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Professional Printing Checklist – preparing a digital file for print

Professional printing checklist grpahic by Connection Group

In the age of digital apps, conscious budgeting and google images, small businesses are creating print marketing materials in-house. This isn’t always easy to do, but it can get simpler. Follow this professional printing checklist to prepare a digital file for offset or digital printing.


Professional Printing Checklist – Print File Preparation

  1. proofread it
  2. have someone else proofread it
  3. check with your printer about pricing options
  4. make sure document is created in the correct size (consider proportions)
  5. quote any original text (cite author)
  6. use only photos and graphics you have permission to use
  7. photos and images must be in cmyk format or a specified Pantone ink or black
  8. images must be 300dpi resolution at 100%
  9. Print your file on a desktop printer check color, layout, flow of information
  10. Check the fold. Are copy and images formatted in the panels as intended?
  11. Save the file as a high-resolution print quality pdf (Adobe Acrobat file)
  12. Send to print vendor

(Professional Graphic designers see note below)


Whenever possible it is helpful to receive a physical proof of the document from your print vendor. If an in-person proof is not possible a digital proof from the print vendor helps verify the file transferred as designed.

Talk to you printer if you need help preparing a document. Graphic designers and printers can make adjustments to your layout if you request these services. Layout and design services are based on an hourly service fee. After the initial proof, industry standard is time-based billing for additional editing and proof services.

If all of this sounds greek to you Connection Group and other graphic designs firms can print and design sales sheets, brochures and postcards for you. When hiring a professional design firm  expect expertise in design and print.

Design:

  • professional layout
  • font and color selection.
  • create custom graphics
  • photo art selection with licensed access to stock photography and art

Print

  • recommendations for print cost savings
  • choosing standard paper sizes (for cost savings – unique sizes can be used also)
  • paper weight
  • follow US postal service print regulations for first class and bulk rate mail

Additional Print Preperation Step for Professional Graphic Designers

Along with the above professional printing checklist, there is a couple of extra steps of file preparation for graphic designers who are preparing files for publishing. You already know to choose quality fonts and consider graphical effects,  color theory  and the type of digital art, vector vs raster, which software is the best to use for page layout,  etc.

If you are using Adobe InDesign for preparing page layout files for professional printing projects always package the folder prior to sending the final file to the printer. Choosing package under the file menu in InDesign will create a complete folder for your final document. There will be a copy of all the files, fonts, graphics and photos used in the document nested in this folder. This helps for future retrieval when the document is re-ordered and requires changes.

The other benefit of packaging a file is that InDesign runs a test for pre-press of the entire file. This pre-press test looks for missing fonts, missing graphics and photos, use of  RGB  or other color models in graphics and photos within the document. This pre-test allows you to go in and make edits to the print file elements prior to sending it to the printer vendor. The more work you can do to create a trouble free file, the lower the printer fees, time delays and  the higher quality end product.

Remember to add crop marks, printers marks, trim marks and bleed on your final pdf before sending it off to your printer too. Good luck with your print project, call us if we can help.

Stay connected!

Connection Group is located in mid-Michigan. We love to work face to face with our clients in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and everywhere in Michigan in between. Our digital design and online print service ordering area serve St. Petersburg, Florida to Vancouver, Canada from south to north and New York, New York to Big Bear California east to west. National on-time service paired with genuine small business attention.