Commercial Printing 101 – Yes… you have time to bleed!

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 03:35 PM

Say what you want about the movie Predator, it’s consistently rated on MANY lists as one of the best SciFi/Action/Adventure/Bang-Bang-Shoot-Em-Up movies of our time.   It also features on of the best movie quotes of all time (in my humble opinion.)

 

Blaine Cooper (played by Jesse Ventura) is told by his cohort Pancho, “You're bleeding, man. You're hit.”

Blaine’s reply: “I ain't got time to bleed.”

Of course in the wonderful world of printing and graphic design, BLEED takes on a completely different meaning.

So… what is BLEED?Universal Printing provides an example of page bleed

In printing, the term “bleed” is used to describe any time that the printing goes all the way to the edge.  This can be photos, background color, bars, shapes, borders, clipart; pretty much ANYTHING that runs off the edge.

In order to make this happen, printing companies will ALWAYS print the job on a press sheet larger than the final size of the piece.  When the files are created, they need to be presented to us oversized, with trim marks and bleed.  In the example to the right, you see that the crop marks show the cut lines inside of the total image area.   Rather than cutting your final piece SMALLER, it’s best if you provide the image LARGER, so that final sizes are accurate.

Why do printers need bleed?

Depending on the type of equipment any printing company is running, there is a possibility of some “bounce” or movement from sheet to sheet.  The sheets will always be the same size, but the position of the image can vary slightly.  Some digital equipment, for example, might have a tolerance of 1/32" of an inch in any direction.   Doesn’t sound like much, but if one sheet is 1/32" to the left, and another is 1/32" to the right, that’s a difference of 1/16" from one sheet to the next.  When these sheets get cut down, there could be white showing on 1 or more edges from sheet to sheet, as seen below.


This is what COULD happen without bleed!

How do I make sure bleed happens?

Depending on the program you’re using you, you’ll need to do TWO things to ensure that your files include bleed.

1.  Make sure your page size correctly.

If your program uses “Artboards” or “Pasteboards” (like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, MS Publisher, Quark, etc.) then you’ll set your page size to the ACTUAL finish size.  Your program will allow you to set your bleed area later.  

If your program does NOT use art boards (like MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Photoshop, etc.) then you’ll need to set your page size LARGER (knowing what we’ll need to cut the edges off…. So if you want it to be 8 1/2" x 11 inches, you could make your page size 9” x 11 1/2" and know that we’ll cut 1/4" from all sides.

2.  Set guides and margins for trims and “safe areas”

Even if you have bleed set up for your files, you’ll want to keep live type and important elements away from the trim edges.  You should keep these things at LEAST 1/8" away from the trim edge, but 1/4" is preferable

3.  Extend your bleed elements and images

Make sure ANYTHING that bleeds off the edge, is extended at LEAST 1/8" past the final trim area.

4.  Producing your final files

Whether you are printing to a PDF, exporting, saving as, or whatever method you are using, you’ll want to ensure the final page size is large enough to include the extended bleed elements.  If possible, crop marks and bleed marks should be added, too.

 

The point is, no matter WHAT program you’re using, bleed is possible and should be provided.  When you are reviewing your files, whatever your final size is, the pages should display slightly larger, as shown above.  

Bottom line:  If you want to get the best printing results, you need to start with good files.  Jesse Ventura may not have time to bleed…  but you or your graphic designer do!

 

If you need further help understanding how to prepare your files for print, feel free to browse our blog, or contact any member of our helpful staff.  Our Customer Service team will be more than happy to give you any guidance.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, commercial printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, CS5 tutorials

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | InDesign Columns

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jul 08, 2011 @ 04:37 PM

Adobe InDesign continues to refine and improve it's tools. The video below is a review of the Column Splitting and Spanning feature, which helps eliminate the need for multiple text boxes.  This is ESPECIALLY handy for magazine and newsletter layout, where you might have multiple headers and the potential for far too many text boxes.  If you've been doing Graphic Design and Page Layout for very long, you've no doubt already dealt with clients or editors who've made very substantial changes, maybe even massive re-writes, which requires a major amount of reflowing and rearranging of your layouts.   Life will be so much easier if you use this simple and handy technique to eliminate unnecessary text boxes and keep things neat, tidy, and easy to rework if needed.

