A conversation last week with a colleague reminded me of the value of providing clean graphic design files to a print house. Many business owners who hire a graphic designer may not realize it, but good printers are very particular about how graphics are submitted. And different printing processes and companies require different parameters.
It can get technical, but a clean file essentially has all of the parameters aligned with the specific printing process that you plan on using. Why should you care?
If the file isn’t properly prepared, that beautiful design you paid for might not look like what you expected when it gets printed. Or important images or text could be cropped because measurements weren’t precise. Or your text could reflow and you could lose part of your message. A good printer will catch problems before going to print, but they can charge you by the hour to fix it, or send the files back to your designer for changes.
Bottom line: Poorly prepared files can increase the cost of your project, and you could loose valuable turnaround time.
You might assume that this is something your designer automatically does. It would make sense for “Clean Files 101” to be part of every designer’s education—but it’s not. Many designers haven’t had the experience with all the ways printing can be done to make files consistently accurate. When I worked as the designer for a printing house, we would frequently receive great designs that weren’t ready for the press.
The next time you’re hiring a graphic designer for your marketing, consider asking them about their experience with printing, and if they can guarantee clean files. You’ll end up with a better product, and you might save some time and money.