Why your advert might not look like it should when printed
Have you ever put together an advert yourself, perhaps using Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, printed it and discovered that it looks completely different on paper?
Or worse, have you paid for magazine ad space, put together the advert yourself and again been disappointed at how it turned out in the publication?
There are lots of things that can go wrong with home made designs once they are printed, such as being blurry or out of alignment for example. However the most common issue that we hear about or spot is that the colours turn out completely different to what was intended.
This probably is a result of designing your advert using the wrong colour mode.
(Colour is a huge subject that I can’t cover just in this blog post).
The first thing to accept, is that no matter how good your computer is, your advert will look different, not just on print, but on other computers too.
There is such a variation in how monitors display colour that you cannot rely on how it looks on screen to be your litmus test for how it will turn out in print.
This is where using an experienced graphic designer, who has knowledge of design, colour and how it translates to print work, can ensure you get what you envisioned.
Where you intend your advert to be displayed, should dictate which colour system to use.
Lets start with CMYK - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black)
This is the colour system for full colour printing.
CMYK refers to the four inks used in the printing process.
Typically adverts for magazines should be designed in CMYK mode and at least to 300 dpi to ensure a sharp, detailed look.
Flyers, billboards, posters, etc, usually need to be designed in CMYK.
Business cards and folders are often designed in CMYK but can sometimes be designed using Pantone colours for spot printing. (It can be cheaper to have your card using only 2 colours for example)
What commonly happens is that someone who doesn’t understand colour models or uses a software package not designed for desk top publishing, will design their advert in the wrong colour mode.
The most common mistake is usually sending an advert, intended for print, in RGB mode (see below). When the printers system converts the document from RGB to CMYK for print there are often big variations in how the colour will turn out.
This isn’t the printer’s fault and they probably wouldn’t accept the blame or give a refund either.
(Take a look at the black and red image below. You will notice a variation in the reds and blacks. This is an example of the difference when a colour is converted from one model to another).
You need expertise when working with CMYK as the colours do have a slight faded nature to them. For example, if you wanted a black background, you have to use a mix of more than just plain black to get a pure black printed. Again this is where experience pays off.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue)
This is for screen outputs. Monitors or LCD screens blast light out through cells that use a mixture of red, blue and green to make up all colours.
Just as an advert designed in RGB probably won’t look right when printed in CMYK, similarly a piece of artwork designed in CMYK won’t look right when displayed on a monitor that is displaying in RGB.
If you want your advert to look right both on screen and in print it should really be designed twice in each colour mode.
Do check out how New Realm can ensure you can have stand-out advertising artwork to attract your customers (click here)
If you would like some friendly advice please feel free to get in-touch either by email or direct on 07939 242725
The next installment of “It’s not supposed to look like that” will cover cropping and size.