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Prepress questions

May 6, 2012 1:20 PM

Tags: #indesign #print #prepress

I've been learning a good amount about the print universe and now have questions.

 

When I found the site below (Step 2) it says to "Check the Format" to see what the printer prefers. My question is; how do you know what the printer prefers? (I assume when they talk about printing PDF's they refer to exporting the Indesign file to a PDF and then printing, right?)

 

http://www.designtalkboard.com/tips/dtp/preflight-checklist.php

 

And the last step in the link above (Step 5) it says that some printers prefer 3mm bleed and 5mm bleed. The good news is I am well aware what bleed is. (As stated earlier I have been learning)

 

But what I don't understand is; how do you know what the printer prefers?

 
Replies
  • Sudarshan Thiagarajan
    4,000 posts
    Oct 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 6, 2012 11:28 PM   in reply to GeorgeT24

    Check the format that the printer prefers files to be delivered in. For examples, do they prefer original QuarkXpress or InDesign files, or do they prefer PDFs.

    • If they prefer the original DTP page layout files, endure that all relevant files (graphics and logos and so on) are included. With QuarkXpress, this can be achieved with a collect for output, whereas with Adobe InDesign all files can be gathered using the Package feature from the File meInu.
    • If the printer or magazine prefers the file as a PDF, it is worth checking what type of PDF is preferable. Many suppliers will provide a PDF profile that allows you to create PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Distiller to their exact specifications. Many production experts prefer that you avoid exporting PDFs directly from within InDesign, as this can cause issues with some imagesetters.

    Here, printers are referred to the guy who mans the print machine. Depending on their workflow and settings, some printers prefer to get source files from you (.indd for InDesign/ .ai for Illustrator) and so on. Some prefer PDFs. I usually send out my source files as a package from InDesign so that just in case I've made an error with spacing/ bleeds, my printer can always correct it for me without affecting the other elements of my design.

     

    And the last step in the link above (Step 5) it says that some printers prefer 3mm bleed and 5mm bleed. The good news is I am well aware what bleed is. (As stated earlier I have been learning)

     

    Like mentioned earlier, a lot of factors influence the bleed choice for print - such as their cutting and binding machines (some have more accuracy while others don't). The bottomline is that your content shouldn't get cropped when it is bled. One more thing is that some print machines influence this too depending on their margin settings and the printer's (person) workflow setting.

     

    But what I don't understand is; how do you know what the printer prefers?

    Just ask. Check with your printer how much bleed you should provide in your document. Nothing wrong in asking and you can be rest assured even if the bleed goes wrong, your printer will bear responsibility for it as long as you don't deviate from the measure he gave you.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2012 8:07 AM   in reply to GeorgeT24

    It seems every shop is different.  Aside from the initial sales contact, you might ask for the "Prepress Manager".  Make part of your education going out and visiting various sized shops.  Try to build a rapport with the people on the floor.  They are the ones who can help you when push-comes-to-shove.  Eventually, you will narrow your preferred vendor list to 3 to 5 shops you will get to know well and they will get to know you well.  It's a relationship that should be built on trust.  Every shop foreman wants problem-free jobs and most will welcome questions.  If you commonly get "Just send us your PDF" as a response to a question, steer clear of that vendor.

     

    "It's good to know there's someone who's repsonsible for the printer. I say that because I've been doing graphic design and am glad that there is someone who knows the printer more than I at whatever company I apply for."

     

    There may be a print "buyer" who knows various printers.  However, I would not rely on them too much because they sometimes are only involved with getting bids on a project.  You, on the other hand, will be the key liaison between the company you work for and the print vendor.  You will have to make initial contact with your job specs.  Eventually, like I mentioned above, you will have a preferred vendor you can contact and they can answer all of your prepress questions going in.  It can't be overstated how important the initial contact is, even before you start designing.

     
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