In our last article, we discussed some of the fundamentals when you are designing your booth displays. There are many factors that enter into the successful creation of any design. Some of the most troublesome design pitfalls are those that are not obvious at first glance, but most issues can be pinpointed by viewing your design at 100% zoom and checking every inch. Here are some important tips and considerations that can help you avoid costly mistakes:
Black Backgrounds - check channels for overlapping layers - printers can pick up the most subtle differences in color between 'true black' and any color that is even slightly a shade lighter, but still looks black to the eye. On black backdrops, whenever possible, most printers will allow you to specify 'print as rich black' - this may or may not require you to submit layered artwork. One way to check for this problem for example: in Photoshop, switch to channels and try turning off the cyan layer, or the magenta, and look closely for any discrepancies. If there are any inconstancies in the black, it might not be visible to the eye on your monitor. Even one shade off from true black can show up on a printed graphic.
Text Artifacts - a strange but common occurrence, where unexplained horizontal lines show up intermittently on a text layer. I have seen this on the un-rasterized font itself (rarely) but it often happens when a document is rendered as a PDF, or bitmap format. This is easy enough to fix or touch up once identified (on the rasterized layer), but not always visible unless you are perusing your document at 100% zoom.
PMS Color Callouts Pantone color matching. Very important if a client or company has specific colors used in their logo, or if they are looking for a close match for any solid color within the design. While a PMS call outs are not a guarantee that the colors will print perfectly (due to the many types of printers and substrates) they are still the best way to get the colors to match as closely as possible. Still, the best way ensure that the colors on your print will turn out to your satisfaction would be a printed proof.
Printed Proofs! Time does not always allow for this, but it's recommended on every order. Usually a printed proof is somewhere between $30-80, and will allow you to see a sample of your design printed on the actual material that will be used on your display. This will allow you to fine-tune your design, and ensure that all the colors will be printed to your satisfaction. Often times a printed proof includes a mini version of your entire design, and/or a close of a particular area. Highly recommended on any order, if time allows. Most of they time they are produced quickly to be overnighted, in a rush order situation this may or may not be an option.
The next chapter will focus on several solutions to another all too common problem the dreaded 'banding' .