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 logoGraphcom is a G7™ Master certified 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. Files built with mixed color modes (RGB, CMYK, and spot) that are intended to match 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 file.

 

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.2. 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.

Grand Format

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

Glossary of Terms

When understanding and adhering to standards for submitting files to print, there are a few key terms to consider.

 

Color

  • CMYK – The primary color model for design and print solutions combining cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks or dyes to create full-color photos and art. This is the model used for all process color printing.
  • Pantone – A spot color (named color) system for matching colors used in pre-mixed offset printing inks in addition to the standard CMYK inks. Pantone is also used as a default color communication tool for digital content creation and digital print matching, although all digital printing uses some form of process color printing not formulated printing inks. The color model of the Pantone system exceeds both CMYK and RGB color models and contains colors that cannot be exactly matched in CMYK and RGB. This system is commonly referred to as PMS (Pantone Matching System).
  • RGB – The color model of computer monitors, image scanners, digital photos, and content intended to be displayed on device displays. RGB content is comprised of red, green, and blue pixels and is converted to CMYK for printing. The RGB color model is visually more vibrant and exceeds the printable colors in the CMYK color model.
  • Spot Color – A premixed ink used on an offset printing press to produce a color unattainable with process color printing. Often used to print brand colors.

 

Design/Art Files

  • Native Files – The default file format that an application uses to create or save files.
  • Raster Art/Image – Digital artwork or images composed of horizontal and vertical rows of pixels. Resolution dependent for print and display quality.
  • Resolution
    • Image – The amount of pixels in an image or other raster art. Expressed in PPI (pixels per inch). Image resolution is a factor of image reproduction quality, but not a sole judgment how it will reproduce.
    • Print Devices – (offset press plates and digital printers) The amount of screen dots in a raster image. Expressed in DPI (dots per inch).
  • Technical Ink – A spot color swatch used to indicate position and create a non-color production separation for finishing treatments like coatings, dies, or elements for position only (FPO).
  • Vector Art – Digital artwork drawn with geometric points, lines, and shapes, allowing the art to be scaled or modified without losing quality or resolution.

 

General Printing

  • Aqueous Coating – A water based, transparent finish applied on offset press like an ink. Aqueous coating is available in gloss and silk/satin finishes and can be applied in simple shapes as spot coating or flooded over an entire surface. This is an economical coating often used to protect publication covers from scuffing and smudging. These coatings add a subtle, professionally finished look and feel.
  • Bleed – Extending an image or element beyond the trim edge to prevent leaving thin white margins along the edge of a page trimmed to final size.
  • Crop or Trim Mark – Thin lines at the corners of an image, page, or artwork that indicate where the material should be trimmed after printing. Bleeding elements extend beyond these marks.
  • Debossing – A finishing method using a metal die to press shapes or text into paper or cardstock to create a lowered surface.
  • Die Line – A vector line element of a template that indicates a cut (trim), score (fold), or perforation.
  • Digital Printing – A printing method that sends digital information directly to a printing device to transfer an image to a variety of media. Toner-based digital presses as well as wide, grand, and flatbed inkjet are all forms of digital printing. This printing method is most suitable for low- to medium-volume quantities, oversized, and variable data work.
  • Double Bump (Double Hit) – Applying two layers of ink to provide scuff resistance and color richness. This usually applies to large fields of spot color and will cause a slightly darker or richer color due to extra ink density.
  • DPI – Dots per inch. This is a measurement of printing device resolution. Higher resolutions can achieve higher quality results.
  • Dull Strike-Through – A finishing method employing a dull spot varnish and a flood coat of gloss aqueous coating. The flood of aqueous rolls off of the solvent-based varnish and only sticks to the uncoated areas of the paper sheet creating a dull background with gloss elements (spots) or the opposite if designed in that manner.
  • Dye – A colorant dissolved in liqud, added to textiles or printed materials to achieve a desired color.
  • Embossing – A finishing method using a metal die to press shapes or text into paper or cardstock to create a raised surface.
  • Foil Stamping – A method that uses heat, pressure, metal dies, and foil film to transfer inks or foils onto a document.
  • Hem – Additional material added to the edge of sewn products to fold over and sew a finished edge. Bleed needs to be extended over the hem if printed elements run to the edge of your design.
  • Offset Printing – A printing method that involves transferring an image to a metal plate and onto a rubber blanket, then finally onto the surface of a variety of media. This printing method is most suitable for high-volume quantities.
  • PPI – Pixels per inch. A measurement of digital file resolution. Higher values can produce higher quality results. PPI is often miscommunicated as DPI.
  • Registration – Alignment of ink separations, coatings, and/or other finishing methods to one another. If they align properly, they are “in registration.” Finishes like UV coating or even a die cut can register to printed elements.
  • Scoring – The process of using a metal die to make a crease in paper so it will fold easily.
  • UV Coating – A process of applying a transparent liquid coating to a printed paper surface and immediately curing it with UV light. UV coatings are most commonly applied in a gloss finish, but are also available in dull, textured, raised, and other finishes and special effects. UV coating can be applied to specific elements as spot coating or flooded over an entire surface. UV gloss finish is usually a higher gloss finish than varnish adding an eye catching flare.
  • Varnish – A solvent-based, transparent finish applied on offset press like an ink. Varnish is most commonly available in gloss and dull finishes and can be applied to specific elements as spot coating or flooded over an entire surface. Generally, a varnish finish applies a stronger effect than aqueous coating, but not as pronounced as a UV coating.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This