How often your printing company returns the model of the future printed works for which designer spent so much time and effort? But maybe there is a good reason on this?
Our print house (and in general any printing house, who is serious about their work) is always striving to put the customer aware of what are the requirements for the layout in advance and what are some common mistakes to avoid. But despite all the steps taken in this direction, we have to admit that the number of works received by the print shop with all sorts of bugs, flaws, errors is large enough. The proportion of such works in the total amount of orders coming to us, is an average of one-third. Often serious, even fatal – for print run – consequences is because of seemingly minor mistake made inadvertently. If you were able to identify errors before printing them, of course, it can be corrected, or, in extreme cases, the client will have to redo layout. Whatever it was, it just increases the period of execution of the order: the error should be reported to the client, then it will be corrected, again to transfer the layout to the printer … But often, even one lost day for the customer is critical.
The first advice that should be given to the designer or coder, in short, the one who is directly responsible for the creation of layout: ask the printing houses – Executive to the list of requirements of feed material . Take the time to read it through and ask for explanations if necessary: all the questions you need to decide before you start to work – otherwise, it is likely, the layout should be altered in an emergency mode.
If there is no list of requirements and restrictions, provided by the specific printing house, you need to work on some of the general rules – it will allow to avoid obvious errors. Below is a list of the main criteria to be met by the file (or files).
- PC / Mac platform. Most likely, the customer already have one of these systems, but its necessary to include the item in the common list . After all, if the layout was prepared in some “exotic” system, printing houses will just not open it.
- The layout file. It should be in the form of a layout QuarkXpress, file PS or PDF. These files will be in any print shop. It is also possible to give the files to Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. They will be in very many print houses, but still not an absolute majority – this you need to clarify. Activities performed in Corel and Page Maker, will taken rarely and reluctantly.
About versions of the programs: we should have a special conversation – this can also be difficult.
- Bleeds. They definitely need to be included; typically 5 mm. The fact that during the cutting of plates you can’t actually tell, that the knife will take place at a distance from text or image as you planed. Unfortunately, we have to take into account a possible error of the cutter.
- The fonts used in the layout, should be attached to the file. In QuarkXpress have a special option – Collect for output, which will collect to the folder the file itself , used fonts and illustrations.
- Properly prepared image. Make them in EPS format (Illustrator version 8) or tiff with a resolution of 300 dpi at 1: 1 scale. A valid resolution can be different in different publishing houses (this parameter influences, including, and the kind of products you want to print: High resolution is not so important for the quality of newspaper illustrations). But it is better to make a standard. And, of course, it is important not to forget to transfer the image in color model CMYK.
- Do not use complex effects. Of course, the new versions of programs allow you to achieve interesting results directly in the layout, but one thing – the screen, and quite another – the printed sheet in the machine. Images of them “live” by different laws. Therefore, shadows, backgrounds, transparency effects should be obtained in the image processing program – in the same Photoshop, and in the layout work with ready-made “harmless» tiff, they will not present surprises.
- «correct» PDF. If you give to the print house a PDF file, you shouldn’t create it bythe export from layout program, but from the PS file using a special application – Adobe Distiller.
What conclusions can we draw from all of these arguments? Prepare layout is not so difficult. Knowledge of programs plus the attention and accuracy – and the problems will be much less. And for you, and for printing houses.