If you're about to send off a printing job to a printing company for the first time, you may think that all you have to do is send a file and wait for the results. But printing from electronic files still requires time and care if you want the finished product to look good. Not only is that part of the printing company's responsibility when they start to work on your job, but it's also partly your responsibility to prepare the files correctly. This is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, these three steps will help you and the printing company create some beautifully printed material.
Zip the Files
Chances are that your project is not just one big picture or block of text -- you likely have a few, if not several files, each with separate components of the printing project. Instead of trying to attach all of them to one email (which could get the email kicked back to you if the files are too large for your email service), zip the files. This is also known as compressing the files. Zip everything, not just the big files, because that will help the printing company keep everything together and not have to hunt down a stray file in an old email. Place all of the files you need to send in one folder on your computer and then zip that folder using the default program on your computer. You should be able to find the default program by looking through the drop-down menus on your computer's upper toolbar for words like compress or zip.
Send Them Early
Sometimes you have a rush job, but for those projects where you have plenty of time to work on them, be sure to send the files to the printer early. Do not send them at the last minute if you can avoid it because that will just mess up the printer's schedule and cause other people's projects to back up. Plus, if the printer is already dealing with several last-minute jobs, you might not be able to get yours until it's too late.
Ask About Bleeding Before Creating the Graphics
What you send to the printer might not be what you finally see, unless you talk to the printer beforehand about a special issue called bleeding. Bleeding is where the color in a graphic runs past the edge of the graphic. The printer cuts the pages in the bleed section, allowing the color in the graphic to reach the edge of the page without there being any white lines at the edge. If you neglect to find out how much bleeding the printer requires, the project could look pretty messy.
Contact your preferred printer early on in your project to discuss everything from preferred formats to delivery times and methods. Printing can go very smoothly if you have everything ready to go and have it arranged to meet the printing company's requirements.