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My winning award from freelancer

 

 

Project for SatishChandila.com

$70.0 USD

he is very creative and talented and easy to work with !!! he keep me informed the entire time and was quick to make changes.

I will seek out his help in the future for the company designs.

grouptransport Flag of United States 1 week ago.

 

Book Cover Redesign

 

WHO Backdrop for NACO

I need some Graphic Design

$100.0 USD

Would and will work with again.

QTT 

 

 

Design a 5″ x 7″ mailer for screen printing shop

$20.0 USD

Great job on project. 

chrisphillips81 

 

I need some Graphic Design

$100.0 USD

Would and will work with again.

The contest details:

  •  Entry #6
  •  theedmokbelSuper
  •  $30 AUD

 

 

RE-DESIGN COVER for MY Children’s book in Photoshop! $70.0 USD

Wow! He is really on top of it. Very creative, talented and great communication. Very responsive and hands on the entire process. Will definitely hire again.

nancyfrancis123 Flag of United States 5 days ago.

2018 Logo Design Trends

2018 Logo Design Trends: Your Guide to Navigate Hot Trends and Avoid Fads

Logo design with bright colors, creative typography, and signage mock-up by zeste/crowdspring

Small businesses and startups have to compete in an increasingly noisy world, often against large, dominant businesses.

Customers who are just discovering your brand need something to remember you by, and your logo serves as a symbol of your business.

But not all logos are created alike. New design trends and fads in logo design appear every year.

Stripes, letter stacking, fades and geometric shapes were popular in logo design for 2017. Last year, monoline designs, negative space, and retro designs were all the rage.

But, which of these trends are worth following? And, which “trends” are really passing fads that will date your new logo in just a few years? After all, you want your logo to feel fresh and relevant for a long period of time, and not dated a year from now.

The truth is that not all logo trends are created equal. And, even if a trend does offer some inherent aesthetic value, if it doesn’t support and reflect your brand, it’s a poor choice for your logo.

A good logo design must reflect your brand, and be memorable, unique, and timeless.

You should avoid trends that get in the way of accomplishing those design goals.

As we wrote in The Small Business Guide to Creating a Perfect Logo:

At its most basic, a logo is a small, symbolic piece of artwork that represents a business. But, we’ve dug a bit deeper than that. When you set aside all the design trends and fancy fonts, at its core, a logo must:

1- Embody your brand.

2- Be instantly recognizable.

3- Be versatile.

4- Be timeless.

Everything else is optional.

In fact, I’ll go one step further. Every design choice in your logo should exist only to serve and strengthen the four items listed above. And, if you meet these four requirements, many other commonly cited logo must-haves, like simplicity and memorability, naturally follow.

Here are 6 logo design trends that we think will be hot in 2018 (plus 2 trends that you should avoid).

 

1. Creative typography

Logo design with hand-effect typography courtesy of mateuzord/crowdspring

The visual mark of a logo is often supported by text. Some logos (including crowdspring’s logo) are made-up entirely of text – these are called lettermarks or wordmarks.

But not any old text will do. You can’t just plop your business name under your logo mark in Times New Roman or Comic Sans (shudder) and call it a day.

Your typography should be as tuned in to your brand as the rest of your logo. And, creative typography continues to grow as we head into 2018. Here are just a few examples…

Split Typography – These fonts feature unexpected negative space (or splits) in the letters while maintaining the text’s readability. There are endless variations to play with here between the choice of the base font and placement of the splits.

Logo design with split typography by annasmoke/crowdspring

Chaotic Typography – This dynamic typography effect features chaotic, non-linear placement of the letters. If you have a playful or casually dynamic brand, this may be a good choice for you.

Logo design with chaotic typography by connexis/crowdspring

Hand-effect Typography – Rather than the perfectly smooth, polished, and fancy looping scripts of yesteryear, hand-effect typography looks like it’s been written by hand. These can range from cursive scripts to crisp prints to playful block letters. Irregularity is the key to this effect.

These typography styles are on-trend now. But, they’re only a fraction of the options available. So, don’t stop looking here.

Encourage your logo designer to play with typography to find the right fit for your brand.

 

2. Bright Colors

Logo design with bright colors by ElenaGabriela/crowdspring

The internet has changed the way that we interact with the world. It’s vital that businesses design their visual brand with this medium in mind.

