PRINTING TIPS

No matter what application you use to create your piece for printing there are certain items that your printer needs to ensure the smooth running of your job to film.

Document Size

Using Color

Fonts

Graphics

Saving Files

Bleeds

Tip #1 Document Size
If you are using a page layout application like QuarkExpress, PageMaker or InDesign, be sure to make your page size the size it will be when printed. If you create In Corel, Illustrator, or any of the other graphics applications, you can still create pages the exact size you need them.

Sometimes a document will be created for an Invitation or an envelope, or even a brochure. If your envelope is a #10 the page size should be 9-1/2" x 4-1/8". An Invitation, maybe a flat size of 4" x 7" and will be folded to 4" x 3-1/2", still should be created at 4" x 7" because the piece will be printed flat, not folded. The folding will come after the Invitation has been printed. A brochure that is 12 pages should be created at a one panel size, whatever size you have determined to use. Maybe you want the brochure to fit inside a #10 envelope. You know that the envelope Is 9-1/2" x 4-1/8" so your folded size should be approximately 3-7/8" x 9-1/4" so It will fit Into the envelope nicely.

When your brochure is printed the production person will "Impose" the 12 pages to prepare to run films for the printing process.

Imposing is when the pages of your document are manipulated to create a "printer's spread". If you take a piece that's already been finished and open it and lay it out flat you will see how the piece may have been printed. The front cover and the back cover appear to be one piece, and in all probability were printed as one piece, as well as the Inside front cover and inside back cover printing together. This holds true for all the other pages in a multipage piece. The first page of text will print with the last page of text and so on. This is what is referred to as a printer's spread.

Making your pages the exact size they should be allows the computer to do the work it was created to do. The computer will add all necessary crop marks and registration marks to let the people who do the next step of the process know where the colors align and the job will trim.

Tip #2 Using Color
When creating your file, if you are going to be using color, don't just generally use a color that is listed in the colors list or use your monitor and inkjet printer to determine what the color should be. Shops that provide "color" proofs have calibrated equipment to show the colors as close as possible as they will appear upon printing. Be advised also that there isn't a color proofing system that is 100% accurate.

Click Here for Important Information about RGB and CMYK

There are several different kinds of Inks that printing companies use. The one used most often is called the PMS color system (Pantone Matching System). Most applications give you the color matching charts for several different kinds of matching systems, including several different charts of the Pantone system.

These charts are usually: Pantone Uncoated, Pantone Coated, Pantone Process Uncoated and Pantone Process Coated. What this means is: Pantone Uncoated gives the color numbers and a color chip of Inks that will be printed on uncoated stock. Likewise, the Pantone Coated gives color numbers and a color chip of Inks that will be printed on coated stock; the Pantone process uncoated, Is a process breakdown of the same Inks for uncoated and coated stocks respectively.

When a customer Indicates their job is to be printed two colors, they usually indicate what the colors will be by saying it will be printed black and a PMS colors number, i.e., PMS 185, which is a red. If you don't have a Pantone color book, your printing representative will be happy to show you one. If you are going to be working a lot in color you might want to invest the money to buy a color book.

Now you may ask what the difference is between these colors. On a Pantone color book It will usually list each color number and give you a "c" for coated or a "u" for uncoated. The book also gives you a color chip showing you exactly what the color should look like, and which the pressman will use to match to your printed piece.

Tip #3 Fonts
Besides the file for your piece, you need to include all the fonts you have used in the file. Your printer will not necessarily have on their system all the files you have used so it is important that you provide copies of the fonts you have used in your file. Certain applications allow you to "embed" the font within the file. This is not generally a good practice. Your file is going to be output to an “Image setter” which will read the information in your file and transfer it to film or plate. This information sometimes isn’t transferred well, or at all, and the printer will have to make changes to the file to make it better. If the printer has a copy of your fonts, the chances of a problem with them is lessened.

Tip #4 Graphics
Also needed are copies of all graphics you have used in your file. Some applications allow copies of graphics to be embedded in the file. While this works most of the time, some times it doesn’t. Again, your file is going to be output to an “Image setter” which will read the information in your file and transfer it to film. Again, this information sometimes isn’t transferred well by the image setter and the printer will have to make changes to the file to make it better. If the printer doesn’t have a copy of the original placed image, there isn’t any way to fix the problem so it will run to the image setter. This will hold your job up and the printer will have to come back to you to obtain the original anyway.

