Marketing Materials: 5 Things to Consider Before Sending Creative to Print

Here are five things to consider before giving the okay to send a marketing project to print.

To bring your marketing ideas to life, graphic designers create images in photo editing and desktop publishing software like Photoshop and InDesign and then they have to prepare their designs for print. The process of preparing print projects to then deliver to a printing company is an art and a science. It must be executed accurately, lest mistakes rear their blurry and unreadable head.

Here are five things to consider before giving the okay to send a marketing project to print.


  1. Are you sending the correct PDF set-up to the printer?

    Many printing companies require certain PDF formats, based on their software. Depending on what type of print job you are doing, your needs will vary. Find out before embarking on print projects what machine or software package the printer will process the job on. For example, overly-compressed JPG files might be overlooked in the wrong PDF format. It is advisable to confer with the printer beforehand to ascertain what is necessary on your end before they begin the job. The computer screen might hide poor quality, but the printing press will reveal it.

  2. Does your document contain stray layers?

    Make sure you clean up print projects completely before sending them to the press. Remove unused layers in Illustrator or InDesign files before creating PDFs or packaging source files for the printer. It’s easy to miss layers that might be turned on and not notice until you get the proofs back from the print shop. Extra guides, saved “clipboard” elements, or text layers you were playing around with might all get turned on by mistake by you or the printer.

  3. Did you apply CMYK colors to small type?

    You do not want to use complex CMYK colors on fonts that are very small. An 8 pt. Garamond italic just won’t print well in a color made up of all four process colors because of print registration limitations. Small fonts should be comprised of no more than two colors and for very delicate type, only one. Very small or delicate fonts should not be knocked out (colored as “white” or “paper”) in vibrantly colored CMYK backgrounds as they will blur on most print pieces.

  4. Did you use ‘Rich’ or ‘Regular’ black?

    Before sending print projects to the printer make sure you know what type of blacks you’ve used. There are rich blacks and regular blacks, and clicking a color swatch in a color palette doesn’t mean you’ve accurately chosen the correct rich black. Look to see if your rich black is warm, cool or neutral.

  5. Did you double check your varnish layer?

    “A spot matte varnish is used to achieve a unique effect on the final printed piece and add a new dimension to your product. Its use is generally aesthetic and can be utilized to highlight a certain graphic element such as text or images. It can also “flood” the page coating it entirely as to produce a softer finish while maintaining the brilliant color profile of a coated stock.” (Source: JackPrints) Forget double checking, it’s worth triple checking. You may have changed the font size, altered kerning or moved the type layer over where the varnish type layer originally was. You will want to make sure your varnish or aqueous coat layers are spot on.


When sending a project to print, it’s always worth it to double check so that the results match up with the work you put in. Use these tips with your print projects and you’ll be on the way to printing clear, beautiful type and graphics.


This article has been edited condensed.

Dana Hornor is a copywriter at J.M. Field Marketing, a full-service marketing firm and fulfillment services company. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books and magazines, playing tennis and going to the beach. Connect with @jmfmarketing on Twitter.


© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.


In this article