One of the strengths computers and mobile devices bring as a visual medium is their ability to display color. A computer or mobile screen provides a perfect canvas to show off bright, saturated colors. This is probably why we’re seeing such a big surge in brightly colored logo designs.

Logo design with gradient colors by AlexChiriac9/crowdspring

Intense colors that fade from a saturated hue to a lighter one, or gradients that segue from one shade to another continue to be popular in logo design.

So, don’t be afraid to play with different options. Just keep it simple enough that it won’t cost you a fortune when you actually have to print your logo.

And, don’t forget that colors tug on our grey matter to produce different emotional results. For more about using psychology to influence customers, check out our previous article “How 21 Brands Use Color to Influence Customers” to learn which colors will send the right message from your brand.

It’s a foregone conclusion that your customers will interact with your brand online. Make the most of this opportunity by capitalizing on the visual medium with eye-catching, vibrant colors that will set your logo apart from the competition.

 

3. Geometric Line Art logos

Image courtesy of Davide Bassu/Design Bundles

Geometric shapes eternally float in and out of favor in the worlds of architectural, fashion and graphic design. Geometric line logos are popular and look set to continue on an uptrend heading into 2018.

Geometric designs are loved for their clean, elegant lines and timelessness. Geometric design done well can be a thing of beauty.

However, a simple geometric line design is not the one-size-fits-all answer that some people seem to believe it is.

Logos must be distinct. This is what allows us to visually identify a specific brand from the vast array of logos in the marketplace.

And your logo must also reflect your brand. This is where blindly following this geometric logo trend can fall short for your business.

There are only a handful of basic geometric shapes – squares, circles, triangles, diamonds… Even once you branch out into octagons, hectagons, parallelograms and the like, there still just aren’t that many. So, designers get creative and begin to layer the shapes together, play with curves, introduce negative space…

But, the results often look like “just another geometric logo design” – indistinct, unremarkable, and communicating nothing about your brand.

If you choose to go with a geometric line logo, make sure your choice supports and reflects your brand identity.

 

4. Social Media Optimized logo design

Logo design with social media optimized icon by PurposeMade/crowdspring

Social media continues to offer a valuable marketing platform for businesses big and small, all around the world. So, it should come as no surprise that social media-friendly logos are “in” for 2018. But what exactly does this mean?

Most social media platforms offer a square field to display a profile picture. So, your logo should fit nicely into that square field.

But, please don’t think that we’re advocating for everyone to have a square logo – far from it! What we are suggesting is that your logo should be sufficiently self-contained and visually balanced to fit into a square.

For a naturally social media-optimized logo, avoid overtly long horizontal or vertical designs.

Choose a logo with a nice visual balance between its horizontal and vertical axis. These will display well on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram’s circular profile field.

This trend is a must-follow! It only slightly restricts your creative options, and optimizes your business to put its best face forward on social media.

This is important because you want your brand to be consistent across channels, as we wrote in Grow Your Small Business With Consistent Branding:

Customers recognize unique logos easily in a sea of generic logo design. Versatile logos translate well across all mediums – from large business signage to a tiny business card. And appropriate logos create logical associations in your customer’s mind, helping them to link the logo to your product or service.

 

5. Simplistic Letterplay

Image courtesy of LetterLogos

Monogram and single letter logos are classics. And, as we head into 2018, their endless popularity continues unabated.

Unfortunately, letter and monogram logos can be incredibly hard to make unique.

A monogram is defined as:

a design consisting of two or more alphabetic letters combined or interlaced, commonly one’s initials

Business owners love to make logos from their business’s initials. This makes sense if consumers will associate those initials with your brand. But, unless your brand has already had time to get established, that’s unlikely. And a monogram – unless it’s really well executed – doesn’t tell consumers much of anything about your brand.

To the contrary, monogram or single letter logos are often just a lazy retreat for designers who aren’t creative enough to think of something else. Not to mention that there are only so many ways to combine a sequence of letters. It’s almost inevitable that there’s another logo out there for a business with your initials that looks similar, if not the same, as yours.

Be wary of overly simplistic letter or monogram logos. If you must go the monogram route, make sure it is unique and brand-conscious.

 

6. Real-World Presentation

Logo design business card mock-up by saska-puff/crowdspring

As we head into 2018 we’ve noticed a trend that we’re really excited to see gaining momentum. That’s the practice of presenting a logo design in a real-world context to help clients envision the logo in actual practice.

