Pave a Smooth Path For PrePress
"We can translate from RGB to CMYK," Young said, "but it's going to look different when it's printed." An electronic proof compounds the problem, since the customer is seeing monitor color, a distortion of the true color of ink on paper. "It scares me when people aren't choosing to see a hard-copy proof," Green said.
Graphics files are another potential problem. Images must be saved as high-resolution, usually as eps (Encapsulated PostScript) files with outlined fonts. If the graphic file was created in one program, such as Illustrator or PhotoShop, and imported into a page layout program, it is suggested that the client include the original source file so that the printer can tweak it if need be.
The proliferation of digital pictures hasn't caused any format problems, Green said. Midwest can accept jpegs and gifs, but customers need to save them correctly, as a digital camera takes an RGB image.
"We want a 300 dpi CMYK image," Green said. "Doing it as 600 or 1200 dpi is overkill."
Rock 'n' Roll
Navigating the ins and outs of fonts, graphics and file formats is well worth the effort, printers say, especially in these days of I-want-it-yesterday deadlines.
A decade ago, customers' priorities were quality first, then price, then turnaround, Green said. "Now it's flip-flopped. The end-user's producing the job and it's 'Hurry up, we need it for the trade show.'"
But when files are improperly prepared, often in a rush job, deadlines suffer. "While we're correcting, 20 more jobs come in the door and your press time is dedicated to another job while we're on the phone," Green said.
Young noted that submissions "with no glitches" that come in before noon can receive a proof that day, although she suggested customers allow two to three days in prepress and longer for larger projects.