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A designer's guide to printing a poster

09. Check your spelling!

Even if there are only a few words – as on this poster series by Fatih Hardal – double and triple check them

Even if there are only a few words – as on this poster series by Fatih Hardal – double and triple check them

Luke Woodhouse advises that you to "spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. Then get your mum to spellcheck it and anyone else who will read it for you. There's nothing more soul-destroying than a typo, and they're easy to miss if you're too close to your masterpiece." And that goes for the big words as well as the small ones – its not uncommon to caught up in checking the small print, only to miss a glaring error in the headline. 

10. Set the correct bleed

What is bleed? It's simply a little margin (usually 3 or 5mm) around the edge of your poster design that, depending on how the printer cuts the paper down, may or may not be shown in the finished result. It's essentially your room for error and ensures there isn't a random white line on the edges of your printed poster.

Programs such as InDesign and QuarkXPress make it easy by showing you guides, so you can see where the bleed starts and finishes. Always ask the printer you're using (or check your own printer settings) to determine how much bleed is required for your poster printing.

11. Consider the trim

The trim is the edge of the final printed output. To prevent text or logos being chopped off the final output, they should be placed with some breathing space around them. Design elements should be no closer to the trim edge than 3-5mm, depending on the size of the poster. 

12. Run a pre-print check

Always run a pre-print check. This will bring up any issues, such as RGB files being used or fonts used that aren’t embedded. In InDesign this is known as a 'pre-flight'. The programme can package up all your print files and links ('File > Package') into one folder, which will spare you any missing font nightmares.

13. Get your blacks right

How to print a poster

Ben Powell advises you avoid RGB black as it will look grey in print

Ben Powell suggests: "When printing posters using black, there are so many different types of black you can use (RGB, Photoshop, neutral rich, registration, flat, designer, and so on).

"My tip would be to avoid RGB black as this is primarily used for the web/digital and will look washed-out and grey in print. Which black you should use will depend entirely on your printing process and what paper stock you're using, especially if you're printing solid blacks.

"When I designed a recent infographic piece, I spent days printing various different blacks on different stocks of paper to get the most accurate black whilst making sure the colours didn't bleed into each other; a really lengthy but worthwhile process. Always leave plenty of time to test your blacks – it can completely ruin a fantastic poster design if you don't."

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