(I know, I know… This trend is about how to present the logo, not logo design itself.  But, it’s a really valuable practice!)

Many designers are now providing mocked-up visuals of their logo designs on a business card, stationery or wall signage in addition to their beautifully rendered design. These supplemental materials not only help clients see what the logo might look like in practice, they can also be used to help influence a brand identity.

Logo design signage mock-up by princereymar/crowdspring

Choose a style that looks appropriate to the brand for your mock-up to help the client to better understand how to visually communicate their brand beyond their logo. This may also influence their perception of what their brand might look like once fully realized.

A strong designer will always do their best to enable their client to see the complete design picture. Not to mention that mocking up business cards or letterhead may inspire the client to invest in those items as well. A practice that serves the client and the designer is always a trend we want to support!

 

7. Swooshy People (avoid!)

Image courtesy of RocketArt/Creative Market

Let’s face it, most businesses interact with people in some way. So, people are a pretty common theme in logo design.

Over the past decade, a trend for abstract, curvy line people has developed and continues to grow.

We call these design elements “swooshy people.”

They’re everywhere.

And, now that we’ve pointed them out, they’ll probably start haunting you at every turn just like they haunt us.

The curved lines of the figures suggest dynamism and movement. They’re colorful. They’re playful.

And they’re also completely overdone and overused, as we demonstrated in an earlier article, Why You Should Avoid Making This Stupid Branding Mistake With Your Logo.

There are so many swooshy people logos flooding the market that it’s impossible to design one that doesn’t already exist somewhere. Often, this is because designers use stock art for designing swooshy people logos and you should avoid stock art at all costs in logo design.

Don’t be lured in by the swooshy person’s bright colors or faceless relatability. Swooshy people are enemies of unique logo design. They don’t distinguish your brand and are not memorable enough to help your prospective customers remember you.

You want a unique logo. Actually, you NEED a unique logo.

Steer clear of the swooshy person trap, lest your logo be confused with every other swooshy person logo out there.

 

8. Pixellated Designs (avoid!)

Image courtesy of Dusan Sevarika/Dribbble

Technology defines our contemporary culture; so much so that the technology of days past inspires fond nostalgia today. Think floppy disks, CD-ROMs, and 16 bit graphics. “Oh, look how cute we were back then! We thought that technology was advanced!”

One of the results of this nostalgia is the pixellated logo trend.

Some versions feature logos rendered entirely in the 8 or 16-bit pixel style. Others transition from a more natural image into pixels.

However the style is executed, it is sure to date your logo.

Pixel art is tied to the specific date range of the 80’s and 90’s.  And, our current perception of pixellated art as fun and quirky will fade. The zeitgeist will continue to change – it always does.

Incorporating this pixellated style will leave you with a logo that inspires folks to ask, “Remember when we thought pixel art was cool?” instead of inspiring them to trust your brand as modern and relevant.

You can do better. Take a pass on the pixels.

Before you go…

Trends are always difficult to navigate. Human beings are compelled to conform and try to fit in. It’s in our basic makeup. But following the crowd isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes we should leave that shiny new trend alone.

The bottom line is to always let your brand guide you. It’s more important to create an authentic brand identity than it is to be “on fleek.” So when you’re researching trends on logo design for your next business or looking to redesign an existing logo … make sure to ask yourself if that trend really represents your brand. We’re happy to help – let us know if you’d like a free design consultation

 

satishchandila.com

Image file formates

Image file formats: everything you’ve ever wanted to know

Think GIF is the most delicious kind of peanut butter? And AI was that weird sci-fi movie starring Haley Joel Osment? Well, you’re not wrong. But today we’re talking image formats and all those pesky little files that we use to create visual content for print and web.

Every graphic you see online is an image file. Most everything you see printed on paper, plastic or a t-shirt came from an image file. These files come in a variety of formats, and each is optimized for a specific use. Using the right type for the right job means your design will come out picture perfect and just how you intended. The wrong format could mean a bad print or a poor web image, a giant download or a missing graphic in an email.

So let’s break it down. Welcome to Image File Formats 101. Let’s dive into the basics of each file type.

