There are several things I like to do when creating a new design project. There are several advantages to taking a few minutes to think through the project and lay a good foundation for the task ahead of you.
Think about size and design accordingly
Think about your color usage.
It’s easy to convert spot colors to CMYK or convert RGB to CMYK. It’s literally a click of a button. However, the results of the conversion can be dramatically different
Layers and master page items are your best friend.
Here again, this may sound obvious, but effective use of layers and master pages are a huge asset, especially if you are working on a versioned piece. If you have simple pricing changes for regions or code changes on your direct mail, managing each change via
Pre-planning for asset collection is still a big opportunity for
I know that most applications allow for “packaging” of files and plugins are available to help with this, but I find it more useful and reliable to have a plan and collect assets myself. One of the advantages is it allows me to alter images and art without compromising the originals or shared assets. If I make a copy and want to crop, color correct for effect or mask, I can do so without worrying about changing the original.
Layout lines, bleeds and mechanical lines need to be accounted for.
If you are familiar with Adobe InDesign then you have probably seen the section in the document setup where you can establish the bleed settings and the margins. These sections can be incredibly useful and can save a lot of frustration later on. By building in bleed you are allowing for any imperfections during the finishing processes and allowing for a margin of error. The same is true for
Mechanical lines should be used when identifying die cutting, scoring or perforations on a piece.
I highly recommend building them in a spot color and placing them on their own layer. You want to be able to communicate the location, but you don’t want them to print or have your printer fight with removing them later. If they are created from a spot color, most RIPs can remove then on the fly.
These are some of things I like to do when setting myself up for a productive, efficient design session. The less I have to worry about the steps above, the more I can focus on the task at hand.
I hope this helps you in your future projects.