File Preparation

GENERAL GUIDELINES

Accepted Files Saved in Native Format – APPLICATIONS:

Adobe Illustrator CS3

Adobe InDesign CS3

Adobe Photoshop CS3

Adobe Acrobat 8.0

Corel Draw X4

QuarkXPress 6.0

Files from unsupported software programs have to be exported and submitted as high resolution TIFF, PDF or EPS. If you are unable to do so, your software program may be not intended for use in a PostScript environment.
Please call us, we will find Solution!

You can send files to our e-mail: orders@smartcolors.com, together with the order form. We do not recommend sending files larger than 10MB by e-mail. Please do so using our FTP.

Collect files, fonts & images into single compressed file: ZIP, RAR (PC) or CIT (Mac).

PAGE LAYOUT FILES
In order to do color separations, files must be created in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker, Corel DRAW, or QuarkXpress. Programs written using a word processor such as Microsoft Word or a desktop publisher such as Microsoft Publisher may require additional work to make them print as you desire. Do NOT prepare your files in Microsoft Power Point or any similar program which was created for screen usage only.

LIVE ART FILES AND SCANNED IMAGES
Don’t forget those embedded art files! Make sure to include all outside linked images and / or illustrations. Or better just embed them in your publication if the program you use allows you to do so.

SCREEN AND PRINTER FONTS

Please take a moment to check all your files for the necessary fonts. IF POSSIBLE, CONVERT FONTS IN OUTLINES / CURVES!

PREVIEW or HARDCOPY
Please provide Preview File (low res JPG) of the LATEST version at 100% of the actual size. If there are multiple pages, please provide as detailed as possible information about page order, paper stock, folding, finishing, etc.; if possible prepare screen “dummy”. Document the number of colors that are needed. Specify any PMS or special colors (other than CMYK). If we output and printed something for you before, and you are just making changes to it, contact us to get the actual file that we output.

PAGE LAYOUT
Single page layouts should be built at trim size with bleeds. DEFINE PAGE SIZE AS A FINISHED SIZE. In case you’re wondering, 11.5” x 17” is the maximum final size for FULL COLOR JOBS and TWO or THREE COLOR JOBS with CLOSE REGISTRATION. A final size of 11” x 17” however, allows for the most efficient use of paper.

Provide the correct panel size for the style of fold you wish to incorporate where a fold is required. The first folded panel on tri-fold brochure should be 1/16" shorter than the other two for text papers and 1/8" for cover? (letter size example below may help you.).

DELETE UNWANTED ELEMENTS. Do not cover up unwanted elements with a white box. The RIP will still process that image.

  
 

 

 

FULL BLEED
When the printed image extends beyond the trim edge of the sheet or page, this is called bleed.
Creating a page that has a full bleed requires that the page be printed on a larger size of paper than required for the finished publication. Full bleeds cannot be accepted for black & white document quantities under 1,000. Extra cost is required to trim the larger sheet of paper to desired finished size. If your page is designed to bleed, be sure to bleed to 1/8” beyond the image area. This will allow plenty of room for trimming and eliminate any of the paper showing at the edge of the page.
KEEP THE SAFETY ZONE - text should be at least 1/8 inside the trim area.

GUTTER - the space between the text and spine of the page
Make sure you to leave a gutter between folded pages. To allow for a quarter-inch margin on each page, the gutter will need to be a half-inch. Margins should be at least 1/4” on all edges of a page.

 

(Please refer to the example below: the outside of the 8.5” x 11” tri-fold brochure)

 

COLOR

Many desktop publishing software programs provide for creating your print communication piece in a choice of color spaces - RGB or CMYK. Your computer monitor uses RGB (Red, Green and Blue), which are the primary colors of light, to display color images. When offset printing presses produce a full color image, they use a four color ink process called CMYK - Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black. CMYK is the format required for a print ready file. If we do a conversion for you from RGB to CMYK, we do a standard value conversion which may or may not yield the result you are looking for. RGB color may look good on your computer screen or desk top printer but may not produce the results you desire in an offset press printed piece. As a result, we make no guarantee that the color you see on your computer monitor or your ink jet or laser color printer will approximate your finished piece printed via the CMYK process on an offset printing press. This is due to the wide variations in color spaces, technologies and calibrations of different display and printing devices.

Use 30% cyan, 30% magenta, 30% yellow and 90% black for large solid black areas. The addition of cyan, magenta and yellow will help achieve a richer black on your finished piece, while the 90% black will avoid gloss ghosting.

! Define PMS colors. Use same colors, in both your graphics and page layout programs.

 


 

IMAGES
Convert all live color bitmap files from RGB to CMYK. When converting RGB images to CMYK in Adobe Photoshop, use medium GCR. For best results, we suggest you limit black ink to 95% coverage and total ink to 340% coverage.

