Many colour printers these days can achieve a print quality that rivals photos. Even inkjet printers, once bemoaned for their jagged printouts, can produce richly coloured, highly detailed pieces. Printing your own posters using a standard printer, therefore, is more of a matter of your ability to finesse the printer's settings rather than any inherent mechanical limitations. For abnormal poster dimensions, such as 8 inches by 11 inches, your easiest approach will be to trim the poster down once it's printed.
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Things you need
- Poster file
- 8.5-by-11 inch glossy photo paper
- Art software
- Paper cutter
Make sure that your poster image is high resolution, or your end result will look blurry or pixilated. Image resolution is measured in dpi, or dots per inch. The minimum dpi needed for a high quality colour print out is 300, whereas the minimum dpi needed for a high quality black and white printout is 500 dpi. Also bear in mind that the more dpi your image has, the larger the file will be.
Load your printer with glossy, photo-quality paper. The kind of paper you use to print your poster makes a huge difference. Glossy photo paper will provide a wider range in colour saturation and more accurate colour contrasts. For an 8-by-11 inch poster, use photo paper that is cut to letter size dimensions, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches.
Load your poster image into your art software. Go to the Image menu at the top of the screen and click on it. Find the Mode settings and select CMYK. Most professional art software has this option, but many freeware programs do not. Skip this step if your software does not support CMYK. CMYK translates your image into a colour scheme usable by printers for a more accurate on-screen representation of your printout. Printer ink colours are more limited than those on a computer screen, and CMYK adjusts for this.
Select 'Print' from the File menu at the top of the screen. A pop up should appear listing your print settings. The exact appearance of this pop up depends on the software you are using, but most follow the same general format.
Click on the printer you wish to use from the list provided by the pop-up. Then, click on the "Page Setup" option. A new pop-up will appear with new printing options.
Set the Print Quality option to "High." Select "Glossy Photo Paper" from the media type menu. Select "Letter" when prompted for paper size. Click on OK.
Click on the "Print" button. Your poster will now print. Because it is creating a high quality printout, it will take longer than normal. Let the printout dry for five minutes before touching it.
Take your newly printed poster to a paper cutter and line it up with the 8-inch marking, allowing the white strip along one side of the poster to slide under the cutter's blade. Press the blade down to trim this white strip off of your poster.
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