Print Production Fundamentals
Illustration by John Hersey
Watching:

Communicating with your printer


From:

Print Production Fundamentals

with Claudia McCue

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Video: Communicating with your printer

While your design is very important, communication is the crucial ingredient in the success of any print job. You need to know the capabilities and limitations of the potential printer, and your printer needs to understand your vision of the final printed piece. That's why there are no dumb questions, please don't be afraid to ask. Printers appreciate designers that express curiosity and have concern for a successful job. If you're tackling a project that isn't plain vanilla, if you're using nonstandard inks or you've interesting folds, pick up the phone.
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  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 40s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 55s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 50s
  9. 13m 53s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 24s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 54s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 49s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 9s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 22s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
      58s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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Watch the Online Video Course Print Production Fundamentals
4h 26m Beginner Jun 29, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join author Claudia McCue on a journey that introduces the printing process and reveals the keys to designing a document that prints as well as it looks onscreen. This course takes you on the floors of two commercial print houses (BurdgeCooper and Lithographix), to better understand the life cycle of a print job and observe printing presses in action. Along the way, discover how to better communicate with your printer, choose the correct paper, inks, colors, and fonts for your project, and how to correctly lay out your documents in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. This course is designed to help you and your printer produce a professionally finished print job, whether it's a business card, brochure, or multipage magazine.

lynda.com thanks the BurdgeCooper and Lithographix printing companies for access to their facilities and permission to film on site. Learn more at www.burdgecooper.com and www.lithographix.com.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the importance of contact proofs
  • Handling corrections and alterations
  • Choosing from offset, letterpress, thermographic, or digital printing options
  • Understanding how the inks, colors, and paper interact
  • Building a document at the correct size
  • Folding and trimming
  • Choosing fonts
  • Working in Illustrator with swatches, effects, and more
  • Laying out a document in InDesign
  • Generating a final PDF
  • Troubleshooting print issues
  • Preflighting your print job in Acrobat
  • Submitting files to the printer
Subject:
Design
Software:
Acrobat Illustrator InDesign Photoshop
Author:
Claudia McCue

Communicating with your printer

While your design is very important, communication is the crucial ingredient in the success of any print job. You need to know the capabilities and limitations of the potential printer, and your printer needs to understand your vision of the final printed piece. That's why there are no dumb questions, please don't be afraid to ask. Printers appreciate designers that express curiosity and have concern for a successful job. If you're tackling a project that isn't plain vanilla, if you're using nonstandard inks or you've interesting folds, pick up the phone.

It's your most valuable graphic tool at this stage of the job. Especially, if you've chosen an exotic paper or you require a special finishing start that conversation as early as possible. Speak with the technically knowledgeable customer service rep, describe what you have in mind, create a comp, a dummy if it's a tricky job, and schedule a visit at the printing plant. The CSR may schedule a meeting with representatives of the departments that will touch your job from sales and customer service to electronic prepress and Pressman and binary managers. They are the ones are the best equipped to analyze the needs of your project and advise you on the best ways to create your files.

If the stock requires special handling during the printing or finishing process, they may suggest modifications to your project or perhaps a better behaved stock. Remember that disappointment is all about expectations after all. The more realistic your expectations, the happier you'll be with the results. So here are some of the topics you may need to address. Is your stock going to present any problems? Is it difficult to print large areas of color on it because it's highly absorbent or highly textured? Remember that specialty papers with introduced components, such as flexor fibers, might cause a little problem as those little parts fly loose on press.

Some synthetic stocks may present issues with complicated folds. Colored stock of course is going to affect the appearance of graphics and art but that may be what you've in mind. Offset presses can print up to 12 colors or more if you're going to use a spot colors keep in mind that certain inks require special handling, and you may need to modify your files to allow for this. For instance, reflex blue--which is sort of the navy blue--often requires extra drying time which might mean that other inks can't be printed until that dries. Fluorescence, sometimes require a second pass to get full strength, and some inks are prone to scuffing, so especially, if it's a piece that's going to be mailed you might want to have them applied a coating, that will prevent that scuffing and some metallic inks require special handling.

Digital presses are usually but not always limited to CMYK, some of them now can handle spot colors. Once the piece is printed then folding and finishing take place. Simple folds such as 3-panel brochures are pretty common. Your printer might have a standard template, if they do, use that as your starting point. But if you're going to do something complicated such as packaging or special pieces with little pop-up areas, that's when you want to consult with the binary managers. You might find that you've to modify your design somewhat to accommodate the finishing process.

And if you're going do something like die cutting or embossing keep in mind that those dyes have to be created. And that may require a bit of lead time that might impact your deadline, and you need to make sure that your file is based on the artwork that's going to accomplish that process, the piece it's actually going to serve as the basis for the actual physical die. How far ahead do you need to plan? Keep in mind that press time is scheduled far in advance of the actual printing date. So make sure that you keep up with your deadlines, and you understand what the printer's deadlines are.

If the printing company is going to provide fulfillment, that is storage and shipping services for you, make sure you've make those arrangements far ahead of time. So please remember there really are no stupid questions, don't be embarrassed to ask the printer what they need. They'll be pleased you asked questions, they like having customers who want to do the right thing.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Print Production Fundamentals .


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Q: The exercise files provided aren't working in my version of InDesign (CS4/CS5). What should I use?
A: This course was recorded using InDesign CS6. For InDesign users working with CS4 or CS5, IDML files are provided.
 
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