Prepress Resources

When preparing a project for printing perfection, there are several moving parts, checklists, and details to consider. From ensuring all work is created with the proper CMYK or spot colors to meeting all expectations for file formats or sizes, the resources below include tips and tricks to make your print solutions efficient and consistent across all materials.

General

To ensure that Graphcom can provide you with the highest quality print solutions, we ask that you understand and adhere to the following standards and concepts when submitting your files.

 

Color

  1. G7 certification logoGraphcom is a G7® Process Control Master qualified production facility.
  2. All files are converted to the GRACoL2013_CRPC6.icc CMYK color space for production.
  3. Color critical work: Please ensure all color critical work is built consistently with proper CMYK or spot colors. File elements that are intended to color match but built with mixed color modes (RGB, CMYK, and spot), may not convert consistently and may require longer production times and billable production work. This includes native color swatches and settings, as well as those embedded in links.

 

Color: Pantone & Pantone Matching

  1. Please build files with default Pantone Coated (C) or Uncoated (U) spot color swatches for our systems to provide the best color match for each printing process. This allows Graphcom production operators to find and target your intended color usage. Our production systems will convert Pantone spot color to Pantone Bridge process color mixes as specified.
  2. DO NOT alter default Pantone swatch color names.
  3. DO NOT alter the color of Pantone spot color swatches in your design application. This will not alter the Pantone color produced. If your intention is a custom-mixed process color loosely based off of a Pantone color, please alter the name of the swatch and set the swatch to process color.

 

Dies, Scores, Foil, Embossing, Varnish, UV Coatings & Other Technical Inks

  1. Please set all technical inks as spot colors, named similarly to their intended process (i.e. Name a die cut key line: Dieline). Contact your Graphcom Project Manager for a current list of Graphcom’s technical ink names to streamline your production success.
  2. Overprinting: Technical inks are required to have overprint applied. This prevents the ink below from knocking out (disappearing) on your separations.
  3. If appropriately named technical inks are used in your production file, your production PDF can be, and is preferred to be supplied as a single PDF file instead of separate print, dieline, UV coating, etc… PDF files.

 

Resolution

  1. Photo/graphic effective resolutions of 300 PPI are preferred for high-quality printing. Any effective resolution below 150 PPI is subject to additional approval before final production.
  2. Note: Effective resolution is the final resolution after an image (photo or other pixel-based art) has been scaled larger or smaller, not just the file’s native resolution at 100% size.
  3. High-resolution PDF export settings DO NOT make low, effective resolution, images (photo or other pixel-based art) high resolution. These settings only ensure the resolution of high-quality images are not reduced to unacceptable amounts during optimization. Low-resolution content remains low resolution.
  4. In applications such as Quark or Illustrator, set drop shadow and/or effects settings to 300 PPI. (minimum 150 PPI).

 

Native Design Files (Adobe, Quark, Microsoft)

  1. When submitting native design files, please provide a full package with fonts and links.
  2. Fonts are necessary for Photoshop text editing and in current versions of Photoshop; links may be needed if we are required to edit your file.
  3. Please submit fonts used along with Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) to avoid font substitution when output.

Offset and Digital

We ask that you understand and adhere to these additional standards and concepts when submitting your files for offset or digital print production.

 

Color

  1. Files, including graphic links, should be set to the CMYK color space.
  2. Linked photos are acceptable in RGB.
  3. DO NOT use the swatch “Registration” for black.

 

Color: Pantone

  1. Offset print production uses the Pantone Color Bridge system to match Pantone Solid Coated and Uncoated inks to process color.
  2. Your process color job (i.e. 4/4 color) built with Pantone Solid Coated and Uncoated swatches will be converted to Pantone Color Bridge process color formulas for production, except where Pantone Solid color is specified to be used (i.e. 5/4 color).
  3. Digital printing only prints in process color. Pantone spot color is converted to its closest process color match available for the printing method used.
  4. See General section for Pantone swatch usage in your design file.

 

Trim Safety Area

  1. Any text or graphics should be inset a minimum of 0.125” (1/8 inch) from the final trim edge of your design. This is to prevent required text or graphics from being cut off of your final product unintentionally during production.

