Five top tips for printing a map

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You’ve spent a lot of time and effort designing a map and now you’re at the exciting stage where it’s ready to be printed. So, what should you consider when it comes to printing your custom map? Here are five useful tips to guide you through the map printing process.

Dennis Maps - Printing a Map

Size matters

If possible, send your file at the size you’d like it to be printed. Smaller size documents can be enlarged but in most file formats this reduces the resolution. This means that text and images may look less crisp and clear. Printing a larger file isn’t a problem though. Reducing a file size increases the resolution, so won’t have any impact on the quality of the text and images on your map.

Where will the folds fall?

When designing your map think about where the folds in the material will fall. Text and images can be harder to read and see if they are on a fold. For example, it’s better to have your map key away from a fold. If you have columns of text, have the folds on the gaps between the columns, so you’re not reading over a fold.

Dennis Maps - Printing a Map

Choose your paper carefully

Think carefully about how your map will be used. Will it be used outdoors? Indoors? In poor weather conditions? At Dennis Maps we offer a variety of materials for your map to be printed on. You can choose from two varieties of synthetic, waterproof paper. These papers are rip proof and weather resistant, so perfect for British weather! Alternatively, we have coated and uncoated papers, both of which are lower down the price point and can be recycled more readily. Ink sits on the surface of coated paper, adding an attractive vibrancy to your finished map. Ink soaks into uncoated paper a little more, which gives less glare when a map is used in sunny conditions.

Dennis Maps - Printing a Map

Do you need a bleed?

In most cases, you’ll need a 3mm bleed on your map when you send it to be printed. A bleed is the printed part of a document that extends outside the area where it will be trimmed to size. The bleed preserves detail if the cutting device used to trim your map goes slightly within the edges of a document. Without a bleed you might be left with an unwanted white line. However, you only need a bleed if the images or text on a map go right up to the edges of the document.

Consider your colours

Make sure any map you want printed is in CYMK rather than RGB. CYMK is the format used for printed documents, while RGB is optimum for documents online. The latter has a much larger range of colours which look as they should on screen but may not convert well to a printed document and CYMK. It’s also worth checking if text that appears black is actually black. Sometimes text can look black but be made up of several colours, so will not appear black when printed.

Dennis Maps - Printing a Map

We hope these tips have been helpful. Please get in touch if you have any questions about map printing or our services. At Dennis Maps, we’re on hand to offer advice at every stage of the map printing process. We specialise in large format printing, if you want to print large get in touch!

Read more about map finishing.

Dennis Maps is one of the leading map printers in the world, producing more than two million maps and charts every year. We offer comprehensive pre-press services, print custom maps and large format print solutions using both large format litho printing and large format digital print technologies, plus specialised map folding and map finishing techniques.