The best print or web related tips from my readers

28 Mar 2013

Better late than never! Ages ago I posted this about the best print or web related tip, where I requested my readers to post theirs in the comments. A lot of people did the effort and shared their knowledge by giving a ton of great tips. I made a promise back then I would write an article about it, but somehow it never came to that. Today I want to share some of those, but first… my sincere apologies for the delay. This wouldn't have been possible without my readers, you guys and gals are awesome!

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What's your print or web design related tip that you've learned at school, and are still using today?

Always use printers black

by Hollie

Everyone assumes that if they just use black out of the swatches in illustrator, indesign it will print as black but really, it’ll only print as a slight dark grey. Printers black in CMYK is 40, 40, 40, 100. You’ll see a difference as soon as you change the CMYK values to this.

Convert a color (iA or PS) PDF to grayscale

by Benedikte
  1. 1. Open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. 2. Menu > Advanced > Print production > Preflight > PDF fix ups > Convert to grayscale
  3. 3. You can edit the settings by clicking on "edit"
  4. 4. Click Analyse and fix
  5. 5. Save the grayscale version of the original pdf file.

Create a cold or warm black

by CJ
  1. 1. If you have a predominantly blue or 'cold' image and want a great black, use just 50% Cyan and 100% Black to give you a cold black.
  2. 2. If you are printing sunsets or wanting a 'warm' black, use 20%M, 20%Y and 100%K.
  3. 3. Although you can set this in the color pallet itself, sometimes it is best to separate the cyan underlay as a separate layer.
  4. 4. To proof the accurate colors in Acrobat Pro(9), go to Advanced > Print Production > Output preview. Hover over your colors and you will see the appropriate values.

Convert a screenshot from 72dpi to 300dpi, and keep the crispness of the image

by Kisan
  1. 1. Capture the screen
  2. 2. Paste it in Photoshop
  3. 3. Change the color mode to Index color with default settings
  4. 4. Go to Image > Image Size...
  5. 5. Check 'Constrain Proportions', and 'Resample Image: Bicubic'
  6. 6. Use a resolution in multiples of 72 dpi, so 288 and then again scale the image and enter 300, 600 dpi.
  7. 7. Change the color mode to RGB, or to CMYK in case you need the image for print

Achieve really powerful, vivid colours out of an image do the color corrections in LAB color mode

by Michael Zrobok
  1. 1. Image > Adjustments > Curves
  2. 2. Use Lightness to control how bright or dark you need to go
  3. 3. Then your A's & B's to experiment depending on what color range you are truly after.
  4. 4. Convert back to the color mode you need to work in and you should get to keep a decent share of the new color values!

Add more contrast to the edges of your photo using the High Pass filter

by Tom Hermans
  1. 1. Copy layer
  2. 2. Filter > Other > High Pass… > Radius: 1pixel
  3. 3. Set layer to 'Overlay' blend mode
  4. 4. Decrease opacity to around 40-70% (see for yourself what works, 100% is too harsh imho)
  5. 5. You can also make an Action out of this and use it in batch processing

Smart color organzing tips

by Bryan
  • Keep your color swatches organized. Remove unused swatches and identify specific color builds and/or spot colors. Even if your project will be printed CMYK use a Pantone color bridge book to identify the intended color. If you don’t have one you should definitely get one.
  • If you are working with a die line simply create a custom spot color swatch and identify it on its own layer. Set all objects on this layer to overprint.
  • Most of all understand that your design is more than just the image on screen, it should also include clear direction and intent by labeling layers, organizing links and identifying the color you intend to see in the final execution.

Use the Fixed Ratio in Photoshop to crop photos proportionally

by Jackie
  1. 1. Select the Rectangular Marquee
  2. 2. Select the Fixed Ratio option from the Style drop-down menu
  3. 3. Enter the exact width and height in those other two fields, that you would like your image to be
  4. 4. With the Rectangular Marquee tool selected, drag the rectangle around the area you want to crop.
  5. 5. Go to Image > Crop to crop the image


  1. 1 Sam 08 Apr 2013

    Thanks, I had never heard of the printer’s black tip before.

  2. 2 Brianna 19 Apr 2013

    Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to
    check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Wonderful blog and outstanding style and design.