When designing your artwork for print, there are a few of things to think about. The size of the project is best determined at the beginning of the process, and if one does not think about the final size when designing, the result may not turn out as promised.
As always, we recommend using a professional quality design program, such as InDesign or Illustrator, to layout your design. Setting up the art-board size beforehand can help prevent future problems, as far as dimensions go at least. If you do not have a professional software and you are using something along the lines of Word or PowerPoint, dimension can sneak up on you in a bad way.
Let’s say you are using Microsoft Word to design a business card. You open a document and turn to landscape mode (unless you were doing a vertical card which is a cool, unique card layout!) and start to design. Unfortunately, all the work you just put into that card is setup to be printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. A standard business card is 2″ x 3.5″. That is a pretty gigantic business card. Since this is the default for Word, you would need to change the settings of the sheet size before you started designing.
“But… can’t you just fix it for me?”
We hear that a lot too, and we don’t mind helping our customers with their artwork, but another kicker is the aspect ratio. When you change the size of an image, sometimes the dimensions don’t align with the new dimension that you are going for. Think about when you change the size of an image and you drag the corners together instead of just one of the edges. The corners adjust all sides together evenly whereas the edges only move their respective sides, which leads to a stretched or compressed image. So, the 8.5″ x 11″ Word documents aspect ratio cannot be manipulated because it would not fit on the 2″ x 3.5″ business card area. You would need to rearrange or create all new artwork for the specific area.
Dimension also plays a role in cost. When preparing a non-standard size layout, it is always best to call us first to discuss the size you are wanting to make your project. Sometimes a slight change of a fraction of an inch can make a big difference in the cost of your job. This is not to say that we can’t produce your project at any size, but if there is any flexibility in the design, and we can get a better utilization of the raw materials, we can save cost while saving materials as well. Who doesn’t want to save the Earth?
Designing to the correct finished size is the ideal way to go in the first place, giving you the correct canvas to work on instead of trying to alter after you put in the work creating the art. Save some headache and start with the finished size in mind.