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Key Considerations For Label Print Quality

We review the elements of label print quality using our new equipment to help you understand, compare and evaluate options.

The quality of label printing significantly influences the overall appeal and effectiveness of the product. For ourselves, and our print resellers, it also has an effect on reputation and customer satisfaction. As such, label print quality should never be an afterthought. Producing high quality stickers and labels, for whatever application a customer requires, can be a real boon for business.

What to Consider When it Comes to Label Print Quality

When considering print quality for labels and stickers, several factors come to play. We’ve addressed some key considerations in a sample print run on our new addition, the Durst Tau 330 RSC E to highlight these for you.

So let’s get into it…

Resolution: The Foundation of Label Print Quality

Perhaps the biggest consideration of any print job is resolution. Stickers and labels are no exception. Getting sharp imagery and legible text means using the right equipment and technology for the application.

When it comes to labels, you generally want a high DPI (Dots Per Inch) count and small drop size. The higher the DPI the more nuance you can give designs, and the smaller drop size the less dot gain occurs – leading to crisp print details.

The Durst Tau 330 RSC E boasts a resolution of 1200dpi and a 2 picoliter drop size. That combination results in a market-leading label print quality. Just check out the quality sheet below. It’s an A4 paper showcasing ‘worst case’ scenarios, pushing a machine to its least effective print mode. Design details still pop and the varying elements don’t bleed into each other.

Legibility of Small Text

Small text has always been a tricky element to print clearly. On par with colour richness and image resolution, text issues are the most noticeable label print quality defects.  Naturally, a majority of label and sticker printing jobs require small text. You don’t want packaging and branding details being missed – especially in applications that fall under strict regulations. 

The smaller you can print text, the more you can play around with text on a design. Plus, the more peace-of-mind you’ll have of information being accessible to the end audience.

Taking this to the extreme, we’ve been able to print text on the Durst at 1 point size. That’s text that requires a loupe to read. This text is illegible to the naked eye, but the legibility under magnification is a testament to the printer’s precision.

Even better, italicised text also come out beautifully. Even ‘reversed out’ printing still yields good results. See the images below from our test outcomes.

When designing sticker and label printing or evaluating your printer options, these elements really open up the range of applications.

Scannability of QR Codes & Barcodes

The ability to produce legible, scannable QR codes is of great concern to printers. It’s in high demand from the customers of print resellers post-2020. That’s thanks to take up of QR code functionality and how they can be used in packaging or marketing applications.

Again, when it comes to labels, these generally need to be printed at small sizes. The clarity of the code print influences its scannability – you can’t have lines bleeding into each other. 

In the above example you can see that under a loupe, the clarity of a 5mm QR code remains impeccable. This is the smallest size QR code that we have seen scan through any of our presses. Whilst not all applications will require such small sizing, it’s a testament to what’s possible using leading-edge tech. It opens up many options too for our print resellers and their customers. 

Barcodes in Any Direction

This leads me to a quick note on something often overlooked – directionality of barcodes. Due to the setup of generic label printers, printing barcodes often requires a change in orientation to ensure scannability. That means compromising on design and often extra work for designers. This can lead to lower customer satisfaction and longer lead times.

With the Durst Tau 330 RSC E, we can print barcodes in any direction. That gives our customers the confidence to submit label and sticker designs knowing codes will scan perfectly.

Rich Solid Colours

Colour richness is another instantly obvious aspect of label print quality that can significantly enhance overall appeal. It’s a factor influenced by the printer’s colour reproduction capabilities, ink quality, and the interaction between the ink and the printing medium.

The Durst Tau 330 RSC E, leveraging the advanced inkjet tech we mentions before, excels in this regard. Colours are both rich and vibrant, giving printed labels a high-end, premium look and feel. 

Durability and Useful Life

Many of the applications of stickers and labels require the product to maintain quality label printing over a long term. Furthermore, the products are usually regularly handled, exposed to light, and outdoor conditions.

So printing equipment that utilises ink sets specifically for these purposes, in combination with durable stock, can greatly affect useful life. Our stickers and labels are printed with UV resistant ink sets that don’t require lamination and withstand outdoor conditions for up to two years. This, of course, isn’t necessary for every use case but it provides peace-of-mind to the end user.

