Pazazz is a customer-focused organization committed to delivering what we promise, when we promise, how we promise, right the first time and on budget!
Over time we have noticed some common problems with client supplied digital files. These problems tend to lead to production delays as well as additional costs for our customers. Most of these issues can be avoided by following these helpful hints.
REMEMBER: CHECK AND DOUBLE-CHECK = TIME AND MONEY SAVED
Press Ready Guidelines
Pazazz compiled this prepress guide to help you make the right choices along the way. This document provides important tips and information to improve the quality of printing. Digital files should be submitted in press-ready condition. When our prepress department has to make modifications, additional charges may incur.
To begin, let's take a look at the applications we support. (If your application is not listed please contact us before submission).
- Save black and white pixel based (Photoshop) line-art as a Bitmap Tiff or EPS.
- Minimum resolution for line art files is 600 to 1200 pixels/inch (ppi) at 100% of output size.
- If you scale an image up in your page layout the effective resolution for that image will decrease, so place all images at 100% of the output size. This will save on file size and the amount of time it will take our prepress department to print and RIP (raster image processor) your file.
- Continuous tone images of a single colour should be in grayscale mode, not RGB or Index.
- The min/max resolution for Grayscale image files is 300 pixels/inch at 100% of output size.
- Note Images copied off of websites or downloaded from the internet are generally low resolution (72 ppi or less) and RGB or Index colour. These images are created for quick downloading and are only intended to be viewed on screen – not printed.
- Continuous tone images of process colour should be in CMYK Mode, not RGB or Index.
- If your scanner only allows you to scan an image as RGB or Index colour, the image needs to be converted to CMYK in Tiff or EPS files.
- The min/max resolution for CMYK image files is 300 pixels/inch at 100% of output size.
- Note JPEG is a "lossy" file compression format, meaning that in order to make a smaller file size some of the image data is removed resulting in a slight loss of quality.
- Images should be saved as EPS files as true Spot colour files, not CMYK, RGB or Index.
- Spot colour files are best saved as Monotones, Duotones or DCS-2 (CMYK + spot colour) in Photoshop.
- The min/max resolution is 300 pixels/inch at 100% of output size.
12 Preflight tips – we highly recommend
1: Build your documents in Readers Spreads not Printers Spreads.
- Create your files as single pages.
- Start your file with the Cover and end the file with the Back Cover.
- Our team will impose your pages into the correct imposition for our presses.
- When preparing book work use a program like QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign. Illustrator should be avoided because it's not suitable for multi page documents.
2: Make sure the final dimensions of the document are set to the finished trim size.
3: Check bleeds.
- If your files contain elements that come to the edge of the document it must bleed off the page a minimum of 1/8 inch.
4: Remove unused text or graphics from the pasteboard of your document.
- Blocks of text or images that are left on the pasteboard are the most common cause of missing font and image messages.
5: All rules must be at least .25 points.
- Hairline rules are not acceptable.
- Hairline rules are device dependent, meaning the higher the resolution of the output device the finer the rule.
- Hairline rules are often missing or broken at platesetter resolutions.
6: Document color mode has to be to CMYK not RGB (Illustrator, InDesign)
7: Don't use Registration colour, use Black.
- Remove all unused colours from colour pallets in your files.
8: Always put small text in BLACK only that helps our press crew achieve the best registration possible on your project.
9: Use Rich Black.
- In some situations, large areas of solid black may require the addition of support colours. In these cases where possible, add only 40% Cyan mix with 100% Black. This will be sufficient in assuring a Deep Black.
- Using four colors in high percentage may cause offsetting problems on press.
10: Include all fonts used in your files.
- Missing fonts are the #1 problem encountered.
- If you are using llustrator or Photoshop images in your file make sure all fonts used in those files are included as well.
11: Include all images.
- Missing images is the #2 problem encountered.
- Make sure all images are incorporated with your file including embedded images in your image files (example: Photoshop images placed in an Illustrator file).
12: Provide laser printouts or PDFs of your documents to be printed.
- By doing this, our team will be able to compare our proof to your laser output.
LAST NOTE: We recommend using professional preflight software to check your files before you send them to us!
Preflight check list for native files or PDF press ready files
- Build document page size equal to final page trim
- Verify that no blank pages, unused colours, pasteboard elements and/or overglow elements are left
- Be sure no elements have been told not to print
- Confirm bleeds extend beyond the page by 1/8 inch minimum (if required)
- No pictures are listed as missing or appear on unused master pages
- All RGB images are converted to CMYK
- Images haven't been enlarged (unless saved at a higher resolution)
- Grayscale and colour images are at proper resolution (at least 300 ppi)
- Line-art is proper resolution (at least 1,200 ppi)
- Clipping has been done in Adobe Photoshop
- Small line weights do not have colour tints
- Fine rules are at least 0.25 point width; never use "hairline" in the application
- Remember to save files in Tiff or EPS format (no compression)
TEXT AND FONTS
- Use the proper font rather than applying a font style in your software
- Be sure that no shadow or outline styles have been applied in your page layout program
- The number of colours has been verified
- No colours are defined using more than 300% total ink
- Spot colours are named correctly
- No actual elements in the job uses the colour REGISTRATION
- All spot colours were converted to process in a four-colour print job
- Native files, images and fonts are supplied: or press-ready PDF's are supplied
- Placed images are in the same folder as the files that use them
- All unnecessary files are removed
- Provide 100% composite laser proofs
- Print a directory of disc contents
- Provide printed documents that can be used to match for color on press
PREPARING PRINT-READY PDF
Please follow the above steps prior to creating a Print Ready PDF. Most page layout applications have the ability to export or save a PDF suitable for print.
Here are the steps to create a Print Ready PDF using Quark Xpress, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. You may already have a system in place for creating Print Ready PDF files so you may continue to do so.
In Adobe Acrobat go in the Advanced tab, Print Production, OUTPUT PREVIEW to check if your PDF contains the correct colour, cropmark and bleed for you project.
In general the following pre-defined settings work well with a couple of changes:
Press Quality; Print Quality; High Quality or PDFX3
Trim marks should be on with an offset value equal to or greater than the amount of bleed 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
Use a lossless ZIP compression not JPEG to prevent a reduction in image quality.
Minimize the use of downsampling unless absolutely necessary.
When using InDesign in the Ink Manager check "All Spots to Process" if you do not require Spot Colours in your job.
*Note: QuarkXPress will not convert Spot Colours to Process if they originate in a placed EPS (Illustrator, etc.) Please convert these to process colours within their native application prior to placing in Quark.
Illustrator files also need to have all Spots converted to Process prior to saving a PDF.
*Note: We strongly recommend checking PDFs after being created to ensure they contain the required bleeds, trim marks and don't contain any unwanted elements or colours.