skip to Main Content
Title of the document

(813) 341-3232

How To Prepare Your Print Files

How to Prepare Your Print Files

Sometimes a print project can seem overwhelming because printing requires specific standards to optimize artwork so the computers that run the presses can produce it correctly.

Preparing print-ready files will save you a ton of time and will help you avoid costly reprinting because you did not set your files up correctly. Here is a great outline of the basics for preparing your print file correctly.

At Applied Image Group we do the heavy lifting! We handle graphic design, layout, typesetting, image scanning, image editing and more. Our designers can do the entire job or work with your creative team to enhance their ideas and layouts for print production.

That being said, while we are always here to help, we also want to share valuable information on some of the common standards for preparing print files.


Bleed is the part of a document that gives a printer some wiggle room to account for the small moment of the paper while printing. When submitting your artwork to your printer, be sure that your bleed settings are calibrated correctly and your images and backgrounds spill over each side of your document by 0.125” or 1/8”.

Image Resolution

An image that looks good on your computer monitor may not translate to the printed page unless it is the correct resolution. Images created for a computer screen are often a lower Dot Per Inch (DPI) than images intended for print. The more dots per inch, the sharper the image will be. All images that are to be printed should have a DPI of a minimum of 200 – 300 DPI.

Considering Color when preparing for printing

The colors of your artwork can look different on the printed page unless you know the colors you expect and how you want your final product look. This is critical to maintaining the integrity of your brand. Understand the basics of color printing will help you communicate with your printer to achieve your desired results.

CMYK Color Model

The CMYK color model also referred to as Process Color or Four Color. CMYK refers to the four inks used in most color printing which are cyan, magenta, yellow and key — representing black.

The CMYK model has become the universal standard for graphic arts and commercial printing. At Applied Image Group, we will work with you to build your colors correctly so your products will be produced exactly as you expect.

Saving as PDF

When working with commercial printers, it is ideal to send a PDF. A PDF includes all fonts images, colors, logos, and other file data. A PDF file optimizes the print file to be the perfect balance of compatibility, file size, editability, quality and portability.

At Applied Image Group we have designers and experts that can convert your file into a print-ready masterpiece, and we can handle any size/type of project! But hopefully this information proved helpful. Reach out to us for your next print project, we promise you’ll be impressed!