Prepress Your Files

Before sending your files to any print vendor you should really look at your file one last time, here’s a checklist for what to look for.

  1. PROOFREAD!
    Typos are embarrassing, for instance using the wrong version of there, their or they’re – spell check isn’t going to catch that, so read it carefully. Have someone read it with fresh eyes, they may see a problem with sentence structure that you didn’t catch. Lastly, we also recommend proof reading as a PDF, the new program and format often makes things easier to spot.
  2. Zoom In and Look Around
    We all fall into the habit of filling the screen with the whole document to look at layout, but this means we miss the little things that may be going on in there. View your document at 100% or actual print size, scroll around and confirm that everything looks good, and there aren’t any small elements out of place. Look at the images especially, you can catch a low quality photo most quickly this way.
  3. Confirm Document Size
    Your print file should be set up to the final production size, or at a proportional scale such as 1:2 or 1:4 for projects that are very large.
  4. Confirm Bleed and Safe Areas
    Make sure that you’re following your vendor’s requirements for safe area and bleed. Any critical elements such as logos and text should be far enough from any trim or fold edge to safeguard it from being trimmed off. For bleed, colors and photos should be extended beyond the trim edge to ensure there isn’t a sliver of white along the edge after it’s been finished. When sending a PDF to your vendor make sure there are crop marks, as well as bleed included.
  5. Confirm Image Resolution
    It’s important to remember that if you enlarge an image file the resolution of the file drops in proportion, i.e., 300 dpi files enlarged 300% are now 100 dpi at print size. Programs like Indesign will tell you the Effective or Actual PPI in the links info to help you determine the print resolution of the image. Let your vendor know if you don’t have higher quality images than you are providing, they may have a solution for you.
  6. Confirm Color Space – CYMK or RGB
    Double check that your images and color swatches are in the color space requested by your vendor. Note: If you have to convert a jpg image into another color space, don’t resave it as a jpg, save a psd or tif instead. It’ll be a larger file, however it wont further compress your image which can lead to unacceptable image quality when saving an image as a jpg multiple times.
  7. Confirm Font Requirements
    Some vendors will require that you convert your fonts to outlines, or that you include the font family when you deliver your print file.
  8. Confirm the Project Specs
    When sending files to your vendor, you should confirm what you’re ordering, make sure you tell them the Quantity, Final Size, Media or Paper, Finishing Techniques, such as folds, pockets, grommets, or hardware, and call out Critical Colors, such as PMS match or if the vendor should match color they printed previously.