted at 300 dpi or more. This is much higher than the standard web publication at 72 dpi. Files created at 72 dpi will become pixilated and blurry when stretched to 300dpi, resulting in poor final products.

6. Size
Print designers need to meet a specified size. If clients call for 8 x 11 inch printed material, the size of the digital document should be just that. Files with wrong orientation and size will be rejected by the printer.

Converting and preparing digital projects for print take time and planning. Web designers should have good understanding on printing process to improve the chance for success. They should also be aware of the difference in both publications. When preparing print projects, they should configure the printer in advance to nail down specs properly before they hit the press.

Author :

  • Adam Scott