Printing Preparation Blog Articles

Do’s and Don’ts: Create the Perfect Print Ready PDF!

When preparing your files to go to the printer it is important to get all aspects just right so that your final project comes out exactly how you want in a cost effective and timely manner. Below are some of the most important, yet easy steps to ensure that your publication arrives in perfect condition and exactly how you intended!

Do: Use Adobe InDesign, Quark Express, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or similar programs. These programs are great for creating documents that are designed specifically for print.

Don’t: Use word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher. It does not work well for creating desktop print designs.

Do: Input and submit all files in PDF form (Portable Document File). Keep in mind though, that sending only a PDF limits our ability to make any adjustments or changes to your file. Also, be sure that all fonts and images are embedded into the PDF.

Don’t: Send a Low Resolution Jpeg or a Low Resolution PDF, these type of files will make your print job look fuzzy or grainy. The ideal resolution is 300 dpi.

Do: Specify the trim size, the bleed and the trim marks. Bleeds must always extend beyond the edge of the page boundaries. Also, keep in mind that most of your printed files will not be seen on a computer screen but will be held by your viewers. You must make sure that no important information is covered up by the reader’s hands.

Don’t: Use bleed less than .125 inches when creating a print ready file. Additionally, don’t place a company logo without leaving proper spacing around the edges. This is important to make sure that the branded logo stands out on the printed piece.

Do: Ensure that all fonts have the appropriate licensing. Fonts that cannot be embedded into the PDF file cannot be used on the print job. Also, CMYK color settings work well in prepress and generally produce better finished results, however the wide format printing equipment is profiled to reproduce RGB color space much better than CMYK. It is recommended to consult with your print partner to see which is best based on the application.

Don’t: Don’t submit jobs that require “spot” colors without a unique color properly defined in the page layout software’s color pallet. For example, if you desire a specific color of red, you must name it “PANTONE RED 032C” rather than just “red”.

Lastly, we offer several methods of transmitting files including FTP and our Insight marketing portal, which has capabilities to approve your print job online. If you send application files you should compress or “zip” them before they are sent to the FTP. Our marketing portal has tools that permit uploading PDF files directly into the prepress work flow for immediate online proofing.

More questions? Call 501-376-2397 to talk to one of our prepress experts. We are here to help and guide you!!

5 Easy Steps to Better Printing

1. Always Pay close attention to the details.

Quality printing requires a high attention to detail, especially when special effects are required. Bleed equaling 1/8″ should always be added to your files if bleed is required on the printed piece. Any piece requiring die cutting should include die lines to ensure the proper cuts and scores are made. Foil stamping, embossing, varnishes and coatings also have unique design requirements in order to complete the finished product. If your printing project contains any of these items, please contact your sales or customer service representative for specific requirements before preparing your files to eliminate any lost production time or additional production costs.

2. Check the color mode on your files.

Most design software will allow you to choose CMYK from a number of different color modes. When you are designing for print this will almost always be the mode you will have to work with. Generally, RGB does not convert well to CMYK. Don’t worry, any issues that may arise with the color of your printed piece should be visible on the color proofs.

3. Confirm that you have the correct resolution.

Higher input resolutions produce better final results. If you send a low resolution jpeg or a low resolution PDF, your print job will look fuzzy or grainy. At Magna IV we want your print job to be perfect! The ideal resolution of files to be printed is 300 dpi.

4. Make sure to embed your fonts.

Files without embedded fonts cannot be used for proofing or plating. Also, keep an eye on font licensing. If fonts are purchased without proper licensing we will have the same results as if the fonts were not embedded.

5. Utilize our Insite Marketing Portal and FTP sites.

We offer several methods you can use for transmitting files to us including FTP and our Insite PrePress Portal. If you send application files, you should compress or “zip” them before they are sent to the FTP. The Insite Prepress Portal System provides password protected 24/7 Web access to save you time. Our PrePress Portal has tools that permit uploading PDF files directly into the prepress work flow for immediate preflight report, online proofing and approval.