DIY printing issues

Earlier in the month I covered some printing terms. The most downloaded image was this one, showing a quick guide on file types for print and web. Predominantly PDF are used in all types of printing. EPS files are for the professionals, so don’t freak out if you can’t open it, your designer and printer will be able to. So why do print suppliers, like Vistaprint, ask you to upload a JPG file for printing? I’m guessing they are going that way because DIY clients aren’t aware or able to make their print file submitted correctly.


So what will that mean for your printing? Colours are the first issue that come to mind for me. If you ever receive your printing back and the colours are not right, your JPG file is to blame. This maybe disclosed somewhere deep within their terms and conditions but ultimately when you click approved on the screen you are legally telling them you are happy with what you have submitted.


So why are the colours different? Unless you have software that can convert a CMYK print file into a CMYK JPG file, your colours will change. They may not look different on your screen, but they will when the file is printed. Printers print CMYK with the option of PMS (spot) Colours. So your file needs to be CMYK for the colours to be accurate. When you change to RGB you are altering the colour gamut. So your colours will be dull or darker when going from RGB to CMYK.


The other issue, printing from a JPG is the resolution. No I don’t mean that promise you make to yourself at the beginning of each year, I’m reffering to the clarity of your image. If you ever wonder why your JPG’s look fuzzy, it’s the resolution. The resolution on your computer screen is generally 72dpi. High quality printed photographs will be 300dpi or higher. So what’s dpi? Dots per inch. In short, the more dots generally the better quality image / file.


If you have read all of this and are second-guessing your printing choices, its time to speak with a designer. There are many designers out there, some work in agencies and others, like myself freelance. Freelancers generally have a lower rate because they have lower overheads. That doesn’t mean their quality of work is inferior. We’re a friendly bunch and don’t mind helping out. So if you have any further, questions don’t hesitate to contact me or your local designer. It might save you much more time and money than you anticipated.

What is your PMS Colour….WTF?

Ok so I will be covering some funny topics in this one. It is a compilation of the questions I am asked regularly as a designer. So be prepared for some nerdy design jokes…

What is your PMS Colour?

Ever been asked what your PMS Colour is? Awkward! No not really, the PMS I’m talking about along with most designers, signwriters and printers are Pantone Matching Systems.  Nothing to do with lady things. PMS colours are a way to ensure your brand is printed or re produced using the correct colour.

When sending your logo to a company for reproduction you should also include the PMS colours and a style guide. Don’t have one? Then your designer has been slack! Email me to find out more.

WTF is Bleed?

Again, nothing to do with lady things I swear! Bleed is the term used by printers and designers alike. It is your design file that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. So when you have a poster that you want the print to go right to the edge so there is no white showing, you would add bleed. The bleed will be trimmed off so there is no white showing.

Crop marks

Crop marks go hand in hand with bleed. This is the final trim size of your document. So going back to the A4 size print. Say you added 3mm bleed all the way around the edge, then the actual file size would be 220mm x 307mm. The trim marks would show the finished file size which would be 210mm x 297mm.

Print ready files

Next time you are ordering printing and you tick the box to say your files are print ready, are you sure they are? Have the fonts been embedded? colours converted to CMYK for digital printing? Do you have bleed and crop marks?

If none of this made sense to you then your files are not print ready. What dose that mean for you? There are a few things, your printer will charge you extra to make sure your files are print ready or your printing may not turn out how you wanted. Colours amy be off and text might be different. So who is responsible for the end product? Well you are, you ticked the box stating your files were print ready.

Next time you are wording prints, make sure they are print ready. Speak to your designer or ask your printer. They want your job to be prefect too. If you are still unsure, email me. I’m happy to take a look for you free of charge!



Social Media for business

Do you have social media for your business? Most companies do these days. It can become quite overwhelming when you are trying to juggle so many things. Depending on your industry, social media posts are probably the last thing on your mind. I think many businesses need to start taking it more seriously. It is an actual job now (believe it or not!) and no I don’t mean sitting on Facebook all day stalking people or trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

Medium to large companies hire internal social media specialists. They do everything from social media plans, events, advertising and discounts. Social media isn’t as spontaneous as you may think. Instagram for example isn’t so instant. Companies are uploading and posting from their desktop, not a mobile device. Each post is carefully edited to grab your attention. They know through their pages analytics exactly when to post depending on their targeted audience. My husband calls is sorcery or the dark arts but I can assure you it’s not.

So why is social media important in business? One good reason is your clients aren’t necessarily using google to search for a business. Facebook is becoming a chosen platform to search businesses, products, services and even sell items. Why? Because it is now, in real time. They can see if you have been active on your social media site and they can see interaction between you and your clients. Its all timed and dated. Websites aren’t, with the exception of sites with regular blogs or have an online store, most websites are static. Basic details with a few images. Not unlike mine. But go to my social media and you can see what I have been doing and on all my platforms. Yes it can be repetitive but people that use Facebook aren’t necessarily on Twitter and so on. That is why I cover so many social media pages.

Hands down the most popular service I offer is social media plans.

So here is whats included in the price:

  • Social media plan for a month for one social media site or all (Instagram is an extra $50)
  • Custom graphics and links for each post
  • Custom copy for each post tailored for each platform
  • One post every second day
  • Industry specific hashtags
  • A emailed plan of when and what will be posted for your approval
  • Last but probably the most important, confidentiality. No one wants to find out all these amazing looking posts on your page are from some freelancer from Brisbane!

If your still reading this and haven’t died from boredom or being distracted by your Facebook feed then I know you are interested in improving your business image online. I offer a range of services to help you achieve your goals. I can customise packages to suit your requirements. Email me today to discuss further.


Have an amazing weekend!

Tracey O’Brien xx