Saving a PDF for Printing

PDFs can be problematic if not saved properly. When saving a PDF as the final file, make sure you save it in the proper resolution. Many programs have a setting for press quality, or a setting where you can downsample the art. Make sure the downsample is set to at least 300 dpi in order to obtain the best quality finished product. Embed the fonts and images.

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Collecting Files

In order for your printing job to flow smoothly, please supply all the files necessary for the reproduction of the job. This can be done in Quark by going to File-Collect for Output. In InDesign go to File-Package. If a warning comes up about collecting the fonts, click OK. Also make sure all the images are included in the package. When sending the package, by e-mail or FTP, please compress the files. Sometimes the files can become corrupted and unusable if sent over the internet without being compressed. By compressing the files potential problems that could crop up during the transfer will be minimized or eliminated, allowing your files to be received intact and usable.

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Font Issues

Fonts can cause many problems if not handled correctly. Always include the fonts when packaging and sending files. Even then, at times they cause problems. Some fonts have different versions that can cause type reflow. If your files were created on a PC the font could look different on a MAC. One way to avoid problems with fonts is to turn the fonts to outlines. This turns the fonts into art. The downside to this option is that the type becomes uneditable. If you need corrections made at the proofing stage, it is difficult to make those corrections if the fonts are turned to outlines. Providing the fonts for us to use is the best way to resolve potential font problems and conflicts.

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Adding Bleed

Because of the inconsistencies that can occur in printing, trimming, folding, etc., it is the industry standard to add some image all the way around the printed piece. Industry standards call for .125 inch bleed on all sides.

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Preparing Images

Digital images are composed of pixels. There are a certain number of pixels in an inch. This is called PPI (pixels per inch) or DPI (dots per inch). The DPI or PPI is called the resolution. For viewing on the computer monitor a DPI of 72 is fine. The photo looks great. For printing however, a DPI of 300 is desirable. If the DPI is too low, the photo will look jagged and pixilated. Photoshop is best used for images. Typesetting your job in Photoshop, although it looks good on the screen, will produce inferior results when printed. Bring the photo into Quark, InDesign or Illustrator and then set the type there. The results will look much better than typesetting in Photoshop. Make sure the images submitted are turned into CMYK. Sometimes the conversion from RGB to CMYK can cause a color shift in the image. If the customer converts the image to CMYK they can see the color shift and make any color adjustments necessary before submitting the photo for printing.

For illustrations or logos, Illustrator might be the best choice to achieve quality results. The files generated by Illustrator are vector files. Unlike files produced by Photoshop, which are rasterized, vector files can be enlarged without any loss of quality.

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Folded Brochures

Brochures that fold can present a problem if the files are not prepared properly. Adjustment of the panel sizes can be time consuming and costly. If a brochure only folds in half there is no problem, but if it folds in thirds, the panel that folds in needs to be 1/16" to 1/8" shorter than the other panels. Some brochures have complicated folds, and multiple panels that require other panels to be short. Panel size considerations are best taken care of at the design phase of the project. Simply make your document size the size of the finished piece. Pull guides showing the panel sizes, and layout the art according to the guides. If the files we receive are prepared correctly, with the type and art positioned correctly according to the panel size, it will speed up the flow of the job through the shop. If you have any questions about panel sizes or complicated folds contact us before preparing the art files.

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Dieline Color (or colors that don't print)

Colors in the file that you do not want to print, such as a die line, embossing or foil die, or anything that is for position only, should be colored a spot color. If they are colored CMYK in the file, we have to change them to spot before we can print the job, delaying the project and increasing the costs. If they are colored a spot color, labeled and placed on their own layer the job will flow smoothly with less chances of errors. We usually leave the dielines and trim lines on the proof so that the final job can be easily visualized. We can easily turn off the spot colors when we make plates.

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Black Text

Many designers and artists create their art in Illustrator or InDesign using the RGB color setting. When they color the type black they think it will print black. This is a logical assumption but it doesn't turn out that way. Since the printing process is done in CMYK, the files created in RGB need to be converted to CMYK before printing. When the black is converted from RGB to CMYK, rather than becoming solid black, the type becomes a screen value of all four colors. This causes problems on the press, and the visual quality of the type is poor. We suggest before you begin creating the art, you change the setting to CMYK and then create the black type using 100% black. In Illustrator the setting can be found under FILE, DOCUMENT COLOR MODE, CMYK. In InDesign you can specify CMYK when creating the color.

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Facing Pages

When creating a document in InDesign, "facing pages" is the default. That essentially sets up the document in two page spreads, with the first page on the right hand side and the last page on the left hand side. This type of layout works great for a saddle stitched book, but can cause problems if the book will be perfect bound or if the pages will be cut into separate pages especially if there is bleed. When using facing pages, the edge where the pages meet will have no bleed. We then need to separate the pages and pull bleed before we can work on the job, adding time and expense, and increasing the possibility of errors creeping into the job. If "facing pages" is unchecked at the design phase it will alleviate many potential problems down the road.

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