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.

Too often, we receive files which frankly look pathetic but which we know the customers have made real effort in presenting. They have made the mistake of using word processors for the job. Good or bad, the printing cost is the same, and that is a real pity. Microsoft Word or other word processors are not designed to produce brochures or business cards. Furthermore, these often do not reproduce graphics and colours correctly when output to the high-end equipment we (or most other commercial printers) use.

Design programs

Suitable programs include CorelDraw, Inkscape, Scribus, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher, InDesign and Illustrator. The first five are great programs that we highly recommend not only because they are very reasonably priced (or free) but because they are extremely good and very user friendly.

We have been using Coreldraw almost exclusively for very many years but are now using Inkscape and Scribus. I thoroughly recommend Inscape and Scribus (both free) and the Affinity series which are very reasonably priced at around AUD100 each. With these programs 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. They produce impecable pdf files (required by all printers) and easily converting all text to outlines to faithfully reproduce your brochure or whatever.

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.

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.

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).


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.

For more detailed explanation, click here

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