Managing Files in the Digital (and Print) Age | ODEA

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Managing Files in the Digital (and Print) Age

We’ve talked about the importance of working effectively with creatives as marketers before. But there’s more that we can do to keep the harmonious vibes flowing. Luckily, we have an amazing designer on our team willing to share some tips on something he’s deeply passionate about – files!

You already know we’re nerds who are curious about, well, everything. So, Mars Manderico, one of the extremely talented designers we work with, started schooling us on all the intricacies that differentiate digital and print files. We knew we had to share this vital information with you as well so you too can keep your designer friends happy.

Color Us Curious

No surprise that a lot of the differences in prepping design files for digital versus print comes down to color. But for those of us who don’t have a trained design-eye we might not fully understand why the colors on our screens look completely wacky on paper. It all has to do with color mixing and the medium in which they are being presented.

For association purposes, if it’s digital think RGB. If it’s for print, CMYK. This is where things can go south quickly if you don’t have a little knowledge. Let’s break it down!

RGB refers to Red, Green and Blue. Those are the colors that emit light through the monitor that you’re probably looking at right now. CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (which is most often black). These are the colors of ink that work together to print whatever you want. This difference would also be why your colors may look screwy when you decide you want to print out a piece that was meant for digital.

Pixel Probs

The other issue you’ll run into when printing a file that’s intended for digital use has to do with dots per inch or DPI, which is exactly what it sounds like. This measure refers to the number of dots that can fit into an inch of space on your screen or page.

Files used for print are most often going to be 300 DPI and files for web use, when printed, will be 72 DPI. This is what’s happening if you’ve ever printed off a file for the web and wondered why it looked okay on your screen but it’s pixelated or blurry when you print it.

The good news is all you have to do to avoid these issues is communicate with your designers! They have the training and experience to bring creative visions to your hands and screens, but to do that effectively you can’t go rogue.

In comparison to the printing process, the web is still in its infancy, and we have a tendency to forget that. When it comes to web design, there are so many capabilities- but also some kinks- that print has already worked out. Fortunately, designers are already aware of all this, which is why they’re the experts!

When it comes down to it, trust your creatives. Designers are there to create the best product possible, and marketers and biz owners play a huge role in that. And if you have questions, ask! If you’re lucky enough to work with a talented designer like Mars who is also passionate about file types, he or she will be happy to teach you everything you need to know – and more!