Electronic Printing Guide
Use this guide when you prepare your files for printing. The tips contained here can help you avoid unnecessary costs and delays.
Step One: Creating your files
Software - Use the right tool for the job
BNC-PRINTING supports all major professional publishing software programs. Even if you don’t support major software, you can still send us a file in Postscript format.
Page Size - Letter-size isn’t always the right size
As a rule, you should create your file to the size you want it when printed. When creating a new file, many programs default to the standard 8.5" x 11" page size. If you want your printed document larger or smaller, you should create your page size to match. If, for example, you are creating a newsletter with pages that measure 5.5" x 8.5", simply create your pages at that size, rather than putting them in the middle of an 8.5" x 11" page. Doing this will save you time and money.
Images - Web format vs. Print format
With the popularity of the World Wide Web comes confusion about which formats and requirements are needed for printing images. Printing requires a much higher quality and resolution than necessary for web-based images. Most photos and graphics should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution and should be in CMYK or at least RGB color mode. Lower resolution color modes, such as the .gif format’s Indexed (8-bit) color mode; don’t carry enough color detail to print well.
For the most part, images taken from your web site don’t look as good as those created specifically for printing. If you have any questions or uncertainties about this please call us, we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
If your software gives you the option you should always link your graphics to your publication, rather than embed them. Should there be any problems, embedded images cannot be altered and we will not be able to modify them. This could add expense or delay to your job, or both.
Fonts - Not just a pretty face
Easily the most common problems with electronic files are font-related. Font problems have been known to cause delays, additional labor charges, replacement film costs. They even ruined entire jobs, causing the expense of having to print them over. The good news is that font problems are among the easiest to prevent. The two most common of these problems are missing fonts and stylized fonts.
Always include your fonts with your job. We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Even if you’re just using ‘standard’ typefaces like Times or Arial, you should always include them with your file. There are many different versions of any typeface, as many as there are font companies, and every company’s version is slightly different.
If you don’t include your fonts we’ll try our best to match them to fonts that we have on file, but doing that creates the potential for reflow of your copy, mismatched type elements and other problems. This may cost you delays, increased labor costs and even charges for additional proofs.
Whenever possible, do not create your bold or italic type by highlighting the type and styling the roman face from a style menu or palatte. This can lead to substitution errors and other unpredictable results. If given the choice always use the Bold, Italic, or Bold-Italic versions of your typeface. All of the best typefaces come in ‘Families’ of fonts that include these styles.
Color - How to avoid the blues
Color can add a new dimension to the look and effectiveness of your design but it can also add complexity and confusion. Avoid some of the most common problems by keeping these tips in mind.
Make sure that your colors are defined properly. Use CMYK colors for four color process jobs and Pantone colors for spot color jobs. Do not use RGB colors.
Any time that you use color you’ll need to consider how the job will be Trapped. (Trapping is how we make sure that all of the colors line up, or register, on the press.) If you’re not comfortable doing your own trapping, just let us know — we’re happy to take care of this for you. Just indicate this on the order form.
If you’re creating your own registration or crop marks make sure that you color them “Registration” color so that they print on every separation.
Step Two: Bringing us your job
Order Form - Start your job off right
Filling out our “File Submission Form” is the first step toward getting your job printed. Taking the time to fill out this form completely and accurately helps ensure that your job will run smoothly and quickly.
If we have a question about something you’ve left blank on the form, we may have to call you. While we love to talk to our customers, you may not want to delay your job.
If you have any questions about the form or any of the entries on it, please ask us. We’d be very happy to answer any of your questions.
Laser Proof - Give us something to go on
Providing us with a sample of your job that you’ve printed on your own printer is critically important. It doesn’t matter if this sample is low resolution or in black and white as long as it shows us what your layout and typesetting looks like, it can help prevent costly errors and delays. Without it, we won’t know if there’s been a font substitution or if your type has reflowed, or even if your graphics are printing correctly! It’s also important that your proof reflects the very latest changes to your file.
File transport - Are we compatible?
You can send us your files on 3.5" floppy, SyQuest 44/88, 3.5" optical, Zip, CD, or Jazz. You can also send us files by e-mail or FTP. (See our File Transfer Guide for more information or simply give us a call.) Be sure to include all of your fonts and graphics so that you don’t delay your job.
If you need to compress your files, you can use PKZip, Stuff It, or Compact Pro. If you need to use a commpression utility other than those listed here, please make your compressed files self-extracting.
Step Three: Proofing your job
Proofing Stages - Three chances to get it right
The goal of proofing is to catch any mistakes or problems with your job before it goes to press. These problems can range from typos or misspellings, to color shifts (?) photos or banding in gradients. Proofing is critical. No job can afford to go to press without it. To help keep your costs down, Impactica has created a three stage proofing process.
The first step is the laser proof. Once we have your job we’ll do any manipulation to it that you’ve requested, such as scanning or color correction. Then, we’ll provide you with an initial laser proof, which can be either a black & white or colortial proof very carefully. Because we create the laser proof before we run the film for your job, this is the best, most cost-effective stage to spot problems.
Once the laser proof has been approved we’ll run the film for your job and create a Dylux. The dylux will accurately show you the positioning of photos, pagination, and folding of your job.
Once the dylux is approved we’ll create a Matchprint from your film. The matchprint will tell you what your colors and gradients will look like on the press. If the matchprint meets with your approval we will then create plates and print your job. Our pressmen will refer to the matchprint to ensure that the colors, photos, screens, and gradients in your job print the way you want them to.
In addition to these proofing stages your job may warrant a press check. At a press check you’ll have the opportunity to see your job on the press as it’s being printed. Your account representative can advise you if your job needs a press check.