Designing for Print

Bleed is the term for printing that extends past the edge of the paper before trimming. For bleed to look proper, set design software at .25" to .5" of bleed. Extend backgrounds, artwork and images to this line throughout your printed piece. This will ensure that once the piece hits the trimmer, any slight variations in cutting will not mean that there are unsightly gaps of color along the edges of your piece.
Understanding Color
What you see on screen isn't always what you get on paper - your monitor can (and will) deceive you. Why is this?
Your computer monitor displays colors by combining the colors red, green and blue (RGB) to make up every other color.
Offset printing, however, creates all the same colors by combining together cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).
So what we have are two different methodologies that do not translate perfectly from one to the other. Any files submitted to Printco in RGB format will be converted to CMYK before printing.

Color Correcting Tips

Never trust your monitor. Even with the best monitor, you will not get truly perfect color reproduction from monitor to press. Remember RGB is your monitor's color usage, while you are going to print CMYK.

To see what the printed piece will look like, you may request a Color-Correct proof.

Printco also offers Press Checks. As your project is ready to begin printing, you may come in to meet with the production team and see the first samples of your order as they come off the press. If the color is not what you had planned, we are happy to adjust our color settings on press until you are happy with the final product.

You may also choose to use PMS or Pantone colors (available in swatch books). This is recommended for specific items like company logos which must match from piece to piece, even using different stocks.

We highly recommend Adobe® InDesign for page layouts.



Never use the “overprint” setting for offset printing. This is a trapping feature for printers (see below). Overprint is removed from files during the preflight process - for all colors except black. If used as an effect, your job will not print as expected. Instead, it is best to use “transparency” settings to create special effects.


When you print with Printco, we adjust trapping settings during the preflighting process. However, as a print designer, is it important to understand the concept.
Trapping is the process of slightly overlapping inks where two solid colors meet. This technique helps to compensate for any paper shrinkage or movement on the press that may cause slight mis-registration. If you do not trap and there is any off-registration, then you may see tiny white lines where the inks did not match up properly - like in Sunday comics when you can see the separation of colors.
Simply put, what you are doing when you trap is assigning a stroke that will overprint (ie- print on top of all other colors in the job). The width of this stroke (usually between .18 points and 1 point) falls halfway onto both inks. With the magic of trapping, if there is a slight shift in the paper or shrinkage, the overprinting stroke will seamlessly fill the gap.

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