Another important point to make is this: The faster and more efficient you can work and rework your projects, the more time you'll have to take on more.  Your clients will be happy with how quickly you can turn out their projects, and you'll be happy with the time you'll save.  Just remember, when everyone is so happy, that Universal Printing was here for you the whole time, sharing our tips, tricks, and experience, to help you become a better designer and have better files for printing.

And as always, many more tutorial videos like the one above can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, commercial printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | Coils and Spirals

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Jun 09, 2011 @ 03:36 PM

Adobe Illustrator has also been the Graphic Designer's "go-to" program for creating and manipulating vector based artwork. It's withstood the test of time, and each release keeps getting better and better.  Granted, some people will always defend their personal preference (Like those die-hard, loyal CorelDRAW fanatics, who are convinced their program is the best.)  Personally, I actually enjoy illustrating with Flash because I think Bézier curves are a bit archaic and Flash handles line art in a more fluid and hand drawn manner.... but that just MY opinion.

The point is: regardless of personal preferences, Adobe Illustrator is top of the pack and rightfully so.  Also, no matter how long you've been using Adobe Illustrator, there's a good chance that you've barely scratched the surface when it comes to all the neat effects and features they've packed into it.

This week our Art Director, John Francis, shares a couple of very cool features: 3D revolving and surface mapping.  Check it out and have fun playing with these effects. In our example, we're making coils and spirals, but you can use the same process to make all kinds very cool 3D patterns and objects.

More tutorial videos like the one shown above, can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, digital printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews, Illustrator Training video, training video

So you need some brochure design, eh?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, May 13, 2011 @ 05:01 PM

Tri-fold brochures are one of the most common types of marketing pieces.  They are thin and convenient to carry, or can easy used as a self-mailer.  They offer a slight element of surprise by enticing the viewer to open it and see what’s inside.  Despite how familiar most consumers are with this format, it’s still surprising how few people know how to properly setup their files to create one.

Granted, you might not be using an Adobe application like InDesign or Illustrator. We understand! Not EVERYONE is using top-of-the-line graphic arts software.  SO… if you are stuck using something like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or even Publisher (ick…) there’s still a RIGHT way to set up your files.

If you are like 99.9 % of Microsoft Word users, you’ll probably start with a New blank page… and then divide the sheet into three equal columns.

WAIT!!! STOP RIGHT THERE!!!!!

Stop Sign

 

If this is what you’re about to do…. It’s WRONG!   Now this doesn’t make you a terrible person; it just means you didn’t know any better – and that’s okay.  You’ve come for help and we’re here for you.

Anytime you fold something, the inside panels will ALWAYS be shorter than the outside panels. The thickness of your paper would determine how much smaller. For regular paper weights, 1/16” is standard and for cover weights, about 1/8” will work. In the Tools section of our website you can use our handy-dandy Folding Guide.  There you’ll find the dimensions for most common sizes, as well as the ability to calculate fold panels for any size sheet.  You’ll also see that this same concept works for all types of folds.   While you’re visiting the Folding Guide, you can also learn about french folds, double-parallel folds, gate folds, and more! 

To help get you started, we’ve built a few Trifold Brochure templates: 

MS Word Template MS Publisher Adobe InDesign

Go ahead and download them, but take a look at the guides to see how everything is structured.  You’ll notice all of the margins and guides are setup to make your brochures fold properly.   And don’t forget to bookmark www.universalprinting.com for immediate access to our folding guide, proportion calculator, DPI calculator, and a variety other tools and essentials.

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, commercial printing, CS5 tutorials

Digital Image Editing | Removing an Image From It's Background

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Photoshop has come a long way since its original release back in 1991.  Sure... I know some of you hardcore Adobe fans will argue and say it first came out in 1988. But let's get real... Photoshop didn't REALLY become impressive until it's version 2.0 release. 

