Production Planning
Before any prepress work begins, notify your printer of your colored paper selection. If needed, provide a sample. Be sure to advise your printer of your paper choice before scanning begins. During scanning, ink density compensations are frequently made for colored papers. Electronic scanning systems typically incorporate accurate color
readings.

Selecting Ink
Keep in mind that all ink colors, even opaques, are altered by the shade of the paper, especially the deep accents. To compensate, pick more intense ink colors than you would normally choose for white stock.

Decide on the color of the paper. Create ways that the sheet can become part of the image.

Proofing
Preview the effect you're likely to see by using a color copier or printer to simulate ink colors on the actual stock. Proof ink colors on the actual stock if possible. Most designers rely on draw-downs from the printer to check match colors. Spot proofs, such as Cromalin or Matchprint, are the most common means to check four-color process.

Keep in mind that darker papers are less reflective than lighter ones. Opaque inks tend to provide the best color match, although transparent inks are sometimes selected for visual effect.

Lay down opaque white ink before drytrapping other colors to lighten the surface. Metallics and pearlescents, considered the most opaque of all printing inks, also reflect well off of dark-toned papers and are frequently chosen for this reason.

Consider the use of such off-line techniques as foil or a tip-on if your goal is to completely mask out the paper color in one area.

Printing
Remember that soft, textural papers require more dot compensation than hard, smooth sheets. On press, halftone dots tend to spread or "gain" in size to varying degrees on uncoated papers. Separators compensate by "pinching back"or reducing the size of dots during film preparation. Most separators and printers have worked out compensation ratios appropriate to their equipment and capabilities.

Printers usually determine the screen ruling according to what will give them optimum reproduction quality on their press. A 150-line screen is considered standard, but some printers prefer a 175-line screen to achieve a more continuous tone effect.




Embossing

Types of Embossing
· Embossing pushes the paper surface forward, causing a raised image.

· Debossing is done using the same process but the surface is depressed. The following types apply to both embossing and debossing.

· A “blind emboss” is an embossed image that is not stamped over a printed image or with a foil. The color of the image is the same as the paper.

· A “registered emboss” is an embossed image that exactly registers to a printed or foil stamped image.

· A “combo emboss” refers to an embossed image that is also foil-stamped.

Preparing Artwork
· Provide camera-ready black-and-white line art with sharp definition.

· For sculptured or multi-level dies, provide the die-maker with color-coded overlays indicating levels, dimensions and types of edges.

· If the emboss is to register to four-color, provide the die-maker with a sample of the printed sheet or the dominant negative.

· Select a paper with ample bulk, suppleness and strength to allow for maximum relief and sharp details.

· Space type out slightly to allow room for beveling.

· Avoid small type, rules thinner than two points, type with pointed serifs and tight groupings of small elements.

· Keep design away from the edge of the sheet to prevent puckers and wrinkles.

Proofing
· Ask for a proof on the actual paper stock.

· Look for sharp well-defined edges and make sure there are no shadows.

· Hold the paper up to a light and check for pinholes and ruptures.

Printing
· When combined with other printing processes, embossing should be done last to avoid flattening the image.


Blueline/Chromalin Proof
· Are all of the pages there, and in the correct sequence?

· Do headers, footers, and folios line up?

· Do borders and rules that cross over pages align properly?

· Are there typographical errors in the headlines or callouts?

· Are all elements in correct register?

· Have live image areas been masked over or trimmed out?

· Are photos correctly placed, scaled, and cropped? Have they been flopped?

· Have critical color areas been accurately matched?

· Are there blemishes, spots or broken letters?

· Have all corrections from the previous proof been made, and made correctly?

· Verify that spot varnish or coating is being applied if it was requested.

· Is the job trimmed to the correct size and properly folded?

· Are all perfs, scores, glue spots, etc. correctly indicated?

· Confirm paper stock, quantity and type of binding.

· Finalize delivery instructions: place and date.

· Remember . . . when you sign off and date a blueline, the printer will only make corrections you have noted.

Press Checks
Press checks are optional and depend on the complexity of your job. Always discuss a printer’s policy on press checks at the time of quotation.

· Scan the entire sheet first. Match against prepress proof.

· Verify paper stock.

· Verify that all copy and photos are in place and that all corrections from previous proofs have been made.

· Verify register. Examine the copy and check crossovers. Are there any mechanical errors? Is the size correct?

