Let’s face it, printing can be a bit tedious. From choosing the right paper stock to getting print settings just right, there are many small–yet crucial–details to consider in order to get a quality output.
Whether you’re a novice printer or an experienced professional, I’m sure you’re always on the lookout for ways to make your work easier and more efficient. To save you time and stress, we’ve scoured the internet and came up with some of the most practical printing tips that can help enhance your output.
From understanding resolution settings and paper types, to exploring color management techniques, we’ll cover all you need to know about printing smarter—and better. So let’s get started!
Choose the Right Print Media:
Choosing the right print media can be the key to successful printing. It’s essential to understand the different types of paper and other print media available in order to get the best results. Print media choices include paper, cardstock, envelopes, transparencies, and specialty papers such as vellum and tracing paper.
Each type of paper has its own unique characteristics—differentiated by thickness and texture—that will affect the final output. For instance, if you are printing a presentation where you need a professional look, a high-quality cardstock may be your best choice. For documents that need to remain legible for an extended period of time, acid-free paper is your best bet as it won’t fade or yellow over time. You may also need to consider heavier stock if you are printing on both sides of the page or using extra-large images or graphics to ensure that your document lies flat and looks sharp.
Do some research ahead of time and select the best print media for your project—the right choice can make all the difference in achieving quality output!
Select the Best Print Settings:
Are your printouts coming out looking blurry or pixelated? Or worse yet, are they coming out with the wrong color? Don’t worry; you’re probably just using the wrong print settings.
To ensure quality printing, you’ll need to choose the best print settings. All printers have different options and features, so consult your printer’s manual if you’re unsure of what to choose. Here are some TIPS:
- Paper Size: Before hitting “print,” make sure to select the correct paper size. Different printers allow for different sizes, so choose the right one for your project.
- Print Quality: If you want to enhance the quality of your printouts, select a higher quality setting than default. Most printers offer settings like “High Quality” or “Photo Quality” when printing materials with intricate details.
- Color Settings: Printer color settings can be tricky, and it’s important to get them right in order to avoid any mistakes or surprises when your prints come out! Printing in an RGB (Red Green Blue) color space will provide better accuracy for digital photos and images, while an CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black) color space will be better for printed documents with a lot of text.
Understand Your Paper’s Weight and Finish:
When it comes to printing, the type of paper you use matters a lot. That’s why it’s important to understand your paper’s weight and finish before you hit print.
The weight of a paper is measured in GSM or grams per square meter. The higher the number, the heavier the paper—making it more durable and less likely to tear or crease. Generally speaking, the heavier the paper is, the better quality your end product will be.
Another key point to consider is the finish your paper has. Does it have a gloss, matte, satin or uncoated finish? This will determine things like color vibrancy and drying time for any ink you use.
You want your finished print project to look professional, so carefully consider both weight and finish before you start printing. It will save you time (and possibly money!) in the long run!
Pick the Optimal Printing Resolution:
When it comes to printing, resolution plays a big role when it comes to the quality of printouts. You may be tempted to always pick the highest resolution, but that’s not always practical or economical. Generally, 300dpi or higher works well for tasks such as brochures and flyers, while 200dpi is usually enough for basic documents.
If you’re working with an image-heavy document, you’ll want to bump up the resolution—otherwise you may find your images printing blurry. If you’re stuck between two similar resolutions, go for the higher one—this will guarantee that your prints are clean and crisp.
To fine-tune your document even further, here are some additional tips:
- When working with photos, an even higher resolution than 300dpi is recommended. A good rule of thumb is to set your resolution at least three times higher than the actual size of the print you desire—this way you can guarantee that the photo won’t end up pixelated when printed.
- If you’re dealing with vector graphics that need to fit in a certain space on a page (like a logo), consider setting your resolution lower than 300dpi while keeping an eye on its size.
- Consider increasing your settings if you plan on printing out materials to showcase in exhibitions or art galleries—high quality prints will draw attention and look great in person!
Consider Printing Environment Factors:
If you’re looking for ways to enhance your printing experience, you need to pay attention to more than just the paper and ink. Environment can also play a major role in the quality of your prints.
Here are two important environment factors to consider:
Temperature & Humidity:
Temperature and humidity can affect the drying time of the ink, which is why it’s important to find a climate-controlled environment in which you can print. If your space isn’t air-conditioned, make sure you keep an eye on external temperature and humidity levels as they vary during the day.
Poor ventilation can also become an issue, especially if you’re using large format printers at home or in an office with limited airflow. Make sure your workspace is well ventilated and that you open windows or use fans when printing larger jobs. This will help keep the air fresh and minimize any drying issues that might arise.
By taking these environment factors into account, you can be sure that your prints will come out just as good (or even better) as they would in a professional printing shop.
Check Your Design Before Committing to Print:
Once you have your design ready to go, the last step before printing is to check it carefully. First, it’s important to make sure the spelling and grammar are correct. One small mistake or typo can make a huge difference in how your finished product looks — not to mention how professional it appears. It’s also a good idea to check that all the images/graphics you’re using are of a high quality and resolution so that they print clearly when printed.
Finally, double check that everything fits perfectly on the page and that there is no wasted space or elements that should be revised. This last step is especially important if you’re printing with a smaller format printer as there may not be enough room on the page for larger designs.
To ensure your design looks perfect before committing to print, here are some practical printing tips:
- Measure twice, cut once. That’s right—measure all of your elements carefully before you print them to make sure they correctly fit on the page or your chosen material (e.g., poster board).
- Reduce/enlarge images accordingly to fit the desired size of printed material. Images of different sizes will look distorted if not properly adjusted before printing.
- Check for any jagged edges or wrong colors within two minutes of printing—these are signs of an incorrect resolution setting and should be corrected before proceeding with draft prints
- Use bleed settings on your software program to ensure you don’t get any white borders when you print onto an edge (like a business card).
In conclusion, being more knowledge about printing is important, not just for professional printing jobs, but also for everyday printing. This includes becoming familiar with the different printing techniques, hardware, and software that help you create printed materials.
By following these printing tips, you can enhance your output and create better quality prints. Not only that, but you’ll save money in the process by avoiding costly mistakes. Whether you’re a professional printer or an amateur, these tips will help you get the best possible results from your printing projects.