Amazing Design, Ugly Print

You have spent the entire morning on arranging every image and word into the perfect design that you just know will retain reader interest and lead people into your compelling ‘Call to Action.’ Countless hours of work have gone into writing the words and selecting photos that tell a story. Your message is clear and consistent.

Time to throw this masterpiece at the printer sitting just a few feet away.

Just moments later, your mind is struggling to resolve the difference between the beautiful design on your screen, and the blurry mess on the paper in your hand.

You will try a few adjustments before you throw up your hands in defeat.

How could you produce the beautiful print that you see, without spending a fortune at a local printer?

Keep reading for a few ideas and the reasons behind the result you see.

What Went Wrong?

You are not the problem, which is probably the most important truth about this situation.

Computer software features are advancing at a record pace. As fast as you can learn to arrange elements on the ‘page’ on your screen, there are 15 new features that are added during the most recent software update. Rapid changes inside the software are not added to the printer driver at the same rate.

At the same time, printers are aging more rapidly than ever before, and very few models have ‘firmware’ that can be updated over the Internet. Your printer is out of date as soon as you open the box. Even if you take the time to update the driver monthly, you are going to see differences between your design and the print on the page.

On the best day, the software and printer do not ‘speak the same language.’ This might be surprising since most of us expect our most valuable office equipment to work together. Translation of your design, or print preparation, does not happen automatically. The printer is unable to interpret the design without extra steps to convert your design into the color and resolution required for high-quality print.

The truth is that two very separate industries are struggling to work together without communicating at the most basic level.

Inexpensive Printers

Computer hardware companies have designed and produced inexpensive desktop printers to enable computer users to transfer what is on the computer screen to paper. Few of these printers are meant to print much more than text. You might have spent about $100 on a printer that has few setup steps and responds when you issue the print command from inside your software.

After you have printed about 200 pages, you will have to purchase new print cartridges for more money than you paid for that printer. You realize how little ink was in that first set of cartridges that were included with your printer. Only after you make that painful purchase do you start to wonder if there is a better way.

More expensive printers are produced for office use. You will have more control over the printer’s features when your printer has a better ‘driver,’ which is the software that runs the printer. The driver software allows you to tell the printer which paper is loaded and whether the file contains an image, text or a combination of both.

When you print a large quantity of pages, you will want to upgrade to a better printer. Once you have that new printer, you would be wise to learn every option offered from inside the driver software. Sometimes the best solution is to upgrade the tools and then master the steps to use every possible print option.

Software Features

A few famous software programs are familiar to almost everyone who has ever worked in an office. Those easy-to-use programs are incapable of converting your design for the printer. No one tells you how your design will print until you see the result on the paper. Your use of these features can be the cause of poor print quality.

  • ‘Drag and Drop’ is a catchy term for the ability of your software to read your mouse movements and remember where you left a photo or a text box.
  • ‘Font Enhancement’ enables you to attract attention to certain words and create elements that can be associated with an image or an item in the design.
  • ‘Text Alignment’ resembles the typesetting precision used in print shops. Reading aligned text is easier than following the jagged right margin.

Without some assistance, the software will never communicate the details of your design inside your software without some conversion steps. When you send your beautiful design to your desktop printer, most of the instructions are missing. Your $85 printer will struggle to replicate the most basic, visual elements.

Designers use the most advanced graphic design programs to create printable documents. Countless training hours are required to access the features that will make the print stand out.

Printer Needs

Basic printers are expecting to receive a predictable stream of text characters that can be placed on the page without additional information. The black printer cartridge is larger because the print capability of a simple printer is black ink on white paper.

More elaborate print jobs elaborate will require:

  • Creation of your design in an advanced design program.
  • Use of the CMYK color mode.
  • High-resolution photos and images.
  • Conversion to print-ready PDF format.

Even the most advanced printers cannot transform a design that has not been created for the print form. Before engaging the print services of a professional, or trade printer, your design must be converted into the expected print-ready format.

Never expect your $85 printer to produce your design any better than mediocre print.

Solve the Print-Quality Challenges

Few business owners, or professionals, have the eye for design and computer skills to engage the right tools to create a printable version of the idea. The best approach is to step away from your desk and write your ideas on pages of paper with your favorite pen. Locate photos of which you own the rights, and then allow us to take over for you.

There are three options for taking your idea to print:

  • Advanced Method – – Spend hours of your precious time learning how to translate from software to print.
  • Hire a Designer who knows the pre-press steps to convert your designs for print. Then pay full retail print prices.
  • Easiest method – – – contact your print specialist today! Save time, improve the quality of your print, have access to the finest quality print available on the market today.  All at affordable rates!

Your great ideas deserve professional attention while you continue to invest your energy in your business. Take the easiest approach and jot down your idea in your own terms. As we work with you on your design, you can offer ideas and suggestions to be certain the entire project comes together better than you ever dreamed possible.

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