Design Help Center

Tips & pointers.

A series of Design Help tips, suggestions & practical advice assembled by designers in our studio. For more help features check out the Buyer’s Branding Tips category on our blog.

Logo & Stationery Printing Tips

A few things to keep in mind when printing your new logo

The files you’ve received from The Logo Factory will be print-ready, so you’ll be all set for reproduction, be on it your office desktop printer, at a local commercial print shop or using an online print company. For convenience, many of you will choose to work directly with a local print shop – especially if you decided to go the ‘design your own logo‘ route and are concerned about the quality of your printed collateral material. If so, but you may be unfamiliar with some of the industry jargon and terms involved. Accordingly, we thought it might be prudent to offer some tips for dealing with the printing phase of any company brand launch. These simple pointers will help insure there’s no surprises when your new letterheads, business cards or brochures are delivered.

Gang run printing.

If your printer is using a ‘gang run’ – grouping your job with a number of other pieces on a large sheet – expect varying colors and print quality from run to run. This type of printing is designed to be cheap, not precise, and you’re not paying for exacting color standards. Be realistic in your expectations. This is particularly true of discount printers you’ll find online. If you’re asked to upload your artwork in a pixel based format (.TIFF, JPG, etc) you can be assured that this is how your project is being handled. It is not recommended for anything other than ‘quick and dirty’ printing, but if pricing is your major concern, these services provide an adequate alternative to high quality printers. Our recommendation? Use quality printers for your staples – letterhead, business card, etc – while utilizing discount online printing for your throwaways – flyers, sale sheets, etc. The level of quality you’re after will also depend on your market segment. If you’re sending material to Fortune 500 level companies – the higher the quality the better. If you’re advertising cut-rate pricing on consumer goods, a lower level of quality will suffice.

Bleed artwork.

From a design perspective, letterhead, business card and brochure artwork that bleeds can be visually appealing, but can add dramatically to the cost of printing. While many clients love the look of full bleed designs, the cost is often prohibitive. When any artwork is placed on a printed piece, and the artwork is located on the absolute edge of the paper, it is said to ‘bleed’, referring to the artwork ‘bleeding’ off the edges of the page. In order to get images, color fields or artwork to ‘bleed’ off the edges, we have to print the artwork on paper that is larger than the desired size and cut it back. This can add significant cost to a printing job – larger paper, larger press and the additional step of trimming the paper to final size.

Printing 4 color process material.

If you’re printing a 4 color process project, and are also using pixel based (or raster) images, insure that the digital files you’re supplying your printer are in high enough resolution. While some services will accept images as low as 150 DPI, it’s recommended that your digital files are no lower than 266 DPI (300 DPI and higher for high-quality glossy reproduction.) If your images are in a low or even medium resolution, you run the risk of ending up with ‘blurry’ images in your printed piece.

Printing spot color material.

If you’re printing spot color material, and before printing, always check your colors with a Pantone Colors Swatch Book, the only way to insure that colors are to your liking. This is the ‘industry standard’ for matching colors so if your printer tells you that they don’t have one, select another printer. Fast.

Converting spot color artwork to CMYK.

Colors may not match exactly if you attempt to print spot color artwork as a CMYK four color process job. Many printers will simply change the colours to CMYK in your original files – this is haphazard at best. There’s a Pantone Spot to Process Formula book that allows you to choose CMYK equivalents to your spot colors. Use that beforehand, or ask an experienced designer to do it for you. Keep in mind that certain spot colors will not convert exactly and may not match material that you’ve previously printed as spot color.

Press proofs,

Always ask for a ‘press proof’ of your job. Most proofing systems are set up for CMYK and 4 color process so you’ll be able to get a fairly accurate ‘first peek’ of your job as it will end up. While it’s sometimes difficult to get a color proof that’s completely accurate when using spot colors it will still give you a rough idea, and also allows you to check for typos and spelling mistakes before you take delivery of a thousand pieces.

Paper stock and the effect on your logo colors.

If you’re printing on a combination of coated (glossy) and uncoated (matte) papers – typical with ‘glossy’ business cards and letterheads – keep in mind that the coated and uncoated surfaces may shift the colors. The colors may not match exactly across your stationery material. Your printer can adjust for this by using different color inks for each part of your print job, but this may increase the price of the print run. Or you can choose to stay with matte business cards, eliminating the issue entirely.

The Logo! Factor blog for designers & clients
The Logo! Factor is the official design blog of The Logo Factory, offering features for business owners and designers alike. To receive notifications of new releases, subscribe to our Design Dispatches mailing list.

Logo Design Help Center

A collection of helpful and informative tutorials for designers, do-it-yourselfers and anyone interested in branding their company.

Logopalooza!

A free digital magazine about logos and design. Examples, case studies, news, trivia and more. No subscription required, just come and get it. Logopalooza! 4 currently shipping. L5 available May 6.

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