FC Productions

Tips for better prints

As with any task, to get a job done well, we need the right tools and a certain level of skill to go with them. Printing cost is the same whether you supply a good quality file or a poorly made one, but the end product can be quite different.

Word processors are not design tools.

Microsoft Word or other word processors are not designed to produce brochures or business cards. These, and Microsoft Publisher, often do not reproduce graphics and colours correctly when output to the high-end equipment we (or most other commercial printers) use.

Bitmap files

Photo editing programs such as Photoshop and Photopaint are tools for manipulating photos (bitmap images). Their ability to handle text have unfortunately given a lot of people the impression that they can create business cards with these programs. Have you heard of Gimp? You must give it a try. An amazingly good software and it's free.

Text, when converted to bitmap, lose sharpness. This is especially crucial in business cards as we need a high degree of sharpness for the small text generally used. You need a design program that retains text as text or as outline (vectors).

Design programs

Suitable programs include CorelDraw, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher, InDesign and Illustrator. The first three are great programs that we highly recommend not merely because they are very reasonably priced but because they are extremely good and very user friendly.

We use Coreldraw almost exclusively. WIth Coreldraw, you get extreme accuracy with placement, alignments and sizing of objects. Bleeds and crop marks are produced with no-guesswork, completely hassle-free and error-free – all very important issues with printing. You can easily convert all text to curves and send us your original files for fixing if necessary. Furthermore, it produces pdf files at lightning speed without the need of a pdf creating program. You get high productivity with CorelDraw and the Affinity series.

For bitmap work, you must go with Gimp – FREE and incredibly powerful program backed up by great support from a large community of expert users.


Bleed is the margin that extends outside of the edge of the page. This allows the printer to trim the job to the correct size without showing the white of the paper. We require 2mm bleed on every edge.

Convert text to outline

Before sending your file to the printer, unless it is in pdf format, you should convert all your text to outline (or curves) as the bureau may not have the fonts you use. Word processors cannot make this conversion.

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