This article provides you with an understanding of the terms used for design and the difference between design appearance on your monitor versus print.
Business Card Design and Business Card Printing

Business Card Design

Designing for Print

RGB vs. CMYK = Screen Color vs. Print Color

When you view an image on your computer monitor, it is displayed using the RGB color pallete. Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) as primary colors, produce millions of color variations seen on your screen. However, when you are viewing images through your web browser, you are actually viewing images at an even lower resolution with fewer colors (256 colors through most web browsers). Web browsers will only support the viewing of 256 colors for any given image, in order to produce that image with clarity and percsion. The result is fewer color combinations, but faster downloading time. Images which appear through your web browser may in fact appear to have more than 256 colors (such as full color pictures), but what you see is infact not what you would see in print. That's because an industrial and professional printing process employs specific techniques to bring out the best in color, supporting millions of color combinations, and in order to produce output at the optimal image resolution. Quite simply, print output disregards "download time" because when it comes to print, it is all about quality.

When you look at a printed catalog, or magazine, you are viewing colors withing the CMYK color pallette. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are the foundation to this color pallette and in print-talk, it is generally known as "4-color process" or "full color" printing.

If you design for print, you can work in RGB mode and with the RGB color pallette, or other color pallettes, but at the end of the day, you will need to convert your image(s) into CMYK. This is a fairly standard task supported by Photoshop and other graphic design programs. Fortunately, Extra Value's automated business card software automatically converts your business card design on the fly (behind the scenes).

Many colors viewed on your monitor, may in fact look different in print. With photographs, the transition from RGB to CMYK usually isn't too drastic. The most noticeable differences will be found in graphics that include blocks of solid colors, as in bold background colors and logos. You may create a design online and it looks one way on your monitor. However, when your business cards are printed there may be some compromise. Either way, Extra Value ensures maximum color quality. Our Express Color Business Cards best represent the colors which appear on your screen, because we employ an industrial strength digital press. However our full color business cards employe full color seapration, using a lithographic printing press and this allows us to produce the same quality found in magazines or at news stands. It also allows us to add color protection with a glossy UV coating, in order to ensure your card maintains rich, long lasting color.

Resolution, Pixels, dpi...what's the difference?
Resolution and DPI are terms that refer to the clarity and sharpness of images both on your screen and in the resulting print output. For most people, especially non-graphic designer types, a term such as DPI (Dots-per-inch) and pixels, have little meaning on it's own, but when you look at in "every day" english, you can appreciate it's importance in ensuring efficient print output.

You may across the following examples when investigating your print strategy:
Print size at 300dpi
Print size at 150dpi
1600 x 1200 resolution
5.5 x 4 inches

The relationship between resolution, dpi, and pixels is actuall quite straight forward:

1600 divided by 300 = 5.5
1200 divided by 300 = 4

An image that is 1600 x 1200 pixels on your monitor will print 5.5 x 4 inches at 300 dpi. Which means that an image of 1600 x 1200 printed at 150 dpi would be 11 x 8 inches.

The resolution of that image is in fact, 5.5 x 4 inches at 300 dpi.

Here is a general guideline of typical print resolutions:
300dpi+ - Magazines, high-quality brochures, business cards, photos and other glossy printing material.
100-200dpi - Newsprint, tabloids and flyers.

Business Card Design & Printing Resources

» Compare Hiring a Graphic Designer to Using ExtraValue.com
»Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Design Business Cards Online
»Business Card Cases
»Designing For Print
»Business Card Design Tips
»How To Judge Business Cards
»What is Offset Lithographic Printing?
»Other Do-it-Yourself Business Card Software Programs