Graphic Design Lesson: Final Output Setups

January 26, 2010

There are people out there who have created a Photoshop, Illustrator, and JPEG files and print them, thinking that they’re going to get a perfect picture…but they don’t. It’s a low resolution printout and it looks hideous. Well, did you set up your documents DPI/PPI correctly?

When you open up a new file, the one thing that gets overlooked in MANY cases out there is the Pixels Per Inch or Dots Per Inch setting. This number is usually defaulted to either 72, 240, or 300 and each of those numbers are for different output sources.

If you’re strictly viewing the artwork on a television, computer monitor, cellphone, or any video (RGB) device, your out put should be 72 DPI. As for the pixel dimensions, you should always consider monitor size. Most people out there will have a computer monitor and the resolution of 1440×900. Creating an image larger than that would be pointless because of image file size and just how much of the image will run off the screen. So a pixel dimension within 1440×900 would be suitable for any monitor.

Now we get to print. If your artwork is going to be printed on something, whether it is a letterhead, #10 envelope, billboard, business card, etc., you should ALWAYS set it to 300. It’s because 300 will print perfectly. But you’ll sometimes get artwork that will be at 200-240 PPI, that’s perfectly acceptable, but you’re just getting close to what won’t print well.

The size of what you’re going to print will relate to the pixel dimensions too. For example, let’s say I wanted to use a photograph taken at 300DPI and has a pixel dimension of 1050 x 600, and have the photo printed on both a 3.5″x2″ business card and across an 8.5″x11″ brochure. So it’s going to look perfect on a business card, because a business card measures 3.5″ x 2″ which is the equivalent of 300DPI at 1050 x 600. But if I were to stretch that same photograph across a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, it’s going to look horrible. So make sure you know what your pixel dimensions are!

There you go. I’m sad the Vikings lost. 😦

Please Brett Favre, come back for another season.

Also, get your printed envelopes and commercial print produced at PurpleMonkeyPrinting.com. We print tons of stuff, like 6×9 catalog envelopes, 9×12 booklet envelopes, 8.5×11 letterheads, bank drive-up envelopes, business cards, postcards, and much more. So print with us today!

Vun Run

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Graphic Design Lesson: Tips for File Organization

January 20, 2010

Quit laughing.

“File organization? Really?”

“Yes, really.”

You would be surprised on how many times I see designers have files in multiple places. They’ll have the InDesign document on the desktop, all the artwork from Illustrator and Photoshop are in their Documents folders and such…this happens to be a horrible way to work.

First things first. You should always work from one directory. Then organize things from there. What I usually do is create a new folder on the desktop, and then I’ll place the indesign file in the folder, then place all the artwork for it in another folder inside the directory. This way, you won’t lose files in case you just need that one file.

Now one might think that just keeping your files organized is good enough, but they’re wrong! Regardless of which Adobe program you’re using…

…always organize your layers!!!

Name each layer for whatever piece of art is on that layer. This way, if you need to make changes, you’ll know exactly where they are. Also, instead of deleting objects on your artwork, keep it on a different layer. There will be a time when you might resort to that artwork you had just deleted.

Then if you’re strictly working in InDesign, package your artwork when you’re done and make a backup of where all the artwork originally is. To do this, go to File->Package. What this does is that it grabs all the artwork and organizes it for you in a single folder. BUT be warned. I have seen many cases where this feature doesn’t grab all the artwork. So double check to see if it did. It might take a long time do it, but that’s what you need to do for perfection. 😉

That does it,
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