 

 

Most image files fit into one of two general categories—raster files and vector files—and each category has its own specific uses. This breakdown isn’t perfect. For example, certain formats can actually contain elements of both types. But this is a good place to start when thinking about which format to use for your projects.

Raster images

Raster images are made up of a set grid of dots called pixels where each pixel is assigned a color. Unlike a vector image, raster images are resolution dependent, meaning they exist at one size. When you transform a raster image, you stretch the pixels themselves, which can result in a “pixelated” or blurry image. When you enlarge an image, your software is essentially guessing at what image data is missing based on the surrounding pixels. More often than not, the results aren’t great.

 

Photos provided by author.

 

Raster images are typically used for photographs, digital artwork and web graphics (such as banner ads, social media content and email graphics). Adobe Photoshop is the industry-standard image editor that is used to create, design and edit raster images as well as to add effects, shadows and textures to existing designs.

CMYK vs. RGB

All raster images can be saved in one of two primary color models: CMYK and RGB.

 

CMYK – by Owley

RGB – by A&V

 

CMYK a four-color printing process that stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). These colors represent the four inks that will combine during the printing process. Files saved in this format will be optimized for physical printing.

RGB is a light-based color model that stands for red, green and blue. These are the three primary colors of light that combine to produce other colors. Files saved in this format will be optimized for the web, mobile phones, film and video—anything that appears on a screen.

Lossy vs. lossless

Each raster image file is either lossless or lossy, depending on how the format handles your image data.

Lossless image formats capture all of the data of your original file. Nothing from the original file, photo, or piece of art is lost—hence the term “lossless.” The file may still be compressed, but all lossless formats will be able to reconstruct your image to its original state.

Lossy image formats approximate what your original image looks like. For example, a lossy image might reduce the amount of colors in your image or analyze the image for any unnecessary data. These clever technical tricks will typically reduce the file size, though they may reduce the quality of your image.

Typically, lossy files are much smaller than lossless files, making them ideal to use online where file size and download speed are vital.

JPEG/JPG

JPEG is a lossy raster format that stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the technical team that developed it. This is one of the most widely used formats online, typically for photos, email graphics and large web images like banner ads. JPEG images have a sliding scale of compression that decreases file size tremendously, but increases artifacts or pixelation the more the image is compressed.

 

No compression

High compression

You should use a JPEG when…

  • You’re dealing with online photos and/or artwork. JPEGs offer you the most flexibility with raster editing and compression making them ideal for web images that need to be downloaded quickly.
  • You want to print photos and/or artwork. At high resolution files with low compression, JPEGs are perfect for editing and then printing.
  • You need to send a quick preview image to a client. JPEG images can be reduced to very small sizes making them great for emailing.

Don’t use a JPEG when…

  • You need a web graphic with transparency. JPEGs do not have a transparency channel and must have a solid color background. GIF and PNG are your best options for transparency.
  • You need a layered, editable image. JPEGs are a flat image format meaning that all edits are saved into one image layer and cannot be undone. Consider a PSD (Photoshop) file for a fully editable image.

GIF

GIF is a lossless raster format that stands for Graphics Interchange Format. The big question: how is it pronounced? The creator of GIF says “JIFF” like the peanut butter. This writer (and lots of the world) says “GIFF” because graphics starts with a “guh.” Anyway, we’ll leave that up to you. GIF is also a widely used web image format, typically for animated graphics like banner ads, email images and social media memes. Though GIFs are lossless, they can be exported in a number of highly customizable settings that reduce the amount of colors and image information, which in turn reduces the file size.

giphy

You should use a GIF when…

  • You want to create web animation. GIF images hold all of the animation frames and timing information in one single file. Image editors like Photoshop make it easy to create a short animation and export it as a GIF.
  • You need transparency. GIF images have an “alpha channel” that can be transparent, so you can place your image on any colored background.
  • You need a small file. The compression techniques in the GIF format allow image files to shrink tremendously. For very simple icons and web graphics, GIF is the best image file format.

Don’t use a GIF when…

  • You need a photographic-quality image. Though GIFs can be high resolution, they have a limit of 256 colors (unless you know a few tricks). Photos typically have thousands of colors and will look flat and less vibrant (and sometimes weird due to color banding) when converted to GIF.
  • You need to print an image. Because of the color limit, most printed photos will lack depth. If you need to print photos, look at TIFF, PSD and JPG.
  • You need a layered, editable image. GIFs are a flat image format meaning that all edits are saved into one image layer and cannot be undone. Consider a PSD (Photoshop) file for a fully editable image.

