Planning

A little planning and preparation at the start will give your project its best chance of being completed efficiently, within budget and with pleasing quality.
So first, to ensure your project is on the right track from the start, ask yourself some questions:

What do I want to create and how do I achieve this?
How will my design work best and how do I need to set up my layout for the chosen binding method?
How is the stock I am printing on going to affect my images?
Can I afford to annoy Prepress staff by making them work until three in the morning to fix my oversights?

Preparation

Binding

Before typing your first line of text please think about which binding method will be used for your print job.  __Is it going to be saddle stitched, or perfect/notch bound?

Or maybe wiro bound? Each of these binding methods can have different requirements for setting up our page layout file.

Each requires attention to the amount of pages being bound, too. It’s also a good time to think about whether you’ll be using any folds and how the binding will affect the folding process during finishing. Prepare carefully and you won’t end up in a potentially costly bind yourself.

Paper Stock

Knowing the type of stock being used is important __ for proper conversion of images. To get the best results you need to use an appropriate colour profile for the type of stock being used. If you’re undecided at the start of a project you can choose a profile that will work well with both coated and uncoated stocks.

File Format

Which file formats can pre-press accept? In short, anything created in Adobe Indesign and Quark Xpress,  __ as these are fully professional applications designed for high-end use. We can also accept Adobe Illustrator, which is a vector-based drawing application primarily used for logo and illustration creation. For image manipulation and colour adjustments Adobe Photoshop is the pixel-based application of choice. Don’t be tempted to use Photoshop to create entire jobs, however, as your text will not appear sharp and smooth.

It’s also a good idea to ensure that all copy in a your job  __is correct before reaching pre press. Contrary to popular belief, copywriters are, at times, fallible, and __ any alterations done after the first round of proofs incur a charge. We do spellcheck your files, and nothing would make us happier than to discover we didn’t have to.

When it comes to checking copy, prepare, or pay the price.

Image Resolution

The quality of the end result is only as good as the quality of the artwork yot prepare for us. __ If you default to a “she’ll be right” attitude at this point in proceedings, chances are she won’t be.

Use the correct software for the job at hand. The best applications to create your job are the ones designed to do so. Create page layouts in Adobe Indesign or Quark Xpress. Illustrator is an illustration application — good for creating logos but not so good for page layout. Photoshop is the big daddy of the image manipulation world.

For best results and swift processing in the Prepress department ensure all images are rotated in Photoshop before placing them in the page layout. Images should be resized in Photoshop to enable them to be placed as close as possible to 100% in the layout file. If you don’t do this, expect delays in Prepress and possible degraded quality of the printed job.

Images with too little resolution will come out pixelated and images with too much resolution can occasionally cause quality issues too.

Both main professional desktop publishing applications have a file collection utility built in. Indesign has its ‘Package’ function and Quark Xpress has ‘Collect for Output.’

We strongly suggest that these be used for the collection of files and fonts before supplying them to us. Any missing linked file or font will cause a delay in your job.

Speaking of fonts, please ensure the correct version of each font is supplied. Even though some fonts from different manufacturers have the same names, they are not always exactly the same. Although the differences may only be subtle they can cause the type to reflow.

PDFs
If you intend sending us press ready pdfs to work with, please ensure that they are supplied as single page pdfs and not set up in spreads. All pages must have at least 3mm bleed and have crop marks that are also offset by 3mm. All fonts must be embedded. The file should be in CMYK (plus spot if required) and have high resolution images. If there are alterations to be made you will need to supply a new correct version of the file.

Hard Copy
We encourage our clients to supply laser prints (preferably at 100% size) for all jobs they submit. With the digital age this is not always possible. If you are sending files via electronic means please try to supply a pdf for viewing purposes.

This is often handy as a point of reference if we need to double check and avoid a
potential problem.

File Delivery
There are several ways to deliver your files to pre press. CD, DVD, flash drive, hard drive, download from your FTP site, email, or You Send It. Of course, hand delivery allows us to say a quick hello, which is always nice.

Remember that saying about the sow’s ear? __ It’s as true for printing as it is for
purse-making.

It’s impossible to provide high quality printing using low quality artwork. The
quality of your images determines the quality of the end result. Only high resolution, well converted images will give you a truly pleasing print job.

As a rule of thumb, colour and greyscale images should have a resolution that is twice the screen ruling. So if you are printing at 175 lines per inch, your image
effective resolution should be 350ppi. Effective resolution means the resolution of an image at its placed size. For example, if you place a 300ppi image at 200% size the effective resolution would be 150ppi. Line art bitmap files should be at least 600ppi.

Another old rule of thumb (the best kind) is that images should be placed at 80%–120% of actual size for optimal results. Resolution naming varies from place to place. Raster images (tiffs, etc) measures resolution in ppi (pixels per inch) whereas dpi (dots per inch) is the unit used for an output device such as a CTP machine (ours is 2540dpi).

Document Size & Bleed

A lot of files come through Prepress that are incorrectly set up. One common problem is, for example, when a business card is placed in the middle of an A4 layout with trim marks drawn on.

If you want to set up a page layout file for a business card, the layout document size should be set to 90mm x 55mm at the start. The trim marks will automatically be added on the exporting of the file.

And with regard to imposing files, please don’t.

Any files that have been imposed by the designer need to be pulled apart back to single page by us to work with our workflow.

Any element that extends to the final trim edge needs bleed extended at least 3mm past the edge of the document.

Supplying Files

At each stage of the Prepress process we ensure you’re happy with the way your job is proceeding. And proofs are the tried, true and invaluable aids in getting your approval.

Generally, the first round of proofs supplied will consist of the following:
High Resolution Proofs on either a coated or uncoated stock determined by which paper your job is to be printed on; and Low Resolution Content Proofs as a mock up (for any double sided job). By mock up we mean folded and trimmed as the final prints will be to ensure correct page order in the pagination process.

After any text alterations are made, Secondary Proofs will be supplied as Low Resolution Content Proofs and/pdfs that are rasterised by our Heidelberg Prinect Workflow. If colour corrections are made it is a good idea to get new High Resolution Proofs. Contract proofs should be examined under standard lights D50 (5000K) as other temperatures of light will alter the true appearance of the final result.

Perfect
If at any time you have questions about the Prepress process and its requirements—or about any of the print processes —we’re here to help.

Through the combination of our printing expertise and your diligence in preparation, you can expect nothing less than perfect results every time.

We hope you found these tips helpful and we look forward to working with you on your next printing project no matter how big or small.

Call STEVE LITTLE on 0419 930 763 or send us an email on steve@datadocuments.com.au

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