It also unlocks a wide range of applications in combination with custom size options (stickers of up to 1m in length), a large die library, and the aforementioned label print quality.

Our Aim for Label Print Quality

As you can see there are some clear pillars of label print quality when it comes to stickers and labels. Taking these into consideration when selecting a print partner for jobs can save you money and frustration.

At Mediapoint we’re not just addressing these concerns but pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in digital label and sticker printing. Whether it’s resolution, colour richness, readability of small text, scannability of QR codes and barcodes, or length of useful life. Our label and sticker solutions provide peace-of-mind and quality customers will love (at prices you’ll love).

We’re not just improving the quality of our customer’s labels; we’re enabling them to elevate their  brand and offer an enhanced experience and wider range to customers.

If you’re a business in need, or a print reseller / broker, looking for quality label and sticker printing – put us to the test. Register for a trade account today to access exclusive pricing and online ordering.

Maintaining Relationships With Suppliers

Jamie discusses the benefits gained from maintaining relationships with suppliers in the print industry. Read on to learn more.

As a trade printer that specialises in working closely with print resellers and print brokers, we understand the importance a solid customer-supplier relationship. This is why we make it a priority to maintain strong partnerships with several leading equipment manufacturers. One of our longest, and most beneficial, relationships is with Durst. We recently visited their HQ in Europe to learn more about new equipment, print industry trends. It was also another opportunity to experience firsthand the benefits that a solid relationship provides ourselves and our customers alike.

Maintaining Relationships with Suppliers Leads to Savings for All

One of the biggest benefits of having a close relationship with equipment suppliers is the ability to pass on savings. The biggest of these are reduced turnaround time on new equipment, minimised equipment costs, and priority access to efficient equipment.

Thanks to having a good working relationship with our suppliers, we can often negotiate better prices and priority ordering. This allows us to offer our trade printing clients in Australia more competitive pricing per square metre. It also enables them to offer new product SKUs, higher volumes, and better pricing to their own customers ahead of the competition. This is of significant advantage in the fast-paced, competitive print industry.

Print Equipment Suppliers Prefer to Work With Us

It’s not just Australian print resellers and print brokers who prefer to work with us. Another advantage of maintaining relationships with equipment suppliers is that we can leverage our reputation, experience, and size. By partnering with us they benefit from having their equipment showcased in a best practice facility. Plus, they can see how the equipment works in a high-volume environment and get solid feedback. Just as we want be utilising the best equipment, large format equipment suppliers want to work with the best trade printers.

As a reputable trade printer, operating for over 18 years, we’ve become known for our reliability and professionalism. This reputation helps us to secure better deals from suppliers that others can’t match, leading to more savings for our clients.

Our size also allows us to make larger purchases and access equipment that isn’t viable for in-house production. Smaller print shops can then access the products they need through us without the capital outlay for new equipment.

Mutually Beneficial Knowledge Sharing

Another key benefit is the sharing of trade printing best practices and trends. We can work closely with our suppliers to stay informed about the latest trends in the industry. This knowledge allows us to provide our clients with the most current and effective solutions. Plus, since we’re maintaining relationships with suppliers in other markets we often see trends well in advance of Australia.

Our suppliers also benefit from our knowledge and experience in the industry,. This enables collaboration on new product development, and sharing of best practices for improved efficiency and quality.

Both parties are able to stay ahead of the curve and offer innovative products / solutions. This is particularly important in a still evolving industry like printing. New technologies and techniques are constantly being developed – early adopters have a distinct advantage.

Maintaining relationships with suppliers is crucial for our business, and it also offers many benefits to our clients. Through the combination of our experience and their knowledge we can secure better equipment and better deals. This all leads to customer value for you and the retail client.

To see just how competitive these relationships make our prices – sign up for a PrintIQ account today.

Trade Printers Can’t Guarantee Shipping Times

Jamie Xuereb explains why we can guarantee printing turnaround but not shipping times

Our trade printing process is fast – we can guarantee that. What we can’t guarantee, however, are shipping times. This comes down to a few factors but it boils down to the fact that we don’t control the courier process.

