The following guide will help
in preparing your digital files. It contains additional information
and explanations of common
terms to help you communicate better with your printer.
Create documents in Page Layout Programs such as InDesign,
Quark, or PageMaker
Create your document in the exact size of the final trimmed
piece. For example, if you are creating a lettersize multiple-page
document with facing pages, your page size would be 8.5x11,
Use the master page to place common items such as page numbers
in the same location on multiple pages.
Create multiple-page documents in reader’s spreads.
Extend images that bleed off the document page by an 1/8” (standard).
Delete unused colors in the color palette from EPS and page
Images that cross-over facing pages should be divided into
two separate picture boxes and aligned on their respective
Scale bitmap images no more than 10% up or down from their
original size. A drastic enlargement will cause loss of detail
and a drastic reduction may extend imaging time and delay your
Link images in your Illustrator and FreeHand files. Do not
Tip: Remember to include any special Quark Xtensions you may
have used to create your document.
Tip: Creating files in drawing programs such as Illustrator,
FreeHand or Corel Draw can sometimes incur additional charges
Save all PhotoShop files in the CMYK color mode, which includes
any nested or embedded files.
Submit PhotoShop files only in the TIFF or EPS formats (DCS
is an EPS).
Delete any unused alpha channels or clipping paths in flattened
Delete unused colors in the color palette from Illustrator,
Turn off JPEG, LZW, or ZIP compression in your PhotoShop files.
There are two types of images: Vector and Bitmap. Vector images consist of lines and curves you create in programs like
Illustrator or Freehand.They are called vectors because
they can be described in mathematical terms such as size, length
and position.Vector graphics are device-independent, meaning
they can be scaled up or down with no loss in detail.
Bitmap images are created in painting
programs such as PhotoShop. Bitmaps (also called, raster images)
are created on a grid with small squares called, pixels.
Each pixel has a location and color value
assigned to it.These images are device-dependent, meaning they
have a fixed number of pixels for a given area. Images
that look jagged or bitmapped do not have a sufficient
amount of pixel information or resolution. A high resolution
image will have more pixels per grid, which allows for greater
detail and color transitions.
Tip: A formula for determining resolution (dpi) is: 1.5 x
the line screen = resolution. Many still use the old formula
of 2x the line screen, but there is no visible loss of detail
at this lower dpi and it saves valuable disk space.
Bitmap (in Bitmap mode) Typically
black & white
images (no grays) used for text or logos.These should be saved
600 dpi, as a TIFF and scaled to 100% of the intended size.The
background can be set to
none.Use your page layout program to colorize the image.
Bitmap (in Grayscale or CMYK mode) These
are black & white
or color images.They should be saved at 225 dpi, as a TIFF
or EPS and scaled to 100% of the intended size. Printers prefer
TIFFs if there are no clipping
paths, because EPSs tend to have a slightly larger file size.The
background should be set to white or a color in QuarkXpress.
Tip: If you are creating an image with a clipping path it
must be saved as an EPS and the tolerance should be set between
2 and 4, with 2 being a tighter setting for irregular shapes.
Bitmap (in duotone mode) These images
can be monotones, duotones, tritones or quadtones and must
be saved as an EPS.
Tip: Use channel 1 for the darkest color and if you are using
black make sure it says Black in the window, not Process Black
(your page layout program will see it as a different color).
Set the screen angles in your page layout program not in PhotoShop.
Scott Lithographing can select them for you upon request.
Vector Can be saved at any size and scaled
up or down in your page layout program (we suggest 100% for
a better preview) and they can only be saved as an EPS.
Tip: Prevent gradient banding: Set the
output resolution to 2540.
You may color correct in RGB or LAB, but save images that will
be imported into you page layout program in CMYK mode. Importing
in RGB will prevent the image from being output properly. RGB
is for images that will only be viewed on a monitor.
Tip: Remember to calibrate your monitor frequently and delete
any alpha channels to reduce the file size.
Spot (PMS) colors must use the same name in all image files.
For instance, if you are using PMS 185 CV in a file and PMS
185 CVU in another, your page layout program will see them
as two separate colors. Please indicate if a PMS color is to
be spot or built out of process colors.
Tip: Keep in mind that some spot colors do not reproduce satisfactorily
when built out of process.
Tip: If you are using metallic inks it is a good idea to
aqueous coat or varnish the sheet to prevent smearing.
Be sure to include the printer and screen font for each Type
Check the font usage window to ensure you have included all
If you’ve used fonts in EPS artwork: Either convert the
text to paths or include the font(s).
Basic types of fonts: PostScript, TrueType,
in Type 1,2, or 3 (Type 1 is the most popular).You will have
the screen font and the printer font.The screen font is for
displaying the font on your screen (the icon shows a single "A").The
printer font is used by printers and imagesetters to create
the type mathematically.
TrueType contains both the screen
and printer fonts in one file (the icon shows three "A”s).
OpenType fonts are gaining
in popularity due to their cross-platform ability and flexibility.
They are essentially a Type 1 or TrueType font in a TrueType
shell, so you will have only one file per font weight or style
(i.e., bold, italics, small caps, etc...).
Tip: Use current and brand name fonts whenever possible
(ie.Adobe, Bitstream). Keep a compressed version of your font
library and replace any fonts that cause printing problems.
Tip: Use the actual weight of the typeface, such as Helvetica
Bold.Do not use menu styling.
Printers normally handle trapping, so discuss any concerns
you have. If you are comfortable doing your own, you should
relay that to your printer. Although, it may make you liable
for any trapping errors.
As a rule, printers do not check the spelling of documents
because they are not privy to the jargon, product names, or
special pronouns of other industries. Spell-check and proof-read
your document carefully. It’s also an excellent idea
to have two other individuals proof-read the text before submittal.
Printers were primarily Mac-based, but virtually all of them
now accept PC files created in Quark Xpress, Pagemaker, InDesign,
Corel Draw EPS files. It’s a good idea
to check with your printer before submitting files created
with Microsoft products, such as MS Word or Publisher.
I strongly suggest using the Collect for Output option when
using QuarkXpress. Collect all the elements of your job (images,
fonts and final files) and place them into one of three folders:
Finals, Support, and Fonts.Do not send files that are not pertinent
to the job. Please be aware that Quark will list the fonts
on the collect for output report, but it will not collect them
Tip: I strongly recommend using FlightCheck or PreFlight
Pro prior to submitting your files.
Printers accept just about any media today, and many have ftp
sites that can save you travel time.Your printer should have
a list of acceptable media.
Many printers archive your work for the purpose of rerunning
it, but do not count on it! Be sure you have a back-up copy
of your project. I suggest a regular archiving procedure to
ensure you have your work in the future. Personally, I use
a digital tape system with Retrospect, and I keep a full catalog
outside the studio in the event of fire or other loss.
FINAL CHECK LIST:
• All electronic files, support images and fonts on disk.
• All photos, transparencies, or art to be scanned.
• Any special instructions.
• A set of color proofs or lasers.
A set each of b&w laser composites/separations.
• A mock-up (if applicable).
• A previously printed sample (if applicable).