Organizing the Files You Plan to Send to a Digital Printer

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Most digital printing solutions use a number of file types. It can be tempting to save a project in one file type and just ship that to the digital printing company. However, this often creates major problems if the printer needs to make modifications.

The smart move is to include all of the production files from the project. Here are four tips for how to organize those files and ensure the success of your digital printing effort.

Keep High-Quality Copies

Photographs and photographic-quality images often present some of the biggest challenges for printing firms. Especially if you utilize a smaller and lower-quality version of an image, it can be hard to make a bigger version of the desired product. For example, a 150 DPI image that looks good on your monitor might look downright blocky and ugly when you try to blow it up into a 6-foot poster.

The simplest solution is to always maintain the highest-quality versions of the files possible. You want images with the highest DPI levels possible, and they also should provide a high total resolution. A 640x480 pixels image is going to look rough if you need it for a large banner. However, a larger image (like 4000x2500 pixels) will be easier to print.

Use and Save Color Profiles

All digital devices have color profiles. Not everyone makes good or any use of them. However, color profiles allow printers to faithfully translate imagery across different devices.

For example, you might download a stock image and think it looks amazing on your phone. When you send it to your printer, though, the colors look funky. What happened? The devices used two different color profiles.

Fortunately, profiles are digital files. This means you can match all of your devices to the same profile. Likewise, you can include a copy of the profile when you send the imagery to the printing business so they can match things up, too.

Send Font Files

Even if you're using a popular font, send a copy of the file to the digital printing company. This will ensure that they can use the exact version of the font you used.

Use Sensible Naming Conventions

Don't let your computer name the files for you. Give each project an appropriate name, and use the name with both the folders and files. If there are different versions of the project, add version numbers or dates to note what the differences are. Also, this will provide a reference so you and the printer can stay on the same page when discussing files.