Everything up to the point of dispatch has been designed by us for efficiency. Automation, print modes, human inputs (where necessary), printing equipment placement – it’s all honed and continually reviewed. We’ve previously discussed how printing cut off times underpin our efficiencies – unfortunately couriers don’t operate the same way.

So whilst we can estimate when a pickup run may occur (particularly for couriers who do daily runs) it’s not an exact science.

When ordering with Mediapoint, and any trade printer really, be aware that there may be variance in delivery time. We can guarantee the printing will be done within our allotted timeframe – but not anything past the point of dispatch.

So let’s outline a few things print resellers can do to mitigate delays:

1) Provide all Label Information for Dependable Shipping Times

Shipping information is an often overlooked point of criticality in the production process. How fast an order can be completed and dispatched hinges on having correctly labelled items.

By providing all shipping information and labels when placing an order means no downtime when a print job hits production. Once a job is placed into our printing production line it cannot be changed – neither can dispatch information. For the sake of efficiency and accuracy printers will require this info upfront. It’s up to the customer to confirm all the courier details / requirements – but it’s really not that much of a burden. 

Whilst we cannot guarantee shipping times at Mediapoint, we can promise that your print job will be on the production floor within a short time when ordering by the cutoff. It’ll be ready for dispatch the next business day at the latest.

2) Leverage Your Courier Options for Print Jobs

Mediapoint customers have the choice of multiple couriers for delivery of print jobs. We maintain strong relationships with many couriers to limit the impact that delays or unavailability of one courier can have on delivery times.

We have TNT, StarTrack and CouriersPlease completing daily pick ups to maximise distribution and mitigate delays for delivery across the country.

If customers prefer (or require) a bespoke/ or alternative shipping method that’s fine too. They just need to provide the label at ordering and time the pickup for when the job is complete. We encourage print resellers and print brokers to investigate the various delivery options available to them.

3) Use a Dependable Trade Printer

When you utilise a dependable, efficient trade printer you can be sure that the actual print process delay orders. Plus, a reputable printer will general have several options for delivery to give customers the best chance of receiving print jobs ASAP. Our Lean, efficient  processes and minimal manual handling or service not only enables us to pass savings onto our customers. It also means we can guarantee printing turnaround times to the point of dispatch.

Our customers love that they can on-sell print with better margins, and peace-of-mind that whilst delivery times can’t be guaranteed they are still likely to receive them within an adequate window

Mediapoint has made the print process easier for all parties by being clear about our requirements and guarantees. If you’d like a dependable, reputable trade printer – set up an account and give us a try.

The Value of Automated Trade Printing Quotes

Today we’re delving into what our automated trade printing quotes mean for customers and why we’ve invested in such a system.

Automation underpins the effectiveness (and efficiency) of our printing processes. It enables Mediapoint to deliver on turnaround guarantees for over 150 orders a day. This ability for a trade printer to deliver is critical. Without a slick process in place it would be very hard for teams to achieve targets. That’s not to mention that some trade printing businesses use a manual quoting process as throttle / delay.

Whilst we dictate our own internal processes we always ensure these are centred on delivering value for our trade clients.

At Mediapoint we identified that speed of service and the benefits of automation don’t just start when an order is confirmed. A majority of our customers require a system that allows them to get their print jobs done (including quoting) seamlessly and at speed.

Not only is much of our proofing and production driven by technology – so is our best-in-class self serve print portal.

Everyone Saves Time with Automated Print Quotes

The pricing process can really drag on (and be seriously delayed) without an automated quoting system in place. Think of the emails or phone calls back and forth, the different databases to connect to, and the possibility of human error switching between different systems. These elements are present on both the printer and customer’s side.

With an automated system there is minimal friction, less requirement for human input (meaning we can have our team focus on delivering quality print jobs), and the ability to shift from quoting to printing instantly.

Time is a valuable resource; wasting it costs you and your Trade Printer money. Not to mention lost opportunities to be focusing on more important work.

At Mediapoint any savings made in time and labour are passed on to our customers – through the automated system delivering the quotes!

Automated Trade Printing Quotes Minimise Errors

Through the use of automation we can leverage computing power and integration to ensure that prices are correct in real-time. In combination with our self serve print portal and embedded print pricing model ordering is easy, accurate and fast.

