The following checklist can be helpful before sending your artwork to be printed:
1. Most printers require artwork to be supplied as a collected output from layout software such as Adobe InDesign. Include screen and printer fonts, which will avoid delays if the printer does not have your font.
Printers can also print from a press quality high resolution PDF. Word processor files such as documents created in Microsoft Word can be used but generally offer a lower quality output.
2. If the artwork is intended for a four colour process print, make sure the artwork does not contain any hidden spot colours.
The window to the right shows a CMYK purple – this particular purple is made up of 100% cyan, 90% magenta, 10%yellow and 0% black. Notice the Colour Type is set to Process. This is very important.
Swatch options in Adobe Indesign - CMYK purple
3. All images should be high resolution – 300dpi or greater.
The industry standard image editing program is Adobe Photoshop.The resolution of an image can be seen in the Image Size window shown at right.
Image size window in Adobe Photoshop
4. As stated in point 3, photographs must be in set in the CMYK colour space. The image below shows how to select CMYK colour for a photograph.
CMYK colour in Adobe Photoshop
5. High resolution TIFF files or EPS files are the best format for printing. If converting TIFFs to JPEGs in order to conserve file size, see if the printer can convert them back to TIFF before printing.
6. Make sure bleed is set on any elements which extend to the page edge. 3mm is standard, bleed of up to 25mm can be required for artwork to be wrap mounted.
7. Do not draw crop marks in your artwork. InDesign can create crop marks automatically from the Print Settings window.
8. Logos which contain text should be converted to paths before being sent to print. The Create Outlines function in Adobe Illustrator transforms text into compound paths. Outlined text then becomes part of the image rather than an editable text layer, so any possiblity of font problems while printing the logo are eliminated. The coloured picture below is the FM logo as a normal preview.
Logo preview in Adobe Illustrator
The second picture below is the same logo in outline view showing the vector paths. The layers pallette reveals the text is actually part of the image –a group of seven compound paths instead of one single text layer. If you are suppling your files by PDF, please see our guide for creating a pdf.
Logo preview in Adobe Illustrator after converted to outlines
9. If uploading artwork to a printer’s FTP area, remember that files must have proper extensions – .jpg, .eps, .tif and so on or they might not be able to be opened at the other end. Some FTP sites do not recognize special characters such as #, @, &, or / so avoid using them in file names in case they corrupt during upload.
If sending collected output from page layout software, place the elements into a single folder and use file compression programs such as PC Zip or Stuffit to reduce their size for quicker upload.
10. Getting digital proofs or wet proofs before printing is highly recommended.