PNG

PNG is a lossless raster format that stands for Portable Network Graphics. Think of PNGs as the next-generation GIF. This format has built-in transparency, but can also display higher color depths, which translates into millions of colors. PNGs are a web standard and are quickly becoming one of the most common image formats used online.

 

Unicorn stickers by _ELM_

Trauby mascot by ktoons

 

You should use a PNG when…

  • You need high-quality transparent web graphics. PNG images have a variable “alpha channel” that can have any degree of transparency (in contrast with GIFs that only have on/off transparency). Plus, with greater color depths, you’ll have a more vibrant image than you would with a GIF.
  • You have illustrations with limited colors. Though any image will work, PNG files are best with a small color palette.
  • You need a small file. PNG files can shrink to incredibly tiny sizes—especially images that are simple colors, shapes or text. This makes it the ideal image file type for web graphics.

Don’t use a PNG when…

  • You’re working with photos or artwork. Thanks to PNGs’ high color depth, the format can easily handle high resolution photos. However, because it is a lossless web format, file sizes tend to get very large. If you’re working with photos on the web, go with JPEG.
  • You’re dealing with a print project. PNG graphics are optimized for the screen. You can definitely print a PNG, but you’d be better off with a JPEG (lossy) or TIFF file.

TIFF/TIF

TIFF is a lossless raster format that stands for Tagged Image File Format. Because of its extremely high quality, the format is primarily used in photography and desktop publishing. You’ll likely encounter TIFF files when you scan a document or take a photo with a professional digital camera. Do note that TIFF files can also be used as a “container” for JPEG images. These files will be much smaller than traditional TIFF files, which are typically very large.

 

 

You should use a TIFF when…

  • You need high-quality print graphics. Along with RAW, TIFF files are among the highest quality graphic formats available. If you’re printing photos—especially at enormous sizes—use this format.
  • You are making a high-quality scan. Using TIFF to scan your documents, photos and artwork will ensure that you have the best original file to work off of.

Don’t use at TIFF when…

  • You’re working with web graphics. While many web browsers support it, TIFF files are optimized for print. Go with JPEG or PNG when you need to display high-quality images online.

RAW

A raw image format contains the unprocessed data captured by a digital camera or scanner’s sensor. Typically, images are processed (adjusted for color, white balance, exposure, etc.) and then converted and compressed into another format (e.g. JPEG or TIFF). Raw images store the unprocessed and processed data in two separate files, so you’re left with the highest quality image possible that you can edit non-destructively with a photo editing application like Photoshop. There are dozens and dozens of raw formats, but some of the typical formats are CRW (Canon), NEF (Nikon), and DNG (Adobe).

 

acr-screenshot
via Adobe

You should use RAW when…

  • You are shooting and editing photos. Make sure your camera is set to RAW so you can capture the most versatile image. Then, use a compatible photo-editing application to adjust your image.

Don’t use RAW when…

  • You’re working with web graphics. RAW is built for photo editing. When you’re ready to present your photos for the web, convert them to JPEG.
  • You’re ready to print your photos. Many printers won’t accept raw formats, so first convert to JPEG or TIFF.

PSD

PSD is a proprietary layered image format that stands for Photoshop Document. These are original design files created in Photoshop that are fully editable with multiple layers and image adjustments. PSDs are primarily used to create and edit raster images, but this unique format can also contain vector layers as well, making it extremely flexible for a number of different projects. A PSD can be exported into any number of image file formats, including all of the raster formats listed above.

 

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-3-10-07-pm

You should use a PSD when…

  • It’s time to retouch photos. Need to color correct a photo? Or add a layer of text? PSD = photos.
  • You need to edit artwork for digital or print. That could be a photo, painting, drawing, or anything else. Photoshop is the right tool to make sure every line, shadow and texture is in place.
  • You want digital images for the web like social media images, banner ads, email headers, videos etc. Creating these images in Photoshop will ensure they’re right size and optimized for the web.
  • You have to create a website or app mockup. Layers make it easy to move UI elements around.
  • You want to get fancy with animation and video. Photoshop makes it easy to cut together simple video clips and add graphics, filters, text, animation and more.