 It eliminates the need for our staff members to check over multiple pricing tables, inventory databases, and equipment availability before providing a quote. Plus, any ‘ghosts in the system’ will be flagged for review. This provides us with peace-of-mind that there is a system in place to highlight any issues that do arise.

As a fail-safe we do routine checks to confirm our system for automated trade printing quotes works as intended. Our priority however is for our staff to be on the production floor delivering on print jobs. That is where the real value of a trade printer is delivered and where having our skilled staff is necessary.

Resellers Love Our Self Serve Print Portal

The ability for clients to access live-pricing and get accurate quotes quickly is a significant factor itself. By expediting the ordering process our print resellers and print brokers can confidently estimate turnaround to their own clients. Plus, it eases the burden on their teams when it comes to pricing and project managing jobs.

Speed of communication is important for resellers and print shop managers wanting to establish (and sustain) good relationships with their clients.

Automated trade printing quotes support this from the very outset. After all – wouldn’t you as a customer of any business prefer to deal with those that have prompt and clear responses?  Any way we can help our clients in this area is something we take very seriously.

Mediapoint has grown to be one of Australia’s biggest and most experienced trade-only printers over 16+ years. If you’re looking for a printing partner who makes it easier to quote, produce and deliver on print jobs for your clients – sign up today.

Why Do We Need Shipping Information Upfront?

Learn more about the Mediapoint ordering process and why we require all shipping information / labels for print orders upfront.

Simply put: our print process is too fast to wait around for shipping information.

We need all info and necessary labels at the start of an order because once it’s confirmed every step of production and dispatch is locked in. We’ve invested time and money into creating a streamlined print process underpinned by leading edge technology. Once a job is placed into the production schedule it cannot be changed.

If you’re ordering any of our products with next-day turnaround guarantees (and order by the 12pm cutoff) it’s highly likely that your order will be on the production floor within a few hours and ready for dispatch the next business day.

Shipping information and labelling is an often overlooked point of criticality in the production process. How fast an order can be completed and dispatched hinges on having correctly labelled items.

Lack of Shipping Information Causes Delays

We run a double shift at Mediapoint and teams work until 10pm to ensure all jobs for the next day’s dispatched are finished, packaged and ready for collection by the various couriers. To have this completed on-time, everyday, we require all shipping information to be ready ahead of job completion. 

For other trade printing businesses, who leave this information until last, delays in dispatch are quite common. They need to chase down the required labels, destination and delivery partner while jobs are already in QA or waiting for dispatch. We think this is a particularly wasteful practice and want to ensure the most efficient turnaround for our clients. Any time a job is sitting idle in the facility is wasted time and potentially damaging to the reputation of our resellers.

Courier / Shipping Options from Mediapoint

Mediapoint customers have the option of selecting from a few different options at the point of ordering. There are a couple nuances for each option which we highlight below:

Direct Courier

If a point-to-point courier is requested (and therefore organised by the customer) the shipping information required a diamond label with the address. Simply select this option on our portal when ordering and note the address for shipping.

Road Freight

To ensure that our jobs can be dispatched across the entire country with ease and speed we have multiple carriers doing daily runs from our facility. As of September, 2022 we have TNT, StarTrack and CouriersPlease completing daily pick ups. To be included in these runs you’ll just need to create the label and provide at time of ordering.

Ad-Hoc Carrier / Shipping Method

If you require a bespoke/ or alternative method of shipping you’ll need to provide the label at ordering and time the pickup for when the job is complete. To accurately determine the required shipping information you can ask our team for an estimate of time for a job to be complete, or review our product guides. Most items will be ready for pickup next-day when ordered by the 12pm cutoff.

Clarity for Customers

Our Lean process and minimal manual service on the front end saves time and money. It enables us to price as well as we do and pass savings onto our customers. Being able to on-sell print with better margins, and peace-of-mind around turnaround times, is an appealing tradeoff for having to prepare shipping information at the time of ordering. It just requires a small process change from some customers to access the fastest trade printing turnaround times.

By being clear about our requirements we’ve made the ordering process much simpler for everyone leading to fewer mistakes, faster turnaround, and less time spent on administration.

