Have you ever wanted to mass produce a design you put together on your computer?
Print Files Are Different
Print files and computer screens are two different color spaces. Print files are CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and computers screens are RGB (red, green, blue). Your desktop printer that’s hooked up to your computer will print either CMYK or RGB files.
If you take and use a photograph with your digital camera or mobile phone, they, too, are RGB. You can easily print these photos from your desktop printer without doing anything special, but they need to be converted to CMYK if you intend to use them on a business card. It’s confusing.
So why is off-set printing different?
Printing presses run 4 colors of ink: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This combination produces all the colors you see on a something like a business card or brochure. If you’re going to have something mass produced, it not only has to be converted from RGB to CMYK, it also needs to be of a high enough resolution that it looks good in print.
What does high resolution mean?
- Images for the web should be 72 dpi (dots per inch) so they load quickly.
- Print files need to be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) to look crisp and clean on a printed sheet.
If you use a low resolution 72 dpi web ready image in a printed piece, it will look soft, fuzzy and may even look out-of-focus — even though it looks fabulous on your computer screen and on your website. Just do a search for 72dpi vs. 300dpi to see many examples of this comparison.
Steps To Conversion
- RGB —> CMYK
- 72 dpi —> 300 dpi or better
- working file size —> final print size