Don’t use a PSD when…

  • You need to post a photo online or send a preview to a client. The web is JPEG friendly. Convert first to make sure your audience can see your image (and so it won’t take several minutes to download).
  • You’re ready to print your photos. Many printers won’t accept the PSD format, so first convert to JPEG or TIFF.

Vector images

Vector images are essentially giant math equations, and each dot, line and shape is represented by its own equation. Every “equation” can be assigned a color, stroke or thickness (among other styles) to turn the shapes into art. Unlike raster images, vector images are resolution independent. When you shrink or enlarge a vector image, your shapes get larger, but you won’t lose any detail or get any pixelation. Because your image will always render identically, no matter the size, there is no such thing as a lossy or lossless vector image type.

 

Walk for life poster by Adwindesign for Salam_h

Children’s book character by RVST® for soccerpoet

Logo design by spoon design

 

Vector images are typically used for logos, icons, typesetting and digital illustrations. Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard image editor that is used to create, design and edit vector images (though it can also incorporate raster images, as well).

PDF

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is an image format used to display documents and graphics correctly, no matter the device, application, operating system or web browser. At its core, PDF files have a powerful vector graphics foundation, but can also display everything from raster graphics to form fields to spreadsheets. Because it is a near universal standard, PDF files are often the file format requested by printers to send a final design into production. Both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator can export straight to PDF, making it easy to start your design and get it ready for printing.

 

Oakland poster by Martis Lupus

Yoga posterby Trisixtin for yogawithleo

You should use a PDF when…

  • You’re ready to print. As we mentioned, many printers prefer PDF as their primary delivery format because it is so ubiquitous. Check with your printer to see how they’d like you to prepare your file.
  • You want to display documents on the web. You wouldn’t use a PDF for a single icon or logo, but it’s great for posters, flyers, magazines and booklets. PDFs will keep your entire design in one package, making it easy to view, download or print.

Don’t use a PDF when…

  • You need to edit your design. PDFs are great containers, but use other applications for the contents. You can edit raster images with Photoshop and vector graphics with Illustrator. When you’re done, you can combine those into a PDF for easy viewing.

EPS

EPS is an image format that stands for Encapsulated PostScript. Although it is used primarily as a vector format, an EPS file can include both vector and raster image data. Typically, an EPS file includes a single design element that can be used in a larger design.

 

by artsigma

by Dusan Klepic

by Sava Stoic

 

You should use an EPS when…

  • You need to send a vector logo to a client, designer or a printer. With an EPS file, you don’t have to worry about where the logo will be placed or printed. No matter the size, it will always appear at the correct resolution.

Don’t use an EPS when…

  • You’re dealing with photographs or artwork. EPS can handle raster images, but this type of image file is primarily for vectors. Work with a PSD, TIF or JPEG when you have a photo project.
  • You need to display an image online. Export to JPEG, PNG or GIF first.

AI

AI is a proprietary vector image format that stands for Adobe Illustrator. The format is based on both the EPS and PDF standards developed by Adobe. Like those formats, AI files are primarily a vector-based format, though they can also include embedded or linked raster images. AI files can be exported to both PDF and EPS files (for easy reviewing and printing), and also JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF and PSD (for web use and further editing).

 

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-3-41-15-pm

You should use an AI when…

  • You need to edit a vector design. AI files allow you to move and alter every single element in your design with just a click or two.
  • You need to create a logo, icon or brand mascot. Every vector shape and line created in Illustrator can be blown up to any size, which makes it ideal for images that need to be used in many different ways.
  • You want a one-page print piece. Illustrator is perfect for posters, business cards, flyers and notecards that can be combined with other raster images.
  • You need to set type for a logo. Illustrator’s typesetting features are incredibly powerful, enabling any text to be stretched, skewed and transformed any way imaginable.

Don’t use an AI when…

  • You need to edit images. If a raster image (photo or artwork) is being used in a composition, Illustrator has a limited number of tools to edit that image directly. Photoshop (PSD files) can make more comprehensive adjustments like color, contrast and brightness.

Designing Tips

8 common print file mistakes and how to avoid them

hen a design client comes back to you complaining that their printer says that the files you gave them are unusable, it’s pretty embarrassing. As the professional, it’s supposed to be your job to take care of the technical side of things, not the client’s.

