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File Preparation Tips for Great Print Results

Fonts

PostScript Type 1:  Use industry standard PostScript Type 1 fonts. It is best to provide the entire font set (Mac screen and printer fonts; Windows .pfm and .pfb files) with each job. However, send in only the font sets used in the job not your entire font collection. Font files that contain customized features such as kerning and tracking MUST be provided. True Type fonts may be used, but are not preferred. Using True Type and PostScript fonts in the same document may cause output problems.

Fonts Used in Graphic Files:  If drawing or illustration graphic files contain text the fonts should be provided or the fonts changed to outlines.

Images

Scanning:  When scanning images, it is important to capture enough information (resolution) to accurately reproduce the image. However, excessive information capture does not guarantee a better printed page. In most circumstances, a scanned resolution of 266–350 ppi will be adequate for reproducing photographs. For line art a minimum resolution of 1200 ppi is recommended.

 

Color Mode:  All images should be converted from RGB to CMYK either in the scanner interface or in Photoshop. All color correction should be applied at this time. Files submitted with an RGB color space can be converted for you, but color shifts may occur. For the most predictable results please convert before submitting artwork.

Cropping, Rotating & Scaling:  Scanned images should be cropped, rotated and scaled to 100% size prior to placement in your page layout program. If this is not performed additional prepress work may be needed and could translate into delay and additional costs.

Image Manipulation:  If special effects such as blurring or distorting in any fashion are desired, scans and images should be generated by the customer prior to submitting files.

Layers:  We recommend working in layers whenever possible with rasterized images. Keeping layers intact makes it much easier for corrections to be made. When submitting for print, "Save As" a TIFF file, but don't delete your layered version until you know that there are no errors to correct in the image.

File Formats:  Scanned imaged should be saved as uncompressed TIFF or EPS files. Do not use JPEGs for print. JPEGs are a compressed file format which causes image data to be lost permanently. If saving as an EPS do not include halftone screen or transfer functions.

Digital Cameras:  Digital cameras, except at the high-end professional level typically lack the qualities needed for commercial offset printing. Customers who use digital cameras should test the images prior to submission for print. The following are some basic guidelines for digital camera images;
         Capture images at the maximum allowable resolution.
         Use the lowest compression setting possible.
         •  1.6 MP cameras (1524x1024 ppi) can produce a suitable 3.4x5" image at 305 ppi.
         •  2.0 MP cameras can produce a suitable 4x6" image at 292 ppi.
         •  3.1 MP camera can produce a suitable 5x7" image at 300 ppi.

Color Issues

Color Expectations:  Never expect the color of the finished printed piece to match exactly to your computer monitor or the color from your desktop printer. Your monitor cannot be viewed in the CMYK color space (it can only show RGB) and there are differences between the dyes, toner and inks used in your desktop printer and traditional offset printing inks. Always use a Pantone swatch book to preview what colors will look like when printed. In addition, your PEI sales rep can have a very accurate color proof produced for you to ensure the accuracy of colors.

Graphics

Updating Graphics:  All graphic files must be linked properly. Graphic files that have been updated in their native program (i.e. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) after placement into a layout program must be updated or relinked. All layout programs have features to indicate if images need updating.

 

Nested Graphics:  Avoid nested elements in graphic files (graphic files embedded into other graphic files). If supplied graphics must include nested elements make sure all original graphic files are included with your print job.

 

Clip Art:  When using clip art make sure it is designed for high resolution output, not web or presentation work. Make sure that the color space is appropriate for desired output (CMYK or Pantone).

 

File Formats:  All graphic files should be saved as either TIFF or EPS file format. Line art created by illustration programs such as Illustrator should be saved as an EPS. Do not use GIF, PICT, BMP or PCX formats which are not suitable for print production work.

Miscellaneous Desktop Tips

Extraneous Files:  Do not include non-imaging files, or files that are For Position Only (FPO) on the production disk. If FPO files are included, clearly label them in the documentation that they do not print. Excess images on your pasteboard should be removed as they may cause the file to output incorrectly or delay your job.

 

Printer-Ready Files:  In order to maintain schedule and reduce cost, files on production disks should be final and ready for press. Be sure to use "Collect for Output" when gathering your layout, image and fonts for submission.

 

Rule Point Size:  Never use rules that are less than .5 pt. Hairline rules on high-end press equipment are so thin that they "disappear" when output.

 

Bleeds:  Bleeds should be set by the originator and should be included in all files that image off the final printed page. As a general rule, allow an 1/8 inch (.125) for all bleeds.

 

Compressing Files:  When submitting files via FTP or email, please make a .zip archive of your collected job.

 

Backup Copies:  Be sure to backup all original artwork and files before submitting. All media and digital transfers are fallible, and you'll want to safe guard your data from being lost or destroyed.

 

Clipping Paths:  Create clipping paths in an image editing program (Photoshop or Illustrator). Clipping paths created in layout programs like Quark Xpress are not as accurate and may fail to output correctly.