worked hard to make your print project look as
professional as possible. Now, by choosing a quality
printer and properly preparing your digital files,
your job will be everything you've hoped for.
Here's some basic information about fonts, file
formats, photos, graphics, and general layout
Fonts & Placed Graphics
Our goal is make your job look
great on the press. To do so we need the fonts
and graphics you have utilized in your page layout
program. It is often surprising how many auxiliary
files are needed to print even a simple document.
Without question, the number one cause of printing
errors and production delays is missing graphics
Many times the fonts used in
your document have split personalities. They may
be represented on your hard drive by anywhere
from 2 to 16 or more separate files! If your font
has bold, semi-bold, demi-bold, oblique or light
versions, and italic versions of all those, it
is easy to understand why missing one or two critical
files is a common error. Ultimately, you'll do
yourself a favor by being zealous about font collection.
Include every font used anywhere in any version
in your project -- that's right even that font
you used to make those cool looking comma's must
be included. Otherwise we'll be calling you before
your job is ready, and that's not the way its
meant to be.
We accept jobs from Quark XPress,
Adobe PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia
Freehand, Corel Draw and Adobe Photoshop for either
Macintosh or Windows platforms. But we highly
recommend using CorelDraw
for the pc. Quark and PageMaker files from Macs
work, but often require extra computer time and
close oversight to avoid font and RIP difficulties.
General Layout Tips
All the page layout programs
we support have some common things that should
be checked before sending you r files off into
the big bad world.
Are all linked graphics up to
We all like to get things right the first time,
but often those dynamic graphics and stunning
photos have been modified since the first time
they were placed in your page layout. Make sure
that the most recent versions of all your placed
items are shown as up-to-date in the links control
box (Pagemaker) and the picture usage utility
(Quark XPress). If not, be sure to update them
and double check that the scaling applied to them
within the layout program has not changed. (sometimes
graphics revert to 100% scale when updated).
Be sure to include all of these
graphics when you submit your project.
Are the color definitions consistent?
Spot colors that are used in a graphics program,
such as CorelDraw, Freehand or Illustrator, and
then placed into your page layout must have spot
colors named EXACTLY the same as those used in
your layout program. For instance, "Pantone
320" and "Pantone 320C" will not
separate as the same color, even though they look
the same on-screen.
Does your layout manage folds
and bleeds correctly?
Many jobs contain elements which are intended
to "bleed" across a fold. As a rule,
extend these elements 1/16" into or "across"
the bleed. Extend elements which bleed off the
edge of a page 1/8" past the cut line. While
we strive for perfection, these little extra's
will give our press and finishing operators the
space they need to make sure your project is finished
exactly the way you intended.
Imported (Placed) Photos
Unless otherwise specified, we
output photos with a 150 linescreen. For best
results all photos should have an effective resolution
of 300 dots per inch. For best results, the image
should be scanned at as high a resolution as needed,
merely increasing the resolution in Photoshop
or CorelDraw/Photopaint will not effectively increase
the quality of a photograph when printed.
As a rule, it is best to size
your photographs in Corel PhotoPaint, Photoshop,
or a similar program, to approximately the size
it will be reproduced. For example, having to
reduce an image in Pagemaker to 10% is not a healthy
sign. Similarly, blowing up photos in your page
layout program is easy, too easy. If you have
to enlarge a digital scan more than 125% beware
that quality compromise is occurring. Starting
out with images that are near their reproduction
size reduces the amount of time needed to process
your job and will highlight any images with inadequate
resolution. Unless you purchased and downloaded
a high resolution photo from a stock agency, there
is not a image anywhere in cyberspace fit for
With the proliferation of photos
on the web, the JPEG or .JPG photo compression
scheme is gaining popularity. JPEG saves lots
of room but actually throws away valuable data
in the process. In the high-resolution world of
print, this data loss translates into loss of
image quality on a wholesale scale. Avoid any
scan or photo that has JPEG in its pedigree and
you'll side-step potential disappointment.
Imported (Placed) Graphics
Graphics from Illustrator or
Freehand should be saved in the EPS format prior
to placing them into your page layout program.
In the event that you have mistakenly placed only
a PICT or TIFF version, you will see some quality
loss when you print out your page proofs. Also,
it is helpful if you have checked the "split
complex paths" box in Illustrator and set
the output resolution at 2540 dpi in both Illustrator
and Freehand. (be sure to "Save as..."
after you have applied these settings as the resulting
artwork may not be as easy to manipulate later).
This will ensure that your job will print smoothly
and look its very best.
One of the quickest ways to confuse
an imagesetter is to place a graphic inside another
graphic and then place that graphic in your page
layout program. "Nesting" as it is called,
results in delays and, sometimes, actual output
errors. By avoiding nesting, potential problems
have no where to roost.
Once you are sure that your graphics
in Illustrator or Freehand are ready to go, consider
applying the "Convert Text to Paths"
or "Outline Text" option. By turning
your text into artwork, no font embedding problems
can occur and our imagesetter will sing your praises.
Be sure to update your placed graphics once you
have converted text to paths so the most recent
versions will print trouble-free.
QuarkXPress: Picture boxes containing
TIFF images must not have a background colour
of "none". This automatic close-crop
"feature" does not work properly. Lighter
areas of the image will be cut off using the low-res
screen preview as the "mask", resulting
in unsightly jagged edges. Choose white (or some
other colour) as the background colour. This forces
the mask to extend to the edges of the picture
box. If you want to close-crop an image properly,
add a clipping path to it in Photoshop, save the
file as an EPS and bring it back into your Quark
Corel Draw: Problematic filters
include drop shadows and many of the bitmap "effect"
filters. If you will be creating a document
containing more than one color, drop shadows work
great ias long as you do not put them over another
element (as they turn into cmyk instead of remaining
greyscale). If you need to edit bitmaps
or create special effects use Adobe Photoshop
or Corel PhotoPaint. Save the results as a TIFF
or EPS to be imported back into Corel Draw.
Adobe Illustrator: Avoid using
filters and layers if you intend to have your
files output correctly.