To help you avoid these types of situations, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common print file mistakes and how to fix them. For the purposes of this post we are going to open up PDF files (a common file used for printing) in Adobe Illustrator to demonstrate common print file mistakes.

For the examples, we’ve used a full-bleed business card design – this means that all graphics and images are supposed to extend all the way to the edge of the paper. No matter which program you use to create your print file in, it’s always good to provide an editable PDF file for your client and the printer.

PDF files are an awesome universal file format that can store high-res images, vector files, font information and more! All clients need to view PDF files is Adobe Reader – and most printers accept PDF files for print jobs.

Template_Diagram

The image above is a basic 3.5″ x 2″ business card template file. The document itself is 3.75″ x 2.25″ to accommodate a full bleed design. Here’s a breakdown of its components:

  • The safety line (orange box) is the area inside which you should keep all text and graphics that you don’t want to be cut off by the printing machine.
  • The trim line (dotted blue line) is the line along which the card is going to be cut by the machine.
  • The bleed area (edge of paper) is the area that is going to be cut off by the machine, but make sure that this area is filled with image and color so that there is no white space left on your card when it is trimmed.

We’re going to include the trim line and the safety line in the examples below to demonstrate many of the of the most common print file mistakes. In final PDF print files, the guidelines should always be removed. Let’s get started on some of the most common print file mistakes:

1. No bleed areas included

The examples above show what a file looks like when no bleed area is included. This is probably the most common print file mistake out there. To fix files like this, start with document dimensions that are at full bleed size, make sure that all graphics extend fully to the edge and keep text within the safety line.

2. Text and graphics are not within the safety line

Safety_Line

3. Incorrectly positioned borders

 

Borders1

To solve this problem, making sure that all borders are either thick enough or placed well inside the blue safety line. Many printers actually recommend against adding borders because their cutters don’t always cut straight. To avoid this, consider not adding borders to your design.

4. Artboard size doesn’t match the size of the design

Artboard

When creating your print file the art board, or canvas must match up with the edges of your print design. This makes it easier for the printer to add printer marks. If the printer has to adjust the dimensions of your file they may charge your client extra for that. To avoid this, start with a template file or set up your document so that it matches the dimensions of your design.

To set exact dimensions for your artboard, start by create a new document in the Adobe program of your choosing by clicking File > New. A window will appear prompting you to type in the exact number values of the dimension of your document. This way, you can be sure that your document dimensions are exact.

5. Leaving print guide layers in the file

Leaving_In_Guides

6. Colors are in RGB, not CMYK

CMYK:RGB

To avoid dramatic color differences between your on-screen and print designs, build out your designs in CMYK color mode first. Make sure that any images that are placed into the file are in CMYK as well. When you open a new file, make sure that your color mode is set to CMYK.

The image above shows to to check that your document is set to CMYK color mode in Adobe Illustrator. It’s also always a good idea to print at least 1 proof of the design, so that your client can check if they’re happy with the colors in the print before they print multiple copies of the design.

7. Resolution is too low

Low_Res

The images in the file above are set to about 72 PPI – not suitable for printing. Files needs to be at least 300 PPI for print jobs. To fix this, set your document resolution to 300 PPI before you start creating your design. Also make sure that any raster images or photos that you use are already set to 300 PPI before you place them in the print file.

Avoid sourcing your images from random websites, because the resolution will probably be too low – and because of copyright issues. Make sure that you use high resolution, print-quality image files from professional image sources.

8. Fonts aren’t embedded or outlined

RasterizedText

When creating your PDF files, make sure that you embed the fonts or outline them. To outline your fonts in Illustrator simply select your text and click Type > Create Outlines. Creating a PDF may embed a font by default setting but it never hurts to outline your fonts, just to be safe.

If you do outline your fonts, be sure that your client legally owns the font in the design and that you give your client a version where the text is not outlined so that the content can be edited later. It’s important to checking that you’re not making these basic print file mistakes – some printers will charge your clients extra for fixing incorrect print files.

You want your clients to come to you with more print design jobs, and recommend your services, not the other way around. Now that we’ve gone through a bunch of basic print file mistakes, we’d like to provide a few examples of correct, print-ready files.

The download links below contain correct, print-ready, full-bleed PDF files of business card, letterhead and envelope designs. Feel free to download the files below and learn from them or check out our Templates Help Page for even more great information!