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Making Printed Presentations of a Redesigned Website

These days, printing beautiful photographic-quality prints of your website mock-ups is a simple and affordable process. The price of high-end desktop color printers has come down remarkably in the last few years while the quality has increased ten-fold. For $300–$500, you can buy a great desktop color printer that gives you more than enough quality.

When printing your mock-ups for a presentation, don’t worry that your comps are just 72 dpi. Just print them at size, or perhaps a little larger. If you alter the resolution, you run the risk of making them appear blurred in the printout. In addition, print all your designs in the same orientation — either landscape or vertical, whichever orientation works best for your set of designs. Printing all in the same orientation and on same-size paper creates a polished, professional presentation with impact.

Always use the more expensive photo-grade glossy paper for your prints. If the paper isn’t glossy, the ink soaks into the paper too much and the designs look dull. When this happens, you can often see the row lines of the ink dots, cheapening the effect of your presentation. Also, matte paper has a tendency to warp and curl when saturated with a lot of ink. When you print, look in the Print dialog box for the paper type settings and make sure to choose the Glossy Paper and Best Quality options for your output settings. If you don’t choose the correct paper in the print settings, the results aren’t as good, and you waste a nice piece of expensive glossy paper.

Your nicely colored prints just won’t have maximum impact unless you mount them on sturdy boards. The standard in the web-design industry is to use black boards that are black all the way through. Don’t use black-colored boards that have white interiors shining through along the cut edges. These boards have a tendency to fade even before you get to the presentation.

Here are two more tips to follow when preparing your printed presentation:

  • Leave breathing space around each image. When you print your mock-ups on glossy paper, you may be tempted to trim away the white borders, leaving just the printed design. Trimming your designs so tightly is like cutting your fingernails too close. Leave a little breathing room around your images. Either leave the prints centered on the entire sheet, or trim them all to have the same-sized margin that is at least 1 inch all around.

  • Cut the boards to a manageable size. Aside from cutting all the boards to the same size, make sure they are neither too big nor too small for the prints. If your prints are 11 x 17, a good size for the boards is 18 x 22 or so.

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