Like most commercial printing companies, we use Photoshop ALL the time.  Probably more than most, since we also offer in-house graphic design. Our art director, John Francis, has put together a super helpful and easy to follow tutorial that shows how to remove the background from an image.Mouse Image from Stock Photography

Once you go through this tutorial, you will be able to take any image and remove the subject from its background.  This will allow you to easily drop the image into another layout from Adobe Illustrator or InDesign without the need to spend a lot of time tracing or created complex clipping paths. This is also helpful if you need to replace the background with another Photoshop image.

Sample of Image placed into a layout

 

More tutorial videos like the one shown below, are featured on our YouTube channel.  Need help setting up a calendar, or samples of the latest tools and effects in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop? Using CS4, or want to learn more about CS5? Maybe you just want to know the fastest way to get those special text effects. Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video responce on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions!

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, CS5 tutorials, Adobe Photoshop, training video, Photohop

How to Save PDF files for better printing!

Posted by Universal Printing on Wed, Jan 05, 2011 @ 11:30 AM

20 years ago a very wise man named John Warnock came up with a GENUIS idea for a system that would allow files from any computer or application to be viewed or printed on any other computer regardless of whether the other machine had the original software application, fonts, graphics, or anything else. This system which he named Camelot, went on to become the Portable Document File Format released by Adobe in 1993. Since then PDFs have become not only the standard, but in many cases a REQUIREMENT for graphic design and commercial printing professional worldwide.

PDF-based workflows are simply the BEST!

They are quick, robust, efficient; you just never want to go back to the OLD days of traditional postscript or linotype, bristol boards and wax paste-ups, or shooting negatives way back when. 

So yes... PDFs are amazing! They're self-contained, compact, and as the name suggests, PORTABLE.  Of course, there's a downside: PDFs have to be created properly!  Even though Acrobat has gotten much more robust, and programs like PitStop allow some pretty intensive editing capabilities, it's tricky business to try to fix files that weren't made correctly.  Creating bleeds that don't exist are difficult and sometimes impossible. You can't simply add resolution to a photo that was compressed too much.

Quality PDFs depend on choosing the right settings. 

Our Acrobat Distiller Settings page contains all the information needed to properly set up your PDF print drivers, or your Acrobat Distiller defaults for any files you wish to send us for production.  Also, the video below shows how to create your PDF presets for any Adobe product step-by-step.  We used InDesign for the tutorial, but it works the same in any Adobe program, and is very similar in almost any other software application.

If you have any other questions about setting up your files, please contact any of our Customer Service Representatives or any other member of our Universal Printing staff

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

Tags: printing, graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, commercial printing, printing services, CS5 tutorials

More Tips and Tricks for Your Graphic Design Portfolio

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 @ 09:42 AM

Here's another great trick for blending spot colors in Adobe InDesign, as explained by John Francis, Art Director for Universal Printing.  If you like this video, feel free to check out our other helpful tutorials.

More tutorial videos, like the one shown above, can be found on our YouTube channel. Let us know if there are any other tips or  tricks you'd like to see by leaving your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video responce on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, CS5 tutorials

Staying Ahead of the Graphic Design Software Game!

Posted by John Francis on Tue, Nov 09, 2010 @ 11:00 AM

Universal Printing installed our copies of Adobe Creative Suite 5 three days after the major upgrade release in April 2010. We’ve had a few patches and a few minor program updates to address crashing, some PDF creation issues and general compatability, but all-in-all, it’s a worthwhile, stable upgrade with some nice new features.

Universal Printing reviews Adobe CS5

 

I always like new goodies. I’m a six year-old at holiday time when new graphic design software arrives on my desk. "Let’s install it and see what it does!"  Inevitably it crashes, as many new initial releases do, but we plug along to learn why it crashed. Can we find a work-around? What happens when a client adopts early too… can we get their job to rip?

