Are You Ready to Print?

by Daniel Moisyeyev – GWP Media

Virtually every business owner have had to engage the services of a professional printing company at some point. At the very least, you needed some business cards and that is something you could not do yourself (although I did come across entrepreneurs that saved money by printing business cards on an Ink-jet printer at home and proceeded to cut them with a pair of scissors – I do not suggest to go that route).

This article will help business owners go about having their materials printed.

Graphic Design

The first step in having your flyer, booklet or business card printed is to have it professionally designed and prepared for printing.

Graphic design process is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the printing industry. It is an all-too-common situation that printers are supplied with Word Documents, JPEG images, source Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator files and other inappropriate formats. I even had a customer send me through a PowerPoint file to go into print.

The graphic design service involves preparation of your presentation and final compilation into a print-ready format. That print-ready format is known worldwide as the Adobe PDF standard, with 300 dots per inch (dpi) resolution and a requirement to be in CMYK four-colour. Your document may also need extra design space extended beyond the set dimensions around it called “bleed” to assist with trimming. There are some other requirements, including crop marks and quality.

Unless you have such a PDF file professionally prepared, the printing job can not proceed. Keep in mind there is no middle ground – Word Documents and low resolution JPEG files do not constitute as graphic design and you will incur graphic design fees from your printer if you supply these.

“Free Graphic Design” Trap

It is a fairly common scenario for printers to include graphic design in printing costs. However, beware this scenario!

The graphic design service provided in this case is usually of very basic standard, and you will rarely get to keep the final artwork files – there is usually a buy-out fee involved that will surpass the costs in hiring a decent graphic designer in the first place.

Furthermore, the “free graphic design” may actually be included in the costs of your printed products.

You are pretty much guaranteed to find a lower price if you look around for standalone printing costs.

Digital, Offset and Rotogravure Printing

There are a couple types of printing technologies you will come across.

Digital Printing involves equipment that is not too dissimilar to an office laser printer, except much larger in physical size and with much higher output quality. Digital Printing is very effective for print runs up to 2000 units. This technology is almost always used for business cards. It is also the fastest printing method in terms of setup requirements.

Offset Lithography is the traditional printing technology. It is used for higher volume runs, where

it is more cost effective. This process requires
production of “printing plates” and is fairly involved. As offset printing requires a lot of preparation, the turn around can be quiet long.

Rotogravure is used for very high volume print runs. The process involves a very expensive process of producing “Gravure Cylinders” that allow the image to be engraved. This process produces highest image quality due to its ink transfer properties, however is not cost effective for smaller runs. This technology is used in the packaging industry.


Celloglazing involves coating of finished print materials with a thin film. This film is applied by a special machine that uses heated rollers to adhere the film to paper.

The result is a product that is well protected from elements and adds an “expensive” feel to the finished product.

There are two choices of celloglazing film: gloss or matte. Gloss produces a shiny/ reflective finishe, while matte results in a more conservative/dull finish.

Celloglazing can be applied to one or both sides of finished jobs. It is commonly used for business cards and is often referenced as “laminating”.


Trimming the final product is completed on a device called a “Gilloutine”. Printed materials are manually measured and cut according to dimensions.

Signs of poor trimming include inconsistent document size across the print run (e.g. a percentage of business cards that are longer than the rest of the set – caused by not accurately measuring the job). If you see a bad edge on your job that is not smooth, it is a sign of using dull blades. Some printers attempt to save on sharpening blades by exceeding the recommended number of maximum cuts.

If you need any help with graphic design and printing, please do not hesitate to contact GWP Media/ GWP Pritning now!

GWP Media

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