 

Bleed

  1. Include at least 0.125” (1/8 inch) bleed on all sides.

 

Production-Ready PDF

  1. Offset DO NOT include crop marks, bleed marks, registration marks, or color bars on production-ready PDFs.
  2. Digital – Include crop marks only.
  3. Use PDF/X-4 export Settings for the highest quality output (We suggest the use of Zip compression for image quality).
  4. DO NOT flatten transparency.
  5. It is preferred to have all PDF trim and bleed boxes set correctly in your production-ready PDF. This is accomplished by setting the bleed size in your design application, document setup, before PDF export.
  6. In applications such as Quark or Illustrator, set drop shadow and/or effects settings to 300 PPI (minimum 150 PPI).
  7. Note on postscript output: While it is an older and generally acceptable output method to output/print to postscript and create a PDF with Acrobat Distiller, Graphcom prefers PDF files that are directly output with native transparency (PDF/X-4) to optimize production output. The postscript output method renders difficult to correct PDFs with flattened transparency and many times no defined PDF page boxes. If supplied correctly, these files are accurate and acceptable, but may require longer production times or may not be able to be adjusted and require new files to be submitted if correction is necessary.

Signs

We ask that you understand and adhere to these additional standards and concepts when submitting your files for signage print production.

 

Color: Pantone

  1. Build your design files with Pantone spot color swatches to achieve the best match to that color. Do not convert the swatch to process color.
  2. Digital printing only prints in process color. Pantone spot color is converted to its closest process color match available for the printing method used.
  3. See General section for Pantone swatch usage in your design file.

 

Resolution

  1. Photo/graphic effective resolution as low as 150 PPI can be acceptable depending on viewing distance. Higher resolutions are preferred.

 

Bleed

  1. Include at least 0.25” (1/4 inch) bleed on all sides.
  2. For large banners, please include 1″ of bleed on all sides.

 

Cut Lines/Paths

  1. Set all cut line/paths as a spot color swatch.
  2. Name the swatch “CutContour”.

 

Native Design Files

  1. We prefer receiving native design files for production.
  2. When submitting native design files, please provide a full package with fonts and links.
  3. If submitting native files, please provide a second copy with ALL FONTS CONVERTED TO OUTLINES/PATHS.

 

Production-Ready PDF

  1. DO NOT include crop marks, bleed marks, registration marks, or color bars on production-ready PDFs.
  2. Use “High-Quality Print” export Settings for the highest quality output.
  3. DO NOT flatten transparency.

Fabric (Dye Sublimation) & Grand Format

We ask that you understand and adhere to these additional standards and concepts when submitting your files for fabric dye sublimation or grand format production.

 

Design/Art Files

  1. Utilize vector art (bézier curve/line based art) when possible to allow for high-quality scaling of your design if necessary.
  2. Raster art (Photoshop or other pixel-based art) files should be created at 300 PPI or greater at 100% of final size.
  3. Floors and Props–Art Setup
    1. Please size your artwork to a scale of 1 inch equals 1 foot (1″=1′)

 

Color: Pantone

  1. Build your design files with Pantone spot color swatches to achieve the best match to that color. Do not convert the swatch to process color.
  2. Digital printing only prints in process color. Pantone spot color is converted to its closest process color match available for the printing method used.
  3. See General section for Pantone swatch usage in your design file.

 

Color: Neon

  1. Neon colors are available upon request. Please discuss neon color availability and application with your Graphcom Project Manager.

 

Bleed (Hem)

  1. Include at least 0.5” (1/2 inch) bleed on all sides. Graphcom production will apply additional hem adjustments as needed per product.

 

Native Design Files for Production

  1. We prefer receiving native design files for production including layered, unflattened Photoshop files.
  2. When submitting native design files, please provide a full package with fonts and links.

 

Production-Ready PDF

  1. DO NOT include crop marks, bleed marks, registration marks, or color bars on production-ready PDFs.
  2. Use “High-Quality Print” export Settings for the highest quality output.
  3. DO NOT flatten transparency.

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