At Universal, we know that there are always early adopters of new software. We strive to adopt software upgrades on or near release dates so that we may discover the problems and find solutions. We understand that many of our customers are like us: anxiously awaiting new software and we want the bragging rights of, “We’re using it first!” Let’s get it, install it and be ready when the jobs come in.

Now that six months have passed since it’s release, I can say that CS5 is working smoothly in our design and prepress workflows.  Some of the great new features of just InDesign have made the upgrade worth adopting early in my opinion.

I like to consider myself a production-oriented designer: work efficiently and churn out jobs. I don’t care for large learning curves and programs without option improvements slowdowning my pace. I’m still not a fan of multiple mouse movements and I use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible.

For years I have wanted multiple page sizes built into InDesign and not as an additional plug-in. It’s here. For hyper-organized designers like me, it’s nice to keep a business card, a letterhead and an envelope for a client in one file. You can manage just one color palette and one list of style sheets. Additionally with multiple page sizes, you can create fold-outs and set-up tri-fold brochures with folds that allow for folding and trim off of the ‘short’ panel. Trifold brochures are never 11 divded by three. You need to accommodate for folding. (See our folding guide for help with this.)

Another great new feature of InDesign CS5 is Column Spanning. Say you have a three column text box and you want your heading to span all three columns. Previously you had to create two separate text boxes – one for the heading and one for the copy. Now you keep your heading in the copy box and tell it how many columns you’d like it to span and as you adjust the copy box size, the header adjusts with it – it’s great for callouts too. You can span text across column boxes anywhere in the copy flow.

Step and Repeat has had a revamp as well. Instead of just being able to step horizontally or vertically, you can now step both X and Y and create grids.

I have mentioned to other colleagues before that I don’t like to run Adobe Bridge. It’s a ‘portfolio’ style browser that ties together the CS5 suite to browse photos, snippets, clippings, etc. My feelings are that Bridge is a memory hog and slows down the system; just one more thing running in the background. CS5 debuted the ‘Mini-Bridge’ in InDesign which makes placing folders of photos and items easy by displaying just their previews in a simple palette within InDesign which releases the system from the entire Bridge file management system; it’s like a handy library of your images and stuff in one palette – very handy if your working on image intensive workflows like catalogs.

Lastly, the Layers Palette in InDesign has been improved. It’s more like Illustrator with sublayers and the ability to select everything on a layer at once. For a long time, one of my beefs with the Creative Suite has been that, yes, they look similar, but things are not in the same place or have different icons, or functionally not compatible across the suite programs. CS5 is finally starting to close that gap and programs are starting feel similar and functionality is starting to carry over from program to program with in the Suite.

Overall, I have been pleased with CS5 since day one, but I’m a techno-geek who would have installed it even if I knew it would crash right after install. It works well in our automated workflows and direct to plate systems with just a few minor quirks remaining to be fixed. I would recommend upgrading if you’ve been dragging your feet.

Tags: Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, printing services, CS5 tutorials, product reviews

Tips to enhance your graphic design portfolio

Posted by Universal Printing on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 @ 01:42 PM

John Francis, Art Director for Universal Printing, has created some helpful videos of "tips and tricks" for helping you get noticed and stand out from your competition. Before setting up your files, watch some of our helpful tutorial videos like the one shown below.

And remember... you don't have to be a design expert! You're always welcome to enlist the help of our Graphic Design team to help you make a statement, refine your message, and stand out from the rest of the pack.  Afterall, if you can't get noticed you can't deliver your messege, right?

 

Universal Printing Graphic Design Portfolio

Universal Printing has offered award-winning graphic design services for the past three decades. Click the graphic above to check out our online graphic design portfolio!

More tutorial videos, like the one shown above, will be featured on our YouTube channel in the future. So tell us what you're looking for! Need help setting up a calendar, or samples of the latest tools and effects in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop? Using CS4, or want to learn more about CS5? Maybe you just want to know the fastest way to get those special text effects. Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see; leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video responce on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, G7, CS5 tutorials, Illustrator Training video