Prepress 101 – Preparing Files for Print

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Prepress is a term used in the printing industry, which refers to a process of making sure a job is correctly prepared for printing. The prepress process involves preflight, Mac file manipulation, proofing and plating. Effective prepress production allows for catching errors that could hold up the job on press.

The first step in prepress production is preflight. Preflight is the process of confirming that the digital files (fonts, artwork, images and document layout) required for the printing process are all present and within specification. The preflight process is intended to address any issues that could delay the job during prepress production and to provide trouble-free printing down the line.

Following is a list of job elements that the Mac operator reviews as a part of the preflight process. Designers and Graphic Artists who supply digital files for printing production can actively participate in this process by adhering to these same guidelines.

What to check For:
•Document is built to the final trim size with an additional .125” bleed
•Die-cut documents are built to the bleed size
•Impressions’ die line art is on a separate layer, locked and not modified
•Font formats are not mixed (i.e. TTF is not the same as Type1)
•No missing or inactive fonts; only fonts used in the job are included
•Fonts are not artificially stylized as “bold” or “Italic”
•Process colors are CMYK (not RGB)
•Unused spot colors are converted or deleted
•Graphics are up to date and properly linked
•Images are 300 dpi and the Total Ink of an image does not exceed 300%
•Important content, such as bar codes, has a .125” quiet zone
•Unused elements, empty boxes, pasteboard items, etc. are deleted


Author: Nicole Hannover

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