Printing Basics Part 1 – Margins & Templates

printing basics part 1
Designing for print is all about following basic rules. Once you learn the basics, you can easily create professional quality prints that consistently look great.

One of the first things to understand is the function of margins and the power of using templates.

Using a pre-designed template provides you with guidelines to follow that guarantee a successful printing job. A template’s purpose is to show you where certain elements can be placed without the concern of them being trimmed during the printing and cutting process. An element is simply any singular item in design. For example, if your logo is past the safety margin, it may be trimmed during the finishing process.

Modern-day printing utilizes what we call gang-run printing. The idea is that many different pieces are backed up against each other (ganged up) and then cut down into separate pieces. This can include business cards, flyers, menus, brochures and more.

Let’s say you have a piece that is 4” x 6”, which is probably the most common postcard and flyer size for printing. In order to properly trim and separate the flyer from the gang run, blades make lines across the entire run, dividing appropriately.

In order to allow for this process to work with the least amount of error, we have a safety margin that lets you know where to keep your important elements. A quarter inch is a pretty standard amount of space to allow for cutting – that means that ⅛” from the edge is approximately where the blade will slice, and from that point, there is ⅛” of error in case of blade slippage – a quarter inch total. When cutting down hundreds (if not thousands) of pieces at a time, blades can become dulled and may “slip” causing inconsistencies.

Therefore providing the safety margin allows for some error without rear of having your piece cut down incorrectly. Using a basic template to check your design against is one of the most effective ways to ensure successful printing consistently.

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Category: Printing