What Is Prepress?
Prepress is the process of preparing digital files for printing once they’ve been received from a client. We review each electronic file and make the necessary adjustments so that your files perfectly match your desired printing substrate (paper, cardboard, plastic, film, vinyl, etc.).
Our prepress workflow process ensures your projects meet the highest standards by “preflighting” each file.
Preflighting is the process of reviewing design files to identify and correct potential problems such as low-resolution images, colors not being defined correctly, elements that meet the edge of the page have bleeds, and much more.
We evaluate your PDFs or native design files to ensure they meet optimal printing standards for the type of project we’re producing for you.
This includes examining the native design files to ensure there are no missing elements and that the specifications match your order before we output optimized PDF files for printing.
Cutting-edge Adobe Acrobat and Pitstop tools analyze the files and create the workflow PDFs. After preflighting, we correct any small issues or contact the client to discuss solutions to larger issues.
TrueFlow and Equios Preform workflows ensure the very best quality in every printing job. These time-tested software systems are regularly updated to provide the most innovative tools in print reproduction technologies to our customers. For example, TrueFlow utilizes the Adobe Print Engine to deal seamlessly with advanced features such as native transparency in the latest design programs.
The result of our rigorous prepress processes ensure that your files are optimized to earn the best results among your end users.
Preflight & File Preperation
It is always a good idea to do a final spell check and proofreading – things get by the best of us! We recommend printing out a hard copy as well. It is often easier to proof, and it can be sent with the job so that we have a reference for output. And a PDF is a good idea to send with the files as well.
The leading layout programs have utilities built right in to collect or package your files to go. They can also alert you to many potential problems. Before collecting your files, we recommend the following:
- Remove any extra/unused colors from your swatch palettes. Confirm that the remaining colors are what you intended to use, and they are defined properly for the type of print job you are doing.
- All linked graphics are included. Links have not been broken by renaming graphics after they were placed. Graphics files are not nested, for example: a photo placed in an Illustrator eps, then placed in InDesign – the photo will not be collected by the program in this case.
- Line art is scanned at appropriate DPI, we recommend 1200 dpi. Grayscale and color art are scanned at appropriate DPI, we recommend 400 dpi. Check to ensure that the DPI for enlarged or reduced graphics has been accounted for
- There are no ‘hairlines’ or rules less than .25 points in thickness.
- Bleeds have been extended past the page edges at least .125”.
- Check your color separations if possible. This is quite easy with InDesign as it has a Separation Preview palette to let you see what colors are used where. In Quark, you currently must print out your separations to check them or make a PDF that can be viewed as separations in Acrobat.
- Fonts, both screen and printer fonts are supplied for Type 1 postscript fonts.
- TrueType or OpenType fonts are acceptable.
- Bold or Italic text has been created using the font menu and NOT the style menu.
- Colors are clearly and correctly defined for the type of print job you are doing. A common problem is type imported from Word or another text editor that is defined as an RGB ‘black’ or Auto. This text color appears black on screen but actually separates to cmyk as a very dark muddy brown. It is best to make sure black type is exactly that – 100% Black only.
- Images are provided as CMYK for process color printing, B/W images are provided as Grayscale.
- Spot colors are defined as Pantone colors for spot color printing, not process or RGB colors.
- Color concerns, if any, have been discussed with prepress.
R.C. Brayshaw & Company is a certified G7 Master printer. We calibrate our presses and our proofers to the most current G7 specifications and methodology, and our equipment is maintained in top-notch condition to keep us within the G7 standard. For coated print projects, we recommend the use of the GRACol ICC profile with your publishing and image software for converting to CMYK color. For uncoated print projects, we have our own ICC profile that we can provide to install into your system.
On our website, within the customer tools section, you will find our convenient file transfer system, which provides a fast and easy way to upload your files. Simply select your Consultant or Customer Service Representative from the list, fill out the form with your contact details and browse to your file to select it for upload. We do recommend that you compress your file into a single ZIP or Stuffit file for protection and reduction of upload size. When the upload is finished your contact will receive immediate notification that your files have arrived, and you will receive an email with verification that your file was successfully uploaded.
We also provide an FTP server which can be accessed with any standard FTP program, or through many web browsers. Files sent this way MUST be protected during transit, so compress your files in the Stuffit or ZIP format before sending. Please contact us when your upload is completed with the EXACT filename(s) you sent. We allow guest access and can also create separate accounts for users, so contact your customer service representative to receive connection information.
We can also accept WeTransfer or DropBox file transfers as well.
You can rely on us to always support the latest versions of all the preferred design software programs including: the Creative Cloud suite with Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXPress and Microsoft Publisher.
We also work with other applications like Adobe Pagemaker, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Framemaker, Apple Pages, CorelDraw, Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Publisher, and Microsoft Word. If your project is designed in one of the applications, please contact us for tips on preparing these files for commercial printing, or to learn how to create Adobe Acrobat PDF files for output from these programs.
While digital photography has radically changed the landscape for capturing images, occasionally there is still the need to scan traditional originals. We can scan flat originals up to 13 x 18 inches on our large flatbed scanner, as well as smaller originals such as slides and transparencies. Large format originals can be captured photographically with a high resolution digital camera.