How should I set up my fonts for printing?
Printing small elements on paper can sometimes be difficult to achieve. When artwork runs through a lithographic press, there are 4 colours applied to the paper to make up the design, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. With each pass, the press needs to align the elements from the artwork. Printing large graphics and colour is easy, but it can sometimes be difficult to line up tiny graphics such as small text.
For smaller artwork (business cards, A6 flyers etc), it is natural to shrink the text down to fit more into the space. Unfortunately, this tends to result in the text becoming blurry and unreadable.
The smallest font size we would recommend on any artwork would be 5pt. This is big enough for the press to recognise and keep the definition of the characters.
On larger prints like banners and signs, the resolution is reduced to 150 dpi. This will affect the quality substantially of smaller text. Please ensure that you use a font size appropriate to the size of the artwork you are printing. If the print is to be viewed from a distance, we would recommend using large, bold text to improve its legibility.
However, if using font below 12pt however, we suggest using only black (100% K). If only a single colour is used, then there is less risk of misalignment with the colours.
When saving your file for printing, you need to ensure that the font data has been embedded into the file. If this is not done correctly, when the file is running through our printing system, it could lead to fonts not being printed correctly.
We recommend that you save your file as a PDF/X-1a:2001. This ensures that all the font information will be saved within the PDF and will be printed correctly.
To check this, you can open your Print ready PDF and check the properties. Under the “Font” tab, you should see the fonts you have used within the document, and they should have “Embedded” next to them. If they don’t, then your fonts have not been embedded correctly.
Another option you have is to outline the fonts within your document. This process converts all the characters from editable text to shapes. The downside to this is your document won’t be editable after this process has been done, therefore we always encourage you to save a copy before doing this. The upside is, you won’t have any font information within the document and won't encounter any font issues.
Most design software allows you to perform this action. It is usually called “Create Outlines” or “Convert to shapes”
If you do have issues with fonts and need some assistance with your artwork, we do offer a File Assist artwork service where we can fix your fonts and ensure your design is printed as expected.