Print production: three of the most common mistakes
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By Sophie Matthews-Paul
17 May 2011
Monitor calibration tools can help to avoid mistakes in the final printed results
So… who owns up to making mistakes or do most people blame something or someone else? In wide-format production terms, errors are not only embarrassing and time consuming to put right. They're also likely to be expensive if a blunder doesn't manifest itself until after the job's been printed.
Selecting the three most common mistakes likely to appear in print isn't particularly easy but, frighteningly, one of the most frequent which often sneaks past far too many people only needs a dictionary and a concept of grammar to rectify. And that's the irritation of the typo, a problem which seems to be on the increase. After all, we should be custodians of our language and, in a visual environment, we should make absolutely certain that the ubiquitous greengrocer's apostrophe doesn't appear on anything we decide to print. Yet spelling mishaps and the misuse of the possessive pronoun both appear, depressingly, to be rampant and should be easy to check and to correct.
Next in my list of mistakes is the continued determination by many to submit a low-resolution image with the intention that it can be output at many times its original size. A 72dpi file which has a pixel width of 100 isn't going to cut the mustard in any printed job, even if it is usable on a web page. But there remains an astonishing lack of understanding about the resolution and size of graphic elements despite the fact that they represent a vital part of today's display production. Savvy print service providers will set out their expectations on image quality clearly in their specifications, yet people still tend to ignore these rulings and then grizzle when the end job incorporates a pixelated mess instead of the expected quality.
Third on my list of common errors has to be lack of attention to basic calibration, and this starts on the computer used to generate an application. Time and time again I listen to complaints about an end print not remotely matching what was on screen, but these culprits would no sooner attempt to correct their monitors than fly to the moon. Investing in an X-Rite i1 or a Datacolor Spyder isn't expensive yet a surprisingly high number of people still believe that correct calibration isn't a necessary step to take, particularly when committing colour critical files to print.
Sadly, limiting common mistakes to a mere three errors barely scrapes the surface of a minefield of potential areas for blunder. It only takes a bit of common sense and basic knowledge to eradicate this trio of familiar culprits whose unwanted presence is all too common in the world of digital production.
Click here to read Laurel Brunner's response to the Question of the Week, What are the three biggest mistakes made in print production and how can we avoid them? What do you think? Use the comments form below to give your opinion.
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