Using IQ: Getting Quotes & Making Orders

Our self-serve trade print portal is PrintIQ. It makes ordering print jobs with Mediapoint quick and easy. Amongst the features within the self-serve print portal you’re able to access live pricing 24/7, get quotes, view your previous / current orders, and submit artwork.

Jamie (Mediapoint Founder) has put together a useful video walkthrough to showcase the PrintIQ workflow. Learn how to view products, put a quote together, confirm your orders and see helpful metrics when you need them.

We’ve developed PrintIQ to cater towards customers that require fast, efficient print at the best-price.

Our trade printing portal enables us to guarantee next-day turnaround on certain products when ordered by cut-off times. High volume resellers love the ability to easily build quotes, submit their artwork and track progress live, in one place.

Sign Up to Access Trade Only Pricing

Want to access the best priced trade printing? Sign up for a PrintIQ account today.

Why We Can’t Change An Order Once It Hits Production

In this article we’re taking a further look at the inner-workings of our automated printing system. Jamie explains why we can’t (and don’t) change a job once it hits production.

We’ve previously touched on our automated processes. They bring benefits to efficiency as well as pricing. Today, Jamie delves into why we can’t adjust orders once they hit production. Watch and read on to learn more about our automated print system.

Our Automated Printing System is too Good

Our automated printing systems are extremely efficient – just like the rest of our processes. An order can hit production within 10 minutes of being confirmed. Artwork pre-processing, stock selection and printer setup is all automatic. So there is little opportunity for any manual adjustments to the print run. 

Our system and processes are established to deliver on the requirements of high volume resellers. We do not offer bespoke services or undertake any manual processing as this would reduce efficiency, minimise our ability to deliver on customer demands and increase costs.

Changing Orders Changes The Quote

Mediapoint’s ability to deliver quick trade printing quotes is underpinned by scaled volume and inventory calculations. When a job is submitted for quoting on our self serve print portal these calculations are completed and price locked in. 

Once the the quote is accepted our automated print system sets printing in motion. If there were adjustments to an order (quantity, product type etc.) quoted prices, batching lots, and dispatch estimates would be incorrect.

Changes to Jobs Impact The Key Benefits of Trade Printing

Our focus is on delivering high volume printing with a quick turnaround as a trade printing partner. That’s why the onus is on clients to deliver finished artwork and confirm their requirements. The tradeoff for this lack bespoke customer service is quick turnaround and low prices.  Any changes to orders would impact the key benefits for which Mediapoint is known.

We find that print resellers are more than happy to take the extra time to review and confirm orders. This hasn’t changed in over 16 years of business. Our customers can continue to pass on the best prices and lead-times to their own clients thanks to our automated print system and adjacent processes.

Sign up for a PrintIQ account to view our product pricing and get ordering today if you’re looking for a trade printing partner.

Mediapoint’s Print Process: One Job Is One Dispatch

In this article we detail our Mediapoint’s print process and how that facilitates expedited completion of print jobs for customers.

We operate by a single rule when it comes to dispatching: One Job is One Dispatch.

Whilst other trade printers may split orders or create kits to be dispatched to multiple locations, we’ve consciously chosen not to do this. When you order using our self serve printing system we treat that order as an individual batch intended for one destination.

Over 150 orders a day are handled by Mediapoint’s print process. It involves the use of a highly-automated system and optimised, Lean processes. The moment an order is placed in our system every element required to complete the job – materials, print time, custom packaging, staff – is locked in. Everything is accounted for which leads to jobs completed exactly as intended.

Automation means leaves no room for ad-hoc changes but it means we can deliver on high volume orders with a quick turnaround. Furthermore, customers are benefitted by predictable lead times for print runs.

Splitting print orders is one such sacrifice of Mediapoint’s print process. However, we believe it is outweighed by the benefits of streamlined procedures and the ease of using our system.

Mediapoint’s Print Process Minimises Mistakes

Following our simple rule minimises any chance of mistakes throughout our trade printing process. Common mistakes from other trade printers who do split orders:

  • Underdelivering stock amounts to each destination
  • Jobs going to wrong locations
  • Varied delivery times due to different couriers / routes.
  • Delayed delivery due to the time it takes to finish and package split jobs individually.

