Ok folks, I'm new to this forum having come across it in search of a solution to my problem.
I need to create illustrator template files (.ai not .ait) that customers can download and use to create their own artwork for print. I have to create them in every printable paper format from business cards to A3 posters, folding, non-folding yada yada.
Now, previously, we used an .ai file with a guide layer we created. This guide layer had all relevant info, was named accordingly. It was set not to print and locked. As I tend to use print to file, distiller and all, this has always been perfectly adequate to create my pdfs. Of course, this doesn't work the same way when saving a pdf, which is what most people do. However, customers who wish to download the templates are having some difficulty with the concept of 'make sure you delete the guide layer before saving your pdf'.
For the most part, the customers using these files are not illustrator literate. Even though there are clear instructions to 'delete' the guide layer when saving the needed pdfs, they are failing to do so. This means when the .ai (with the non printable layer) is saved to pdf, the guide layer as a hidden object is saved within the pdf. Upon printing at our printing facilities, the guide layer has been printed with disasterous results.
A possible solution we came up with was to use the ruler guides to create the guide layer. For this solution to work though, I need to be able to use different colours for different guides within the same document. Which we can't. We can only change all the guide colours and they are all the same colour.
Another idea would be to outline text indicating various printable and non-printable areas and making them into guides via View>guides>make guides, which works to an extent but looks messy, especially when viewing the full page and again, isn't particularly distinctive, leading back to having different guides in different colours.
I've come across another possible solution involving template layers. Viewing the resulting pdf seems fine and in all purposes it does what we need, except for when reopening the saved (not printed) pdf back in illustrator, the template layer is still there and I need it gone. The same way it would be if the .ai were printed to postscript and sent through distiller.
My ideal solution would be to have to ability to have the different coloured ruler guides in place throughout my document, but as I previously stated, all guides have to be the same colour and that's useless in this instance.
So, has anyone got any bright ideas. Coincidentally I need to create the same templates for both psd and indesign but I'll cross that bridge when I've figured this out.
If during making PDFs you can you get them to turn of Preserve Ilustrator Editing Capapbilites, then the non printing layers would be gone.
Or can you make your guides in overpriting spot colors, and them print only the CMYK.
Or write an action that will delete your guide layer and you could run that as batch n files as they come in.
Hey Mike, thanks for the response.
1. Not a chance, if, even when the process is described in great detail in an info pdf, available as info on the website (with screenshot instructions) and mentioned in the .ai file itself, they aren't even deleting the guide layer, then turning off 'Preserve illustrator editing capabilities' is kind of a stretch. Like I said, the folks these templates are to be designed for are not illustrator literate for the most part.
2. Not sure if this would work. I'd have to look into it.
3. Beyond my capabilities. I'll let you know if number 2 works.
One possible solution I've come up with uses the idea of a template layer always on top, with 'DELETE THIS LAYER' and screenshot of layers pallette and clear little red arrows etc. If I can the template layer to always remain on top, with their artwork layer underneath, they would have to toggle hide/unhide to view their artwork, and the reminder to remove the guide layer would be pretty much in their face. That's not a guarantee either though.
Personally, I think what I've been asked to achieve is a pretty hard task and honestly, I'm thinking there are no failsafe options.
Thank you for taking the time to read and maybe ponder a solution to this issue. Thank you Mike for your suggestions. Thankfully, I have managed to work out my own perfect solution to this problem.