Goeztcraft Printers | Offset and Digital Printing | 734-973-7604
yellow
If the rules
of creativity
are the norm
for a company,
creative people
will be the norm.
- Jim Gilmore

FILE PREPARATION


To learn more about how we can help with your printing needs, we invite you to call or email us. We are here to help.

Goetzcraft Printers
Phone: 734-973-7604
Fax: 734-973-2421
info@goetzcraft.com

Avoiding the Most Common Production Problems

These are a few of the most common issues our prepress department encounters when preparing files for printing. They are easy to fix and we hope you will find this list useful as you prepare your files. Avoiding these issues can help you save time and money on your next printing project.

  • Folding: Panel sizes that are all the same width, no folding sample provided
  • Fonts: Using type attributes (bold, italic, shadows, outlines), missing fonts
  • Colors: Misnamed or extra colors in the files, using a low-end proof for color matching
  • Images: RGB, low resolution scans, embedded images, pixilated vector graphics
  • Layouts: MIssing bleeds, narrow borders, bad mailing layout, wrong program choice, hairline rules ,extra files

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FOLDING - Panel Sizes
Almost all multi-panel brochures should be designed with different sized panels. The only exception is the Z fold, where all panels are the same size. Tri-fold, double parallel fold, roll-fold, gate-fold, and double gate fold all require that the panels be different sizes to fit neatly inside each other during the folding. Panels that gets folded in first should be 1/8" smaller than the next outer panel. This allows the smaller panel to lie flat. Please contact us to get proper panel sizes for your folded print project.

FOLDING - Mock-up
Providing a folding sample serves two purposes. Creating a mock-up gives you the chance to check your panel sizes and review mailing specs and placement of elements. By providing a physical mock-up, you eliminate any confusion and help us to accurately provide the fold you desire.

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Selecting the font style instead of the attribute.FONTS - Don't Use Attributes
Many design programs allow you to modify your type by clicking on an attribute, such as italic and bold instead of selecting the italic or bold version of the font. If you modify a font with an attribute, that attribute can disappear when the file is sent through a prepress workflow. This happens if the stylized font does not have a printer font in that family to support the style.

For example, when making a word bold, select the bold font instead of clicking on the bold attribute as shown in this example.

Other text styling problems we see are shadows and outlines. Text with these attributes will not trap and will cause problems on press. Create shadows by layering a copy of the same text box with a slight offset to produce a shadow or by creating the shadows in a instead of the layout program. The same is true for outlined type. Create your outline type in a drawing program like Illustrator and import it or select a font that is already outlined.

FONTS - Always include your fonts
Always include your fonts, even the ones for example that you used to create your logo in Illustrator. Font names may be very common, but different manufacturers produce different fonts and if the fonts used are not exactly the same, your text will re-wrap or change position. Each typeface has two sets of files, printer fonts and screen fonts. We need both to process a file.

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COLORS - Different names for the same color
Pantone colors are spelled or named differently in Illustrator, Quark and Photoshop, which will causes problem in your final file. When you link elements from different programs, the final layout program treats each spot color name as a different color. If not corrected, each of these names will produce a different plate.

To fix this issue, edit the color names in each application so the spellings are identical in your graphics and in the page layout program. Always print a set of separations of your project before sending it to the printer to check the color break and number of plates. Stand-Alone software applications like FlightCheck can catch these problems for you.

COLORS - Low-end proofs can disappoint
The many color desktop printers on the market are convenient, but they don't show accurate color. You can head off unhappy surprises by letting your customers know that the high-end proof from the printer will look different from your laser proofs. If the color of your scanned images is highly critical, we can produce loose color proofs of your scans before your final file is assembled.

COLORS - Calibrating your equipment and color management
Calibrating your equipment can help close the gap between what you intend, your scans, and what you see on your monitor. Check the support documentation for your graphics applications and hardware for instruction on color management.

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IMAGES - Convert RGB to CMYK
CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) is the color scheme used in commercial printing. Scanners use RGB (red, blue and green) to reproduce images. You must convert your scans to CMYK for commercial printing. When you convert your images from RGB to CMYK, there will be a color shift and your scans will get darker. You will want to adjust your images after conversion to CMYK.

If you leave your images in RGB and let us know, we can make the conversion and adjustments for you. There are several disadvantages, however. You may not be satisfied with the adjustments, the file may take longer to prep, and there will be an additional cost for our time.

IMAGES - The right resolution and 100% size
The general rule for commercial printing is the pixels per inch in a scan should be 2 times the line screen. We typically print with a 150 to 175 line screen, so 300 to 350 ppi would be appropriate. Scanning high will only make the file larger. Avoid that unless you plan to use the image again later at a larger size.

Try to have your images placed in your page layout program at 100% size. Scaling photos from within InDesign, QuarkXPress or Pagemaker adds to imaging time, often billable, and can produce a poorer quality image. Pay attention to the image size information and be careful that you don't enlarge a placed image and lower it's resolution. A scan image placed at 200% has half the resolution of the original. Using a preflight program can warn you of low resolution files.

Vector graphics (from a drawing program like Illustrator) will scale up or down without changing image quality. It is still a good idea to scale your graphics to size prior to placement in your page since scaling affects trapping and line widths.

If you are tempted to pull images from the web, don't. There are copyright issues and images on the web are low resolution at only 72 dpi.

IMAGES - Vector should stay vector
Do not convert Illustrator or Freehand files (vector graphics) to a Photoshop (pixel based graphic) image. Vector graphics are resolution independent and produce the best results for line artwork.

IMAGES - Link , don't embed
When you insert pictures into your publication, you can embed them in the publication or link to the picture files. Inserting pictures into your publication as links reduces the publication size and makes it possible for the printer to edit any of the pictures separately or manage colors for all of them in one batch.

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LAYOUTS - Bleeds
Any object in your layout that touches the edge of the page must be extended 1/8" beyond the edge. This is called bleed. Bleeds are necessary to allow for slight shifts when your printed piece is trimmed. Make sure your photoshop files have enough image to extend 1/8" beyond the the edge of the paper.

LAYOUTS - Mailer regulations
The US Post Office Web site, www.usps.com, has useful information about mail regulations and mailer layouts. Some common errors include indicia and bar codes in the wrong spot, postcards that are too small or mailers that have the folds on the wrong end. Review the rules before designing your mailer and don't hesitate to talk directly to the Post Office. They are very willing to help you plan your project.

LAYOUTS - Page borders
If your artwork contains a borders all the way around the outside edge, make sure the border isn't too narrow. Because there can be a slight shift when your job is trimmed, you should make your border at least are 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide on each side. This will help the finished product have a symmetrical appearance. If your border is too narrow, it can appear uneven after trimming.

LAYOUTS - Using the right program
It's always a good idea to use a program specifically built for page layout, such as InDesign or Quark. Using Illustrator or Photoshop is NOT recommended, as they can cause problems and compromise the high quality of your work.

LAYOUTS - Don't use Hairline rules
When creating rules, lines or frames, do not use the Hairline width selection. It may output fine to a laser printer but be too thin to print on a press once output at high resolution.

LAYOUTS - Delete unused files
When finalizing your document, delete any extra unused items from your file. If changed fonts often during the design process, check through the file one last time to make sure that unused fonts do not still exist in the document. Use the find and replace feature if necessary to replace stray fonts.


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PRE-PRESS ASSISTANCE

If you have any doubts about how to prepare your files, or need scanning, converting or formatting help, our pre-press department is also available to convert your designs and graphics into the proper format for printing.