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Print Ready Parade and Preparation

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You brainstormed until the whiteboards fell of the conference room walls.  At 2:00am, you found a comma missing on page 45 of the file and your designer was kind enough to tweak this at 6am. Rushing to the office, you grab a cup of coffee and upload your amazing opus so it goes to print.

And while your designs look incredible, are your files ready to be submitted?

Michelle Ward, one of our professional production team members was kind enough to provide some tips, for the marketing folks, such as myself, who in their excitement to wrap a project, may forget the finer details. Here are some items to consider prior to submitting your final artwork to your printing company (Cushing or otherwise).

Fonts should be outlined OR supply them with the artwork

Doesn’t it seem there is a new font showing up online or in printed materials? A quick search turns up all sorts of free website pages offering them and Google even has an online resource. These can be very helpful but not every company or organization actually has them all on file! While there are times that amazing font you found is out on the web, it might be for purchase only. And who knows if the source can be trusted?

If we don’t have the font for your final output, the copy and verbiage will look completely different as applications such as InDesign does its best to understand how you want the text to render. Since the program does not have your specific font, letters, numbers and symbols will literally look different than you intend.

Of course, most companies, 95% of the time can try to make this work (of course, including our team!). TIP: Font files are usually just an email or phone call away (typically your graphic designer.)

Make sure ALL links are embedded in artwork OR supply in the artwork

Have you ever viewed a file without links embedded? Up on a monitor it looks like an abandoned construction site, the foundation is there and there might be a couple of walls up, but that’s it. There is no substance: all the cool photos, infographics and designs you put all your hard work into working on with your graphic designer.

Abandoned Site

If the links are not embedded or supplied with the artwork, your printed piece, collateral etc. literally cannot be display the way you intended. And even if you send a print ready PDF, items can disappear. Links contain whatever your document consists of, including images and interesting elements.

TIP: While there may be a work around, call or email your graphic designer. They should be able to package all of these up when you request print ready files. Ask your designer before moving forward on a project.

Make sure any supplied artwork is in CMYK instead of RGB

Have you ever reviewed at your final proofs on a computer screen, beaming with pride at how amazing and powerful your images and graphics look, only to review a hardcopy proof and wonder what happened? Here is one way to look it:

  • CMYK is a coloring system used specifically for print.
  • RGB is a coloring system used for web-based images.

This point tends to really make an impact when reviewing printed proofs. Chances are, the proof will not look right or ready.

Tomorrow's Lession-CMYK vs RBG!When reviewing files on a computer screen, images are backlit from your monitor. This creates a different look when reviewing proofs and simply not the correct representation of how your print ready files will appear.

CMYK and RGB are completely different color spaces, and should be treated that way.

TIP: Confirm with your designer they are building your file with images, logos or other elements that are designed to be used in print collateral.

Artwork that contains special effects from Illustrator (such as Gaussian Blurs or drop shadows) should be flattened in Photoshop.

When I think of flattening elements prior to submitting artwork, I picture a steamroller working on road construction and putting down new asphalt. You too, right? (OK, this is probably just me.)

Anyway, flattening ensures all the interesting elements you have incorporated are included in the final, print ready file. Once it is flattened, that final file can no longer be edited, ensuring all the intended elements are included when it goes to press.

TIP: Whether on a call or in a formal email request, be sure to request files be flattened prior to accepting from your designer.

No matter if you work with Cushing or other firm, if you have questions prior to submitting files, call your provider! And we have additional tips on our website. They can review files and troubleshoot so that worked so diligently on, looks amazing, as you intended.

Is there anything we missed or need to discuss in the next segment? Let us know in the comments box.

Jon Davis
Jon Davis

Jon Davis is Cushing’s Marketing Manager. From blogging to online communications, Jon writes about general client developments, Cross Media and marketing trends. Originally from New York, Jon and his family reside in Brookfield, Illinois. Click here to see his Google + profile.

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