What we have to check before handing in a project
We all want our projects to be printed out exactly as we see them on our screens. However, many times, the printouts are far from what we have expected, without it always being the printers’ fault. In any case, we should first be able to protect our project. Before sending our projects out to be printed, we should follow some basic rules and proof-check the result.
- Our file must be the size we want the printout to be cut into and also have a circumferential 0.5cm bleed edge.
- All pictures used must be CMYK and into the correct profile (ISO coated_v2) (see colour management http://offsetvsgraphicdesign.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post.html)
- The PDF must be exported based on the ISO standards (see PDF export http://offsetvsgraphicdesign.blogspot.com/2011/06/pdf-so.html)
- If we use a die or spot UV, we adjust it on our file with a spot colour (and not pantone, we create it and name it) and use overprint so we can see where the die will be cut or where the UV will be placed. Pay attention to the overprint, otherwise there will be white traces left on the design.
- We should print the PDF we created in the final size and proof-check it. Especially if we have a cutter, we should cut it into the final size and check the result. It is common that projects looking right on screen may have problems when we see them printed. We should never hand in a cut-out unless we have first proof-checked it in its final size and on the paper it will be printed on.
- We open the PDF with Acrobat Professional and go through Advanced à Print Production à Preflight and proof-check it for low definition, wrong fonts or forgotten RGB pictures. (picture 1) We also go through Advanced à Print Production à Output Preview (picture 2) and check the colours we have used, the spots we have used for dies and the UV spots.
Picture 1: Preflight menu
Picture 2: Output Preview Menu
- We hand in the pdf to the printers along with the printout we have checked, so that they can also check the file after it’s ripped.
- We should also see a certified hard proof (which is costly, so we should have included it in the amount we’ll charge the client with) and soft proof.
If we follow all these steps we’ll probably have no problems with the printouts. Of course there are always things we cannot predict, but thankfully they are very few.
Especially the last step (hard and soft proof)
can ensure the quality of our project at a 99% ratio.
Proof-check before sending a file out to be printed