Each of these issues can be detrimental to both our reputation and that of our clients who have their own service-level guarantees in place with their customers.

Don’t forget every added step in the print process will add costs. This leads to increased prices and reduces the amount of margin passed onto customers.

Customers Can Still Order Multiple Jobs

When working with Mediapoint’s print process you can still have printing delivered to multiple sites. However, each pack need to be ordered under separate job numbers. The time it takes to complete multiple orders on our automated printing system (PrintIQ) is negligible. 

The individual number of jobs aids in visibility of job progress for customers. Since each job number is treated separately there is full transparency around dispatch timelines and destinations. This also reduces the requirement for our teams to read convoluted notes or do extra work that may slow down the trade printing process.

Playing to Our Strengths

The advantages of Mediapoint’s print process are the ability to access live 24/7 pricing on orders, access to the lowest prices, next-day turnaround on most products, and outsourcing of high volume jobs to focus on sales rather than production. By providing clarity of our process, utilising a self-serve printing portal, and implementing automation at every stage we can sustain our standards and deliver on these advantages for every customer.

If you’re a high volume reseller looking for trade printing partner that offers the lowest prices, than look no further than Mediapoint. Simply sign up for a PrintIQ account to get started.

Why Are We Strict About Print Job Cut Off Times?

Read on (and watch) to learn why we have strict, print job cut off times for certain products. We break down how that enables service levels above and beyond the competition.

Mediapoint averages 150+ orders a day. To deliver on these with next-day turnaround, we have established Lean processes that other trade printers can’t compete with.

A strict printing cut-off time of 12pm underpins these procedures. At this time, every day, our system automatically locks out any new next-day orders. From there, automations begin to run; preparing all inventory, equipment, artwork files and staff required for a batched print run.

Print Job Cut Off Times Create Predictability

Keeping strict printing cut off times (and making it clear to customers) means a predictable service level for customers. With no variance in lead times they have peace-of-mind that jobs will be completed and dispatched as expected.

It means that our printing teams have a clear set of tasks to complete. That means we can adequately prepare our lines for maximum efficiency. Set print job cut off times are key to batching jobs, minimising change to stock and print modes during operation.

We’ve previously discussed locking into one print mode only which helps maintain quality and speed.

Printing Once A Day Reduces Costs

We pride ourselves on offering the best prices. To do so we need to find savings wherever possible – all of which are passed onto our clients. Inventory represents a significant portion of any print cost. A batching process helps us keep an optimal amount of inventory on hand. Plus, we end up using less resources per print run. Trade printers need definitive print job cut off times to effectively schedule completion of these job batches.

Another overlooked cost of printing is labour. This rises significantly when print runs are not batched. The time it takes to set up equipment for each differing print run, to cut print jobs, to complete finishing work and to package items are all areas where great savings can be made. In combination with our automated PrintIQ system – which reduces the need for manual servicing of quotes and design – we significantly reduce costs.

These savings then provide margin for our print reseller customers to play with when on-selling work.

Mediapoint’s Print Process Benefits Our People

The batching process and printing cut off times mentioned above mean our staff just need to complete each task once before moving onto the next stage of the print run. They become more efficient and we can do more, with less people. Unlike other trade printers, our teams are not burdened by wastes of rework or overproduction. In fact, our staff gain valuable time back and are involved in every stage of the work, allowing them to build and maintain their skillset.

Mediapoint Cut Off Times
Our Durst 512R LED in action. We used the points in these posts when making decision to buy this printer as it fit our business

Our Process Keeps Us Honest

Our established, automated system for overnight printing means there is minimal variance in our output and a predictable low-touch level of service. This reduces friction in the ordering process, and allows us to be transparent about how jobs are handled.

This visibility is useful for resellers looking for the right trade print partner for high volume output. It removes the guesswork involved in the print process for them and ensures they can deliver on service levels to their own customers. 

We’ve established our print job cut off times based on experience and optimisation over the last 16 years of servicing high volume resellers. In that time we’ve identified that the 12pm cutoff provided an ideal lead-time for a majority of our clients and our internal processes. Furthermore when rush print jobs are required (which we don’t cater to) our customers’ in-house capabilities can handle them.

