Preflight checklist to ensure great printing results

June 23, 2009

I don’t think that I work in greater partnership with anyone as I do with printers. Most of my clients require printing services and expect me to handle the ordering, paying, delivery and any troubleshooting if necessary. Although I’ve dealt with many different printers, one thing remains the same: If I make their job easier by having all files and instructions to them correctly the first time, they’re much happier, and the job goes a lot quicker. Most printers understand that sometimes mistakes are made, and sometimes, those mistakes are made by the printers themselves. But there aren’t too many printers out there that are going to continually correct, point out, or adjust mistakes made on your part over and over again without charging a fee. Be sure to check these important things before sending your files to the printer, and both of your lives will be much easier. Make sure the printer's instructions are followed — If the printer requires that your files be submitted as flattened PDF documents, don’t send a JPG. If the artwork should be 4.35-inch by 6.17-inch, make sure your file is exactly that size. Make sure your files are easily named and sorted — The easier files are to read and find, the quicker your printer can get started on your job. Make sure your file is in CMYK — All print jobs must be submitted this way unless the printer specifies otherwise. Make sure all bleeds are included — If you don’t follow bleed instructions, text pictures or graphics can get cut off and cause your project to print incorrectly. Most printers will give you a proof to show how your job will look after production. Look over it carefully and make sure nothing is out of bounds. Make sure to proofread your text — This has been the No. 1 error of my clients. Printers are not required to proof, and many of them don’t. Whatever you send to them will print as is, and if there are typos, they are not held responsible. Make sure your fonts are embedded — If you’re sending an unflattened PDF document, make sure that you either submit the fonts that you’ve used along with your art file, or rasterize and/or create your text to outlines so that your text becomes an object, no longer relying upon a font family to be seen as it should be. What do you think? What do you always double check before sending your files to the printer?

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About Valerie Thompson

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