While we are talking about graphics files let’s take this time to give you some more information needed when having a piece printed. If you are scanning graphics for incorporation into a file, these graphics need to be scanned at 300dpi (dots per inch) if they are at 100% of the placement size. In other words, if you plan to place a head shot of someone in an article and that photo will be scanned and placed at a 2” x 3” size, then when scanning you should indicate at least a 300dpi scan size. If you scanned a photo at 2” x 3” and you want to enlarge it to 4” x 6” when placing it in your file, this is not a good idea. As you enlarge the photo to twice its size the dpi size will go from 300dpi to 150dpi. You will not get the optimum reproduction of your photo this way. You would need to scan this at 600 to come out with a 300 dpi at 4" x 6".

If you will be scanning images for you job, it is best to save them in a good file format. We recommend .tif, or .jpg as the best file formats to use. Try to stay away from pict, .bmp or .wmf if you can. These formats tend to cause the most problems.

Be careful using .jpg files. This is a compressed file format and depending on the level of compression, may result in a file that does not reproduce as intended. Definitely do not copy and paste a .jpg or .gif from a web page into your document. These types of images are created to look good on a computer screen, which is 72dpi (dots per inch). For printing, a high resolution of at least 300dpi is required
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If you are using a digital camera, you must be very careful. Most of these cameras have the ability to take a photo using different sizes, starting usually at 72dpi and going up. The higher the pixel size, the fewer photos you can take with the “film”. Keep in mind that at 72dpi your photo will not reproduce very well when printing. Also, if you scan/take a photo that is at 72dpi and the size is something like 16” x 22”, then the printer can use that photo to resize when placing to achieve closer to 300 dpi.

It is never wise to use graphics obtained from the internet. These are usually low res files and do not reproduce well.

Tip #5 Saving Files
The copies of your graphics should be in the mode it is going to be printed, grayscale, CMYK, etc. It should never be RGB or index color. If your scanning package doesn’t allow you to change to either grayscale, CMYK or bitmap, please let your printer know so they can fix it up front before they try to send it to film. This is another reason to include copies of all your graphic files.

If you are working in an application that has a set of "clip art" graphics supplied with the program, you need to pay attention to what the name of the file is so it too can be sent as an outside file. Again, if the file needs to be manipulated to get it to run to the Image setter, the graphic file would come in handy. An alternative to writing down the names of the files used would be to use the "collect for output" type of feature offered in most programs these days. In Quark It Is collect for output, In Publisher it’s called "packing". What happens is your application "reads" the names of the graphics files used in your document and will "collect" or gather and make copies of everything you have used and save it together for your to send to the printer. Please be aware that these features DO NOT gather fonts. It does create a report listing the names of all the fonts used in your document, including the fonts that were used in a placed graphics. You can then gather only those fonts used to send to the printer.

We hope the Information and tips Included here will give you additional knowledge and help you understand the printing process and how the printer uses your files. Please stop back often and get all the updates of the tips provided for getting a piece printed.

Tip #6 Bleeds
Any element that goes all the way to the edge of the page is considered something that should bleed. This involves extending the element 1/8 of an inch beyond the edge of the page onto the pasteboard. This assures that in the cutting process, a white line will not show itself on the edge if the cutting blade misses the mark slightly. The bleed allows for this margin for error in the cutting process and provides you with a professional quality job. If the files you submit to us do not have bleed built in, we can create it for you in most instances at a nominal cost. It is better however if you put the bleed in yourself and understand why it is important. As always we are here to help, so if you have questions be sure to call and ask them before you submit your job and we pre-flight it. This will save you time and money in the long run
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Tip #7 Preflighting
It is always a good idea to preflight your document before you send it to your printer. Click on the link below to open our preflight form. Just print the form and send it with your files to us.

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MultiCopy Corporation I 1739 Harding Road I Northfield, IL 60093-3306
Tel: (847) 446-7015
I Fax: (847) 446-7017 I Email: jake@multicopy.us