As we say, “the proof is in the print” so if you’re looking for a trade print partner that can deliver on high volume jobs day-in, day-out, give our 24-hour turnaround process a try on your next high volume print run. Simply sign up to PrintIQ here and order by 12pm for dispatch by next business day.

4 Tips for Optimal Large Format Printing

Jamie shares several tips to minimise delays and achieve optimal output from your large format printing.

1) Always Use Vectors Where Possible

When creating / supplying artwork, utilise vectors – these are your best friend! Vectors are images created from shapes based on mathematical formulas. This keeps them sharp no matter how large the artwork needs to be. Don’t worry – you don’t need to know the tech or mathematics behind it all. Your graphic design software should look after that. The reason we (and other printers) recommend vectors is that they are sharper than Rasters. With rasters, there is always a point where the images will pixelate. Rasters are essentially a photo – hence the inability to scale infinitely. In large format printing this is invaluable as it eliminates the possibility of any issues.

Even better, vector images contain the CMYK values of a graphic which leads to more accurate colour output in the finished print.

2) Ensure Fonts Are Converted to Outlines

Fonts are perhaps the most fickle element when it comes to supplied artwork – just ahead of colours. Due to the variety of fonts in existence and the legal / technical limitations of having them stored within a database, you should always convert your text elements to outlines. Without conversion there’s a high chance your printer may not have the font available and it will be automatically substituted by their graphic design software. This is particularly true of bespoke fonts or those in languages that do not use the English alphabet.

There are other processes to workaround these issues – like flattening of an image file – however this can create other issues that need fixes of their own. By simply converting fonts to outlines you can ensure that artwork will print as it is provided, and avoid any delays to printing.

Most trade printers will not undertake proofing and require artwork to be provided in this way. This allows for automation and expedited printing with minimal service requirements. If you want to better understand what is required by your trade printer, and find the right match, we recently discussed the fundamental questions to ask.

3) Flatten Gradients Where Possible

When it comes to gradients (unlike Fonts), flattening is a useful process to ensure an accurate finished product. If you leave gradients as a raster, or simply a selected effect option in a PDF, it may be interpreted differently depending on the Raster Image Processing Software (RIPS) used by the printer. Not all RIPS are made the same, so it is best to standardise your images and eliminate the chance of gradients going awry in your wide format printing.

It’s always safer to flatten your gradients and it doesn’t take long – so what have you got to lose?

4) Utilise CMYK For Large Format Printing

Always create and supply your print artwork in CMYK colour format. Conventional large format printing is done using CMYK inks, so you’ll want to ensure your artwork matches. Whilst it may be tempting to use RGB in this digital age, that colour format is only best for screen / web design. Quite often we find people are surprised by the difference in colour between a digital RGB file and a sample CMYK print output.

By using CMYK from the very beginning you’ll be able to see the actual output throughout the entire processes. This leads to accurate printing, a better idea of the finished product to set expectations, and satisfied customers.

BONUS: Inspect Your Artwork At 100% On Screen

Here’s a bonus tip we’ll throw in for free: make sure you view your PDF Files at 100%!

This simple trick can pay dividends down the line and help you avoid any issues with large format printing quality. By viewing at 100% you will get an idea of the actual quality of images and see any potential pixelation.

For those more technically-inclined here’s what this means from a DPI perspective:

  • If the file is 10% then make sure to zoom in at 1000% to see the artwork as it will end up.
  • 120 DPI for raster photos at 100% size is what we generally recommended. Going over this is likely overkill and will see diminishing returns.

An example: For banner files at 10% size, ensure that it is set up at 1200 DPI so when blown up it gets to the 120 DPI mark.

Mediapoint Optimal Large Format Printing
Optimal Large Format Printing

Eliminating Errors From Wide Format Printing

So there you have it – our top tips for eliminating any issues when utilising a trade printing partner. We’ve worked thousands of print jobs over the years; by following these recommendations our customers have accelerated their print processes and eliminated the burden of rework / delays.

If you’re a high volume print reseller looking for a trade-only printing partner with a wide range of products speak to us today.

have a question?
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