Understanding print engines and how they actually print your design can be complex, so here’s a summary of key information for you to ensure that your card designs are created with maximum print quality in mind.
How our print engines work
When we send a card design to print, it is the printer engine’s responsibility to read the contents of the design and convert it into a format that enables the printer to transfer the design onto a card. It’s looking for all sorts of different elements of a design including colours, images and text.
Printing text from flattened file types
A ‘flat’ file is a file that has no layers. If the card design being printed is a JPG or compressed PDF file, the print engine will not identify different elements of the design- everything you see, including the text, will be printed as an image. This means that black text will be printed as a composite (made up of multiple colours combined) which will reduce the quality of the text. The examples pictured below show the difference in quality between text printed as an image and text printed as text.
This design was printed directly from our card printing software, so the text was recognised by the print engine and was printed in a sharp and solid black. Text items in a Microsoft Word document will also print as solid black text, so if you’re providing your own artwork then we recommend our downloadable word document template.
This card was printed from a flattened PDF, so the text was not identified by the print engine and was printed as a composite. As a result, the text is much less sharp and is not solid black.
What can I do to ensure that my cards are high quality?
It’s crucial for any ID card that all the text is easy to read. To maximise the quality of your cards, always use bold font styles and avoid using small font sizes if you are providing your artwork as a JPG or PDF file. We cannot be held responsible for text that has not printed well due to undersized text. In addition to this, avoid using light or pale colours for your text as we cannot guarantee the quality of this in printing.
If you are designing your own cards, we recommend adding our ‘Photo Artwork Proof’ option to your order. We will then print your design, as supplied, onto a card and send you a photo to check you are happy with it before we print the full order.
Alternatively, you could make use of our artwork design service where we will create a bespoke design for you and we’ll hold your design on file ready for use on any future orders.