Pre-printing work

Thanks to Sam, I understand better some basic concepts of pre-printing work. Since it’s extremely useful for anyone wanting to print advocacy (or other) material, here is what I understood.

We used Inkscape and Scribus.

Professional printing requires your image to have a high resolution. Resolution is expressed in “dots per inch” or dpi. A good resolution for the printer we are using is 300 dpi.

If the graphic you want to print is a vector graphic, no problem, it can be as high definition as needed. If it’s a photo or something similar, the very high resolution has to be taken into account from the start.

Setting the resolution in Inkscape: File -> Export Bitmap -> Bitmap size -> 300 dpi

I’m still completely lost in the world of colors. Getting exactly the same colors on your screen and on paper is a nightmare.

Three pieces of advice:

  • Let it be, you can’t control everything
  • If you REALLY want to, calibrate your screen
  • or use a color matching system to find the name of the colors you want and define them individually. Use CMYK color model (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key – black).

Bleeds are extra colored space on the sides or your designs. It’s a little bit like margins, but colored. It is made to be sure that you won’t end up with a white strip around your design, while it was supposed to be entirely colored.

For our printing company, the bleeds have to be 3mm on each side. So if your sticker I supposed to be 74 mm / 74 mm, the page including bleeds should be 80 mm / 80 mm.

Exporting from Inkscape, importing to Scribus
I still haven’t really understood why is this step needed, but it has something to do with some colors scheme being supported better by Scribus.

  1. In Inkscape: Export Bitmap -> Page -> 300 dpi -> Export
  2. Open Scribus
  3. When you create a new document, set the bleeds (next to ‘margin guide’) (3mm). The margins must be at 0mm
  4. Create a image box the size of your page
  5. Import the .png image in your image box
  6. Save as PDF (there is an icon in Scribus 1.4.3)
  7. In the ‘Color’ tab, chose ‘Output Intended For’ -> Printer
  8. In the ‘Pre-Press’ tab, check the box ‘Use Documents Bleeds’ in the ‘Bleed Settings’ part

Save. Congratulations!