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 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


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,
Blog Blog

Graphic Design Resource: Custom Letterheads

January 12, 2010

Custom printed letterhead
Letterheads are used by every company out there. It’s a professional way to send out a business letter to your client. Now because existing or possible customers will be seeing this, it’s important to keep it very unique and professional. If it is one thing that goes over looked throughout the whole business stationery design set, it’s the letterhead.

People do not take into account that the letterhead needs a lot of breathing space for the actually part of where people will be typing. Always make sure you design things around that people will roughly be writing 5 – 7 paragraphs at most.

You can choose to put the logo and information on the top or bottom of the letterhead. If you do choose to put both on either side, always make sure you’re only taking up, AT THE MOST, 2 inches. Anything bigger than that will look visually unbalanced and gives your writer less space to write.

Now if you choose to bleed your letterhead, make sure to grab the template supplies (located at the bottom of this article). With the template, it gives you all the trim and bleed marks, as well as safe zones for the text. Read up on bleeds and trim marks on a past article we wrote, here.

Here is the correct template:
Letterhead 8.5″ x 11″ Template

Heed this advice. If you think you’ve got some tips, post them in our comments section! Yay!

Vun Vun

Graphic Design Lesson: CMYK and RGB

January 8, 2010


These two color modes are quite important if you’re a graphic designer. Let’s just say from the start that if you’re working on something that is GOING TO BE PRINTED, choose CMYK. If you’re making something that is going to be STRICTLY VIEWED ON A MONITOR/SCREEN/TELEVISION/CELL PHONE, use RGB.

Now, what are the benefits of using one or the other and why should you?

You should use the correct color mode for what ever you’re doing because of the color shifts. RGB has a huge color palette. It can make colors EXTREMELY vibrant which is why monitors will boast their gamut range and how many colors it can accurately produce. Whereas the CMYK colors can only replicate colors within a smaller range than RGB. So with that being said, if you were to print a document that was set up in RGB, the color accuracy will suffer because printers use CMYK. Also, the contrary to that can be bad as well, if you need a graphic to be extremely vibrant and color rich, but you set up the document in CMYK, colors might not be as bright as they could be compared when using RGB.

Really, that’s the lesson. Create or convert your document to CMYK if you’re going to print, and if it’s going to be put on a computer monitor/screen/television/etc., use RGB.

Heed this advice as, one day, it might save your life.

The Purple Vun Vun