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Assignment: Process Analysis: Writing a How To
How to design a business card for commercial printing using GIMP.
• GIMP: is a GNU image manipulation tool available for download at http://www.gimp.org/downloads/.
An attractive business card can be a valuable tool when developing a network of business contacts.
For the purpose of these instructions, we will assume that you have successfully installed GIMP and have it open on your Mac or PC.
Begin by clicking on the “File” menu and then select “New”. This will open the “Create a New Image” dialog window. Here is where you will define the size of your business card. Begin by changing the measurement method from “pixels” to “millimeters” by clicking where it says “pixels/in” and selecting “millimeters” from the drop down menu. A standard business card has a width of 90mm and a height of 55mm. However, this does not account for printing bleed. Printing bleed is a term that is used by commercial printers to describe the excess area of ink surrounding the project. This area will be trimmed off during the trimming process in order to ensure that ink reaches every edge of the business card. For this reason, you will need to increase the size of your image by a margin of 6mm increasing your final measurements to a width of 96mm and a height of 61mm. Once you have set your size, click on “Advanced Options”. This will drop down an expanded menu presenting you with several additional configuration settings including the ability to set the resolution of your image. To ensure that the ink fills in completely, you will need to set your X and Y resolutions to a minimum of 300 pixels. Printing lower resolution images can result in the finished print looking pixilated. The remaining configuration settings should be fine by default. Next click “Ok” to create your new blank image.
Now that you’ve successfully formatted the project area you will need to define the trim lines for the printer. In order to do this, click in the ruler area at the top of the blank image and while holding down the mouse button, drag the ruler downward. You will see a dashed line appear where your mouse is. We want to set this dashed line three millimeters in from the top. Simply release your mouse button once you have it in position to place the line at that location. Repeat this step a second time placing the line three millimeters from the bottom. Once you have the top and bottom trim marks in place, you’ll need to do the same for the left and right sides. You accomplish this in a similar fashion as you did the top and bottom trim marks. Only this time, you will need to click on the ruler to the left of the blank image. Once again you are going to set the trim mark three millimeters in from the edge on both the left and right sides of the image.
The final step of the setup process is for you to define your safety margins. This step is important to ensure that none of your important content is cut into or cut off during the trimming process. For that reason we want to repeat the steps we took in order to define the trim lines. Only this time, you will need to set your margins five millimeters inside of each of the trim lines.
Now that you have properly laid out your project area, you can begin to design your card. Remember to keep any important content within the safety margin to ensure that it will make the final cut without running into any of the edges of the finished business card. Once you have finished laying out your design and are happy with the finished product, simply click on the “File” menu at the top and then select “Save As…” from the resulting drop down menu. This will open the “Save As…” dialog window that will allow you to choose both a name and location for your file. It is good practice to save the file using the name of the individual for whom the business cards are being made. Finally, add the extension “.xcf” to the file’s name. This will ensure that the final product remains in a layered format. This is helpful in the event that any last minute changes become necessary at the time of print. Your final filename should resemble “lastname_firstname.xcf”. Simply select save at the bottom of the dialog window to save your file. Your business cards are now ready to be sent to the printer.