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Artwork Submission

Artwork Submission

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As commercial sheetfed & digital printers, Quality Press require artwork submission to comply with accepted trade standards and technical specifications. Consideration of these requirements will ultimately determine the quality of the end product.

1. Low-resolution images

Images supplied below the recommended 300dpi may appear pixilated in the final print.

2. Artwork set up as RGB as opposed to CYMK

When using RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour space in the files there must be an understanding by the provider how colour management works. If this is not understood then we recommend supplying the files in CMYK (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Black) colour space only. This can be done by supplying files PDF/X-1a files. (see point 3) When supplying RGB files to any prepress provider you must supply the conversion profile (RGB to CMYK). If you do not your prepress provider will use a RGB to CMYK conversion profile. The problem with this is that colour consistency is lost because various conversion profiles are used between various prepress providers, thus control is lost.

3. PDF files not produced through Acrobat Distiller

Designers are strongly encouraged to use Acrobat Distiller with either the preferred PDF/A-3 job setting (refer to 3a) or Press job setting selected to produce high resolution PDF’s.  Many reputable print providers should have available upon request customized job settings for producing press ready PDF files.

3. PDF/X and PDF. What’s the difference?

The standard PDF file created from Distiller using the “Press Ready” job setting creates a PDF file that can contain errors such as missing links, missing fonts, no bleed, no trapping criteria, incorrect file formats and elements which are not printable on press. PDF/X has been specifically created for the printing industry that filters out those listed errors. Using PDF/X ensures you have an error free PDF for print media. PDF/X-1a will not permit RGB elements in your file, while PDF/-3 will allow RGB elements providing a conversion file is embedded or linked. Ask your provider about PDF/X, they should provide information and assist you.

4. PDF/X and PDF. What’s the difference?

Designers opting to send native / layout files will also need to supply relevant links (eg images) and fonts used in that layout to allow for the artwork to be correctly re-established within the prepress department. Most programs such as Quark and Adobe InDesign offer a “Collect for Output” facility, which creates a folder and organizes copies of links, fonts and the layout file in logical sub-folders. Unlike PDF/X files, native files with all their elements usually are quite large in size and must be written to disk rather than uploaded via ftp or email. Because of this we highly recommend you include with the native files a postscript (.ps) of your job. If you have a missing font or element not on CD, more than likely it will be correct in the postscript file. After all this we Highly recommend supply of PDF/X files rather than native files and a host to their links.

5. No Bleed

Designs that require colours to run to trim will need a minimum of 3mm bleed. This is to allow for movement on the guillotine when the print job is cut to trim to size. Failure to include bleed may result in white borders. For the same reason, designers are asked to keep all text and images at least 5mm in from the trim.

6. The correct use for “overprint” and “knockout”

It must be understood that trapping has nothing to do with overprinting or knockout. An element set to overprint will overprint the colour underneath with the colour of that element. An element set to knock out will print that element colour reversed out of the colour underneath. Trapping is the creation of overlapping two or more colours to ensure correct registration on press. When creating files for print media, trapping should be turned off as this should be the responsibility of the printer.

7. Artwork supplied for 4 Colour (CMYK) print requests containing spot colours and vice versa

Make sure all colours are nominated correctly as PMS or CMYK and is relevant to the job you are submitting. Also it is important that the naming convention is correct, ie : if a file contains PMS280, PMS280C, PMS280VC, PMS280U.while on screen this colour looks like a single colour pantone blue 280, it actually contains four spot colours of blue.

8. An appreciation of colour variation between stocks and print runs

Many designers preview electronic proofs on screen and are sometimes disappointed with the final print result achieved. Artwork previewed on an RGB monitor will appear vibrant and unless the monitor is correctly calibrated should not be used as a colour accurate proof.

Designers who are specific about colour are advised to consider PMS / Spot colour printing, however this is often an expensive option and may not be supported by the chosen print supplier.

Whether it be PMS or CMYK a degree of colour variation should be expected from reprint to reprint and between different stocks.
Designers who are colour conscious should discuss their concerns with a printer before compiling artwork.

9. Supplied PDF files with non-embedded fonts

Before creating a PDF file it is important to check that both the screen and print version of the required fonts have been installed and properly uploaded. Failure to do so may  result in offending fonts to convert to (default) courier at the printing stage. Using PDF/X will avoid this problem as distiller will not allow you to generate a PDF file with missing fonts or links.

10. Other considerations include:

  • The difference between rich black and saturated black
  • Bugs and inherent problems specific to the design/layout program
  • Artwork supplied at the correct trim size.