Friday, March 23, 2012

Top Ten Common Problems to Avoid When Preparing Files for a Printer

Once you have decided upon a print service provider and you have learned the basic terminology that will help you to best communicate with your printer, there are some red flag items that you should AVOID when sending a printer your files.  

1.  Fonts not embedded in PDF or missing application files
  • If you send a printer a PDF file of a book or document, be sure to embed the fonts in the file so that the fonts will be viewed as the author intended
  • If you send application files (Quark, InDesign), be sure to include a font file
2.   Incomplete or corrupt files
  •  Check and re-check your files to make sure all the pages and images are included, and that the files all open correctly
3.  Colors that are not converted from RGB to four-color CMYK mode
  • When transitioning from the computer screen to the printed page, colors appear differently. It is very rare that a computer monitor will display accurately the colors chosen in your layout.
  • Our digital presses can convert RGB to CMYK, but with less than optimum results. The color may be represented inaccurately, or in black and white. For the best color quality, conversion is recommended.
4.   Black and White images in RGB or CMYK instead of Grayscale
  • If these images are not saved as Grayscale, the document will print with some color
5.   Images with too low or too high resolution.  A resolution of 300 DPI (dots-per-inch) is recommended.      
  • Low Resolution- A scan resolution that is too low produces a low-quality image. With a low resolution (72-100 DPI), images downloaded from the Internet do not print clearly.  
  • High Resolution - This increases the file size and printing time without increasing quality 
6.  Inadequate Bleeds
  • Without proper bleed, the image that extends to the edge of a printed sheet will show a tiny white line on the trimmed edge, which results in an unpolished end product
7.  Image delivered in the wrong file format
  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) - These file formats are great for photographic images on the Web because they compress the files, reducing the size. For printing, these file formats are not ideal, because every time the file is saved, color and detail is lost
  • GIF (Graphic Interchange File) - These file formats are limited to eight bits or 256 colors, and are best used for the Internet
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) or PSD (Photoshop Document) - These files form high-resolution images of digital pages, producing the best images for printing without loss of color or detail.  Files can be large, but are easily compressed.
8.  Missing Images
  • If images are missing, a blank or low resolution image will be substituted
9.  Wrong Applications used for complex page layouts (Word, PowerPoint).  
  • Preferred Applications are programs designed specifically for publishing tasks, such as  InDesign, Quark or Pagemaker
10.  Not supplying a Hard-Copy Proof
  • Submitting a Hard-Copy Proof makes it much easier to spot potential problems. It is best to provide a printer with final color or black and white laser print-outs along with the digital files.  Print-outs should be actual size (100%).



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