Provide halftone images in EPS or TIFF format. Avoid using PICT files.

Scan line work at 600 dpi (dots per inch) or higher. This will ensure optimum quality.

Provide live color bitmap images at resolutions of 300 dpi. We use screen output at 150 lpi (lines per inch).

Place all scans at 100% size or smaller. Enlargements could compromise quality.

Resize ALL halftone and four color images in PhotoShop or any other image editing program. Resizing in the page layout or draw programs can lead to long imaging (RIP) time (and therefore cost more money).

IMAGE MANIPULATION (i.e. scaling, rotating, or any transformation) should be done in the image editing program. Performing these tasks in the layout program compromises image quality, increases the processing time and may print incorrectly. In addition, you are asking the RIP to process the image twice.

Create blends (or gradients) in Adobe Photoshop adding a “gaussian blur” of radius 2 pixels. This step will help reduce banding.

Avoid saving screening information or transfer functions with Adobe Photoshop images.
FILES READY FOR PRINT

APPLICATION FILES

Be sure to include the fonts you used and linked images when sending your native application file.

Native files allow us the flexibility to make changes if necessary to print your file.

Native files allow us to quickly convert your file to a print ready format including page imposition consistent with the press on which it will be printed.

Native files allow us to quickly make changes requested by you after proof review.

TIFF
Tag Image File Format (TIFF), a widely used format for storing image data. It supports images of all sizes and color depths, as well as numerous types of data compression and color palette implementations.

Save your TIFF images always in CMYK with minimum resolution of 300dpi. If your image contains text use 600 dpi if it's possible. Make sure Black text contains 100% black and it isn't present in other channels (CMY).

PDF
Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files are most frequently used when viewing across different computer platforms and operating systems is required.

Some points to consider when working with a PDF file include:

Distilling a file into a PDF does not guarantee a print ready file and requires Adobe Distiller.

Changes to a PDF can be difficult and time consuming if they can be done at all.

There are many forms of PDF files created by plug-ins and other software that may look fine on your RGB computer monitor but yield a much different result when printing four color process (CMYK) on an offset printing press. Accordingly, if we print from your PDF file, you assume all risk for the resulting color match between the proof and the actual press sheet.

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

 

Supply all printer and screen fonts used in the document. DO NOT use the Quark type effects for bold, outline, and shadow. Instead select the correct font from the menu. Use Photoshop for scaling and rotating live art; avoid doing this in Quark. Delete all unused colors on the Quark palette as well as the predefined base colors of Red, Green, and Blue from the default color palette of master grids. Also delete any colors that you defined, but did not use in the document. All custom or Pantone colors should be defined as spot. NEVER use Quark to create vignettes (blends or gradients). Images placed in picture boxes should be filled with white or black with 0%. Filling the picture box with NONE will result in stair-stepped edges and a degradation of quality. Delete all unnecessary pages, text and pictures boxes, rules, and frames from the document. The Quark document should match the printed sample / JPG preview.

Do not forget about safety zone and bleed. Make your document size equal to trim size. Convert all your embedded or linked images to CMYK.

SCALING IMAGES - If you scale the image after importing it into Illustrator, the effective resolution will change. If you scaled the image up to 200% in Illustrator, then the final resolution will be 150 dpi and considered low resolution.

Confirm the status of all linked images before you submit your files. No image link status should display "Modified" or "Missing".

When submitting an Illustrator EPS or AI convert all text to outlines. All fonts will now be considered vector art. If you do not convert your text to outlines, be sure to send all fonts used in your layout.




Check Adobe Illustrator tips!

Do NOT link images with Alpha channel! Store them inside publication.

When submitting a Corel Draw document, convert text to curves. All fonts will now be considered vector art. If you do not convert your text to curves, be sure to send all fonts used in your layout.



Avoid creating type in PhotoShop. PhotoShop rasterizes type with poor quality. It’s best to import images into your layout program, and then add text there. For jobs that require folding, avoid heavy saturation along folds, the ink will crack in these areas. Clipping paths should have a flatness of 2. GRADIENTS created in PhotoShop produce the best results.

QUICK CHECKLIST

Page size is defined to equal trim size.

Pages that will bleed have a 1/8" bleed.

All images are saved as TIFF or EPS.

All image fields are in CMYK not RGB.

All color images and b/w halftones are saved in 300 dpi at actual size.

For FULL COLOR PROCESS JOB all spot colors are converted to CMYK in layout and all supporting documents.

For TWO or MORE SPOT COLOR JOB layout and all supporting documents are defined as PMS.

All image fields, illustrations, fonts and layouts are included on the disk.

All documents are spell checked.

A b/w or color hard copy or JPG preview of the FINAL FILE.