“Ready to send your file to Pacom”
Before any project is printed, it goes through our Prepress Department.
The Prepress department is run by Mr Sang Yong Jo (조상용). His team reviews every job to ensure that it is correctly prepared for printing. Often graphic designers focus on making great designs on the screen, but that may not necessarily translate into print without following some very strict rules on the artwork preparation side.
We are providing the following checklist to consider when preparing your files. Not all items may fit your project, but overall it’s best practices to always keep in mind when designing.
- Ensure artwork extends to bleed lines. Bleed lines are very important for printing. We recommend a 3mm / .125inch bleed to be set up on your job. Make sure artwork is placed to cover the bleed. Also don’t forget to include the bleed marks on the final PDF.
- Verify process colors are CMYK and not RGB. This is a very common issue. Often when images are worked on in Photoshop, they are edited in RGB (as that is how monitors, scanned images, photos are handled). Images should be converted to CMYK in Photoshop before importing. When converting, you may see some minor color changes. NOTE: InDesign will automatically convert any RGB images to CMYK however this can be risky as the colors might change drastically during the conversation. It is best to convert prior to ensure best results. The quickest way to double check is when in InDesign, open the links panel, and then in the Panel Options, add the “Type” parameter. You can then see what kind of file is linked from the links panel. Nifty!
- Make sure all images are at least 300 dpi. Low resolution images can look ok on the screen but when printed they can look like a hot mess.
- When importing images, use .tif, .psd, .eps, .pdf. Do not import .jpg, .png, .gif as those are file formats for the screen and web.
- Check that spot colors are converted to CMYK or, if printing a job with spot colors, carefully define the spot. Preparing a print job with spot colors requires very close management of the colors on the file. It is important to select spot colors from the color books within the program, and to ensure that those colors are used continuously. Also be sure to check the ink manager to see what colors will be output.
- Delete any unused colors from the swatch panel. This is a very useful thing to do as you near the end of your file preparation. Go to the swatch panel, and select any unused colors (from the swatch panel drop down menu) and delete them.
- Ensure there are no missing fonts. When saving the PDF, make sure that you have embedded fonts as well.
- Make sure there are no linked graphics that need to be updated or missing.
- Make sure that all content is within margins. When designing be careful not to place important contact too close to the ends (unless required). This lessens the chance that that content might be cut off.
- If you have a die line, consider placing this on it’s own layer and that layer is set to non-printing, then lock the layer so that you cannot place any other items on the layer. Then place that layer as the top layer so that you can see it easily.
- Also if you have a die line, consider making the die line color a spot color (I usually choose a very distracting 100% cyan or 100% magenta so that it shows well. If it is a spot color, then you can be assured that it does not get merged into the CMYK of your file.
- Run a spell check! It’s often assumed the document is spelled correctly but even the best writers can make speeling errors 🙂
Top 11 problems in the files
The following are the top 11 problems that occur in Prepress and slow the process. The checklist above covers most of these, but when there are problems, the following list covers about 85% of the issues.
- Resolution Problems – the images are not high enough quality (Think: “Use 300 dpi… to make your job fly)
- CMYK, not RGB – convert those images. (No one wants a photo of the author looking like a Smurf)
- Spot plate exists when it should not – Make sure the number of colors on the separations preview equal the number of the print job.
- Die line is cmyk, not a spot color – Beware of accidentally setting the die line to CMYK and set to print.
- Front side and Back side die line is not reversed, thus causing tilting (ABCD | BACD) – If your project uses a die line that has printing on both sides, be sure to FLIP the die line on back side pages. Otherwise, it can cause a tilting effect. Top and Bottom stay the same but the left and right are mirrored.
- PDF file size is too big – Check the settings written below for optimal PDF file size. This will make your upload times as fast as possible as well as make a PDF that is easier for the Prepress to handle and check.
- Spread – Single Page spread is preferred – When setting up a document in inDesign, the spread should be set up as single page spreads.
- Duotones: Select the correct spot color from the beginning – Make sure to select the actual spot color from the Pantone color swatches. This will ensure that you have one color in InDesign and that the images show correctly in InDesign (rather than gray scale)
- No Bleed – Be sure to set your bleed (Should be 3 mm or .125inch) and that it is set to show in the PDF export.
- Missing font (fonts are not embedded) – Be sure to embed fonts in PDFs or include all fonts if you are sending original files.
- Overprint Issues – Most of the time, overprint is turned off, but in certain cases, such as a die line set as a spot color is being included in the file, overprint should be turned on, otherwise, colors will be knocked out because it is assuming the spot color will cover it.
Having the correct PDF settings can help ensure your project will not stall through the prepress stage. We have provided two options to help:
Click on this link to view a step by step of the PDF settings you should use for Adobe products:
InDesign to PDF_Pacom
Download this link to get the PDF settings that you can load into your Adobe products.
Adobe PDF Preset.zip