4 Steps To Take

With all of the printing variables today, you must know what it takes to ensure an efficient prepress workflow process. We’ve provided the four steps you need to take when preparing your product for print.

1. Prepare Native Page File Formats.

Your system should accept page files that were created using current versions of Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress. Follow these guidelines when creating and submitting digital page files.

Create single pages set up as facing pages. Make sure they are built to the actual trim size. When producing pages this way, elements that bleed off the page must be extended 1/8″ over the edge of the page on all sides.

However, this isn’t necessary if you will be using saddle stitching. In this case, only the three outer edges must extend 1/8″ over the edge. No bleed is required in the gutter/center (unless you will be saddle stitching, then this only applies to the three outer edges. No bleed is required in the center/gutter).

If building at the final trim isn’t possible, another option is to build page files to their actual bleed size. Add 1/8″ for the bleed to all outer edges (three outer edges for saddle-stitch). All live matter of importance, including all type, must be a minimum of 1/4″ inside the final trim in order to guarantee that no essential information is trimmed off.

Any copy that will use monochrome laser or an inkjet image should:

• Have the color changed from black to something contrasting with the static page information (e.g. Magenta or Green).

• Be built on a separate layer than the static information within the document. Additionally, different imaging versions should be built as separate layers within the same native document.

• If constructing pages that will have versions, contact your account manager for specifications for options on how to best build and supply these files.

• All fonts and images must be supplied. Use QuarkXPress’ Collect for Output or InDesign’s Package features when preparing files for output. This assists in gathering corresponding art, image files, and in some cases, fonts needed for processing. The report file supplies helpful information about the supplied files.

• QuarkXPress and InDesign offer built-in options for clipping paths. Special care should be taken to assure that the desired embedded path (from Photoshop) is selected and active.

• Supply all linked art as either CMYK or grayscale high-resolution images. 4/color images should be saved as composite EPS or TIFF files. Avoid using DCS pre-separated 4/color CT files.

• Black and white line art should be in bitmap TIFF format.

• Maintain a consistent naming convention for your page files that includes the folio(s). Dashes and underscores may be used in names, but avoid using the following special characters:,? / * \ ( { | > = :

2. Prepare PDF Files.

If you are submitting final page files as PDFs, adhere to the following guidelines:

• The printing industry-standard PDF/X-1a is based on the 1.3 specifications. Supply either Acrobat 4 (1.3 specs) PDFs, or already flattened PDF files if you are using Acrobat Distiller 5 and above or exporting to PDF with InDesign.

• PDF files should be created as single pages.

• PDF files need to be checked to ensure the final file is complete before sending the files to Quad/Graphics.

• PDF files should have all fonts and high-resolution images embedded in the page file.

• Embedded high-resolution images should not contain ICC Profiles or PostScript Color Management.

• Final PDFs should have any variable content removed from the page. A separate hard copy or PDF of the page(s) should show all page content, including variable data, and contain trim marks and bleeds. Variable text should be marked up with fonts, font sizes and line spacing to be used.

3. Prepare Variable Images.

Media: CD, DVD, FTP
Resolution Requirements: 300 dpi minimum
Image Mode: Grayscale (Flattened, untagged)
Image Size: Scaled to largest size and resolution it will print at
File Type: PDF/X-1a, TIFF or EPS
File Name: The files must be identified with a unique code or name, especially if it is to tie into any data. Avoid using the following special characters: ,?/*\(){|>=:“
Media: CD, DVD, FTP
Resolution Requirements: 300 dpi minimum
Image Mode: CMYK (Flattened, untagged)
Image Size: Scaled to largest size and resolution it will print at
File Type: PDF/X-1a, TIFF or EPS
File Name: The files must be identified with a unique code or name, especially if it is to tie into any data. Avoid using the following special characters: ,?/*\(){|>=:“

NOTE: Images less than 300 dpi may not reproduce well but will print. Unflattened PDFs risk incorrect reproduction due to flattening/transparency issues. RGB images may not reproduce well but will print.

4. Personalize Your Instructions.

  • Written Variable Imaging instructions should be prepared for each imaging version.
  • The variables to be imaged should be referenced on the instructions, calling out the variable field name from the Data Record Layout.
  • Provide a low-resolution vector PDF sample of the piece to be produced, with each imaging/ personalization area identified.
  • Provide Native files (InDesign or Quark) with imaging on a separate layer from the static within the native file.
  • Font Detail: This can be extracted from your native file. However, details of font type and size for each personalization area should be noted on the sample PDF for verification. (Use Acrobat Commenting or a similar tool.)
  • Provide written business rules for programming, including:
    • Casing (UPPER, lower, or Mixed)
    • How to account for very long names. For example: “If the last name field is over X characters long, do “Y.”
    • Rules for fields not 100% populated (specify a default slug or how to close up a sentence). For example, if there’s no name, use “Valued Customer.”
    • Provide punctuation and pluralization rules for all variables.
  • Proofing Criteria: How many records are there? Are there any specific variable data requirements? Are there corresponding input data dumps?
  • Note the printed sample requirements for the job: How many samples do you require? Should they be “live” names or “Sample A. Sample B. etc.?”
  • Provide test data (if available) ahead of live data to use for setting up the variable application and creating proofs until the live data is received.

These guidelines don’t take into account all the special situations that can occur with prepress production. If you require special arrangements or procedures, be sure to contact your printer’s account manager.

Source: QuadGraphics

Want to learn more about prepress workflow for your business in New Jersey? Contact the experts at eSOZO.

eSOZO Computer and Network Services

200 Route 31
Suite 202
Flemington NJ, 08822 Phone: (888) 376-9648 Email: info@esozo.com

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