To those who are unfamiliar with the world of printing; offset and digital printing requires 4 basic colors to make up the wide range of colors that are represented in the natural world: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Read more
Digital Prepress…the most complicated part of printing for both printers and designers alike. Common Problems: missing fonts, low resolution photos, files saved and packaged incorrectly. Oh my!
The next time you design a project and submit it to your local printer, take a peek at this list and your life and your printer’s job should be much easier! It might even be cheaper because your files were submitted correctly.
When creating documents to send for digital output, please ensure that:
- The document dimensions are correct and at the right size for output.
- All images are correctly positioned and linked.
- Logos or graphics created in programs like Illustrator, have all type converted to paths or outlines.
- In your page layout program, the status of all imported pictures or links should be “ok.”
- You have only used fonts that you intended to use for output.
- All unused colors have been deleted.
- The pasteboard’s surrounding all design pages are empty.
- All document bleeds have been extended at least 1/8″ beyond the desired finished size of your project.
- All documents have been proof-read and double-checked before submission. Have a friend proof read it!
Design & Pre-Press Checklist:
- Do not use Publisher or Quark. Stick to Adobe Products for ease of use.
- Remember, Photoshop is for photos. Illustrator is for illustrations. InDesign is for Page Layout.
- Do not enlarge images beyond 120% of original size when placing it in your document.
- Do not use images downloaded from Google. Read second sections of post.
- Do not use compression methods (i.e. LZW or JPEG) on placed images for output.
- Do not use RGB images whenever possible. Convert them to CMYK.
Before submitting files, please make sure that you have included:
- All fonts required to process and print the document.
- All attached EPS and/or TIFF/JPG files.
- Final laser prints of all document pages.
“Why does it always look different on my screen? A client might ask for a specific Pantone color from their own Pantone swatch book. The designer sets the file exactly as it is required, yet when the client sees an example on their computer monitor they are very disappointed that the color isn’t the same or even close. Why is that?
Print-ready PDF files Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) is great for a multitude of uses. It has caused a revolution in printing. Everything needed for high-resolution printing can be packed into one file that can be opened and printed using Adobe’s free Reader on almost any computer. The trick is, because a PDF can be created many different ways, to create it the correct way and pack it with the essential information for high-quality digital printing or a file that can be used for make-ready, for offset printing.
Here are a few of the minimum requirements for a PDF file to be usable for high-resolution printing using a digital print process.
- All fonts used in the document should be embedded in the PDF file. The preference for “Subsetting” the fonts should be set to 100%.
- For CMYK printing, all color in the document should be CMYK. This goes for ink colors as well as photos and illustrations.
- Make sure that the photos and line art in the document do not have their resolution reduced (downsampled) when the PDF is created. Photos should retain their 300 dpi resolution.
- The compression should be fine set on “automatic” but some say “zip” is better than “jpeg” for quality. You can also choose “none” and the photos will not be compressed when the PDF is created but, this will result in a larger PDF.
If you follow these guidelines, your PDF will work for high-resolution CMYK printing. The same PDF will also work in all the processes that require less resolution as well.The term “make-ready” refers to everything done on a press to prepare for the final print job. This includes selecting the proper colors, getting the image placement correct, setting up the plates, and preparing the printer for the chosen paper size and weight. Getting everything right during make-ready helps to ensure a quality print run. This step would be considered finished when the printer is satisfied with a print, and can therefore begin the actual run.