· Check register by looking for dots that may be hanging at the edge of a four-color photo. Are varnishes in register? Matte or gloss?

· Check overall color: neutral colors, memory colors, and contrast range against color (prepress) proof. Remember to use the correct lighting conditions.

· Look for hickies, ghosting, scumming, roller marks, broken type/rules, pinholes and other flaws.

· Check rule-up for correct fold, trim, and alignment of the die cuts.

· Number each check sheet. Sign, date, and note time on the final OK'd sheet.
· Confirm shipping instructions and delivery dates.
· Discuss binding and finishing to anticipate any problems or delays.
· Bring several OK'd sheets back with you.

Utilize the experience of the pressman and production manager for color shift options. Concentrate on the critical areas of color like flesh tones. Keep in mind that the color on press may never exactly match the color proof. Your goal should be to make the images look as good as possible.

File Preparation
· Choose software programs that are designed for Desktop Publishing. Make sure the programs will meet the needs of high-end imaging devices and support established standards for typography, photo-editing and drawing. Make sure the programs you choose can:

  • Save images in the TIFF or EPS file formats
  • Convert Pantone colors to their CMYK equivalents
  • Output PostScript code
  • Output individual plates for each color you choose to print
  • Output bleeds, crop marks, page and plate information beyond the pages’ boundaries

· Choose which fonts you wish to use and, whenever possible, use Adobe Type 1 fonts. Keep a list of the fonts used in the document and in the artwork you used to create support files for the document.

· Establish which colors you will be using to print the piece. Determine if they are to be Pantone colors, Process tints or a combination of both Pantone and Process colors. Make sure to use only those colors when creating artwork for the document. Be careful to insure the color names match word-for-word when importing art from application to application. Avoid: Color palettes that do not conform with the commercial printing process. This includes software programs that have vaguely named colors like “sky blue” or “olive green.”

· Keep all file names brief and obvious. Never rename support files after placing them in the page layout.

· Use the features of your page layout or graphics programs that allow you to numerically align objects that butt together. This is especially important for trapping colors.

· Maintain a list of all original artwork that you used while creating a piece.

· Create pages based on the exact size of the output, then determine the size of the finished piece. Make sure all panels and folds are accurate and clearly marked.

· Make a separate folder for each job and keep all page layout and support art in that folder.

Remember . . .

Fonts
Fonts are art elements for all practical purposes. Adobe
Type 1 fonts are the industry-accepted standard for PostScript output. TrueType and other forms of fonts frequently will halt or complicate output.

Colors
The printing process depends on only two color models — CMYK (process colors) and Pantone (spot colors). Please make sure that all colors you are sending are based on these two models only. Images and art using RGB colors have to be converted to one of these models before a file can be imaged.

Page Set Up
Create pages based on the exact size for output.

Bleeds
Pull all colors and images that bleed off the sheet .125” to .25'' beyond the page boundaries.

Resolution of Scans
Make sure that all scanned images are between 225 and 300 dpi when placed at 100% of output.

Preparing Files for Transport
Check and update links prior to sending the disks.
Only send the artwork and page layout files that pertain to the job. Be sure to include the TIFFs and EPSs, the printer and screen fonts used in the artwork and page layout files. Make a folder for the fonts you have used and put both the printer and screen versions in that folder only.

Caution: Some programs have features designed to enlighten you about which fonts are present and loaded. They don’t always find fonts from placed artwork, though.

Include a composite laser print with all color and folding information clearly marked. Make sure to print the lasers after the final revisions are made and before transferring the electronic file to disk. This step will eliminate confusion at the commercial printer.


Prepress Checklist

 Provide a composed printout for all pages for accurate output.

 Provide all fonts, or an additional preflight charge will be applied. Use PostScript fonts, we need both the screen font and printer font for ALL of the fonts that you have used in your file. Avoid using True-Type fonts as they do not print as reliably as PostScript fonts on all systems.

 Provide all external image files (tiff, eps) with a preferred resolution of 300 dpi at 100%. Convert colors from RBG to CMYK or grayscale.

 If you have spot colors in your file and the colors touch, be sure that you have applied the trapping needed.

 If the file will be printed to the edge of the paper, provide 1/8 to 1/4 inch additional image beyond the crops.

 Make sure your printer or prepress house has the software program you are using. REMEMBER: Changes made to your file at the prepress stage can affect the flow of your layout and also add additional costs.