Five tips for Avoiding Commercial Printing Problems

Pre-Press Production
Pre-press production is the process of completing all work needed to successfully print a brochure, direct mail piece, an ad, book or other printed matter.

While the design process typically focuses on the overall look and feel, the pre-press process will involve image cropping, color correction, file conversion, making final corrections and proofing.

Pre-press Files and Printing
Most printing companies today will work directly with a pre-press file to image directly to printing plates foroffset printing.

Pre-press files which are not prepared properly will create time delays to fix the problems or may result in problems with the actual printing process. It can not be stressed enough that “do it yourself” pre-press work is only for those with pre-press or printing experience in order to achieve desired results.
Tips For Pre-Press Success
Here are five tips for avoiding pre-press problems.

Create pre-press files with the right program. Always use pre-press software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to create pre-press files. Using Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Word to create a pre-press file for printing professional marketing materials such as brochures, catalogs or direct mail will lead to disaster.

Send the proper file type to your printer. Different printing companies will have different requirements for the type of file they want to use. Some printers will want a high resolution PDF file, others want the original Illustrator or InDesign file, and others may prefer something else entirely. It is always a good idea to talk to the printing company you will be using before starting the project to prevent having to redo any work.

Be aware of printing limitations. While many printing companies are similar in many respects, their actual equipment can vary dramatically. Some printers with smaller presses may not be able to print a given project as well as a printer with a larger press, if a project has a lot of solid color areas, for example. Other printers may be better equipped than others to handle complex folds or running a fifth or sixth color. Check your printer’s capabilities before you send over the pre-press files for pinting.

Outline all text. It is a good idea to outline all text within the pre-press file so there are no font issues. Font files may work fine for you while working on the project, but sometimes there can be problems with the fonts printing correctly when pre-press files are sent to the printer. By outlining all text in the pre-press file, you eliminate any need for font files and all text will print correctly.

Convert all RGB files to CMYK. A common problem printers have is that they receive a file that is set up for four-color process printing (CMYK), but the support files they receive such as photographs are in RGB format. This will create a delay in printing, additional costs to convert the file, or may lead to problems printing the project.
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