Pre-Flighting Your Print Files
Most of you have heard the term "preflight."
Usually it refers to an operation your printer performs
upon receipt of your print job files to ensure their accuracy.
If he finds errors at this stage, he can contact you early,
before time is lost and money wasted.
My addition to this simple concept
is the following: Why don't you preflight your files before
sending them to the printer? I'm not suggesting that your
printer shouldn't do this, too; however, if you preflight
your jobs prior to submission, you can significantly reduce
the chance of errors. This can eliminate the need to retrieve
your disk from the printer in the middle of the process,
quickly make corrections, and return the disk, hoping the
job will still be on time.
If you choose to do this, what are
your options? There are a few software packages available
that preflight files, but one in particular that reviews
files in both the native application (like Quark, PageMaker,
or InDesign) and PDF format is Markzware FlightCheck Professional,
which retails for slightly more than $400.00. FlightCheck
can also check Illustrator and Photoshop files.
If you take this route, what kinds
of errors will a preflight program flag? It will warn you
of incorrect color spaces, poor resolution, missing fonts,
graphic incompatibilities, and faulty PDFs. After checking
these, and other, parameters, a preflight program will produce
a list of problems that must be resolved before you can
hand off accurate, problem-free files to your printer.
Many of you design your projects on
a Macintosh. Others design your projects on a PC. In either
case, it would be wise to check with Markzware to ensure
that your specific hardware configuration and the current
version of your applications, operating system, etc., are
compatible with FlightCheck.
Designers looking for good value should
also be aware of a recent agreement between the owner of
Markzware and the owner of Printing Industry Exchange. If
you log onto the PIE website home page, you can access Markzware's
preflight software through "Jobs2Print." Once
you do this, you can scan and preflight your files to make
sure they are error-free prior to submission. According
to the PIE website, this service scans for "RGB colors
used, spot colors used, JPEG compressed images, missing
images, image resolution less than 266, non-default trapping,
missing printer fonts, missing screen fonts, TrueType fonts
used, stylized fonts used, hairlines included, and clipping
After checking your job, Jobs2Print
allows you to collect and compress your files and then FTP
them to your printer. This is an incredibly useful service,
offered to you for free.
Spot UV Coating
Most of the time you will use varnish,
aqueous coating, UV coating, or liquid laminate as a "flood"
coating to protect and/or give a gloss (or dull) finish
to your book covers. However, some printers can actually
take the super high-gloss of UV coating and place it in
a limited area, in much the same way as you might use a
spot coating of varnish to enhance a photo and make it pop
off the sheet. Using UV coating in a spot rather than flood
application can go way beyond the clarity and gloss of a
varnish, emphasizing a single element of the photo's composition
and providing a dramatic effect.
Need a Gloss Ink?
Do you need a gloss ink but don't
want to pay for an additional press unit for varnish? You
have an option. You can have your printer mix varnish with
your PMS ink, thereby adding a gloss sheen without adding
the cost of a separate ink.
[Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.]