Three Easy-to-Avoid Prepress Problems
Three of the most common — and easy-to-avoid — prepress problems that can bring your print job to a halt revolve around (1) fonts, (2) bleeds, and (3) images.
Fonts are typically the most problematic issue — they can be missing, they can be a mix of Postscript and TrueType, they can be incomplete if both the screen and print fonts are not present. Another font dilemma can be caused if you stylize a font (e.g., Optima) to be “bold” from the Style Menu rather than actually selecting the font file “Optima Bold” (assuming you have the actual font file). Many fonts and versions of the same font exist in the world. The best way to ensure that we have the right font for your print job is to include the actual font you used to create the job when you submit your artwork to us. (Ask us for tips on “packaging” your art files.)
Bleeds are a typical but easy enough prepress error to resolve. A bleed occurs when an image, block of color, or other graphic element appears to run off the edge of the sheet. To achieve this look, the job is actually printed on an oversized press sheet that is then trimmed to the final size. “Pulling the bleed” — or extending the artwork by 1/8 inch (.125) beyond where it will be trimmed — is often overlooked by the designer before the artwork is submitted for press. When you open a new document in InDesign, you can designate the bleed amount (.125 inches) in the same Document Setup window where you indicate page size, columns, and margins.
Images can be problematic if they are low-resolution, defined as RGB, or just plain missing. To keep images from going MIA when you submit your artwork, be sure to submit your images as separate linked files (rather than embedded in the artwork) and in TIF, JPG, or EPS format. (Again, ask us for tips on “packaging” your art files.) The images must also be defined as CMYK or spot color, rather than RGB (the mode of color that displays on monitors and TV screens, but not on paper). For best print quality, image resolution should be 300 dots per inch or higher to keep the photo from appearing blurry or pixilated when printed.