Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Preparing your job for the printer

From: Print Production Essentials: Packaging

Video: Preparing your job for the printer

When you're finished designing your package, it's time to send it to the printer. So of course you want to make sure that you've followed the printer's specifications. You certainly want to make sure that you've provided adequate bleed. You may find that especially on a large carton, you need to provide actually larger than your old standard eighth of an inch bleed, so double check and make sure you've given enough bleed. And here's something you don't usually do when you submit a print job to a printer. You want to turn your text to outlines. Now the reason for that is a carton might be holding a product that's going to be distributed around the world, so you don't really know for sure where that's going to be printed.

Preparing your job for the printer

When you're finished designing your package, it's time to send it to the printer. So of course you want to make sure that you've followed the printer's specifications. You certainly want to make sure that you've provided adequate bleed. You may find that especially on a large carton, you need to provide actually larger than your old standard eighth of an inch bleed, so double check and make sure you've given enough bleed. And here's something you don't usually do when you submit a print job to a printer. You want to turn your text to outlines. Now the reason for that is a carton might be holding a product that's going to be distributed around the world, so you don't really know for sure where that's going to be printed.

So if you're a designer in the US, your file may actually be sent out of the country in order to be printed. Of course, you want to check the printer's specs. But just don't be surprised if they ask you to outline the text. So I'm going to jump to Illustrator and show you how to do that. So here I am in Illustrator. And I have my text on a stand-alone layer, just to make it a little bit easier to select. So in the Layers panel, I can just click that little target circle, and it should select both of my blocks of text. And you can see that, right now, they're live text.

To convert to outlines, I just go to Type and Create Outlines. And, you can tell it looks a little clumpier, so one other way that you can tell is to go to View and Outline, and you can see how it looks. You can zoom in, and see the little outlines of the letters. Of course, before you do this, you want to run Spell Check. You want to make sure that everything's as it should be, because you can't change your spelling after you've converted to outlines. And that's also a good reason to make sure that you keep a backup file. So keep an original file that still has your live text.

And then have this be a separate file that has your outline text. You want to make sure that you use the correct color space, which is usually CMYK. Even though we're using color management more and more in printing, and it's okay occasionally to send RGB if the printer's says it is. Again, we're trying to make this file utterly portable; so usually you're going to use CMYK. That doesn't mean that you can't use spot colors, but again, you're going to take a look at that printer's specs and make sure you know how this is supposed to be supplied. And you also want to save to the correct version and format.

You may be asked to save to an older version. So for example, if you're using Illustrator CC, you may need to save back to Illustrator CS6. Again, you need to hand the printer what they can use, and you're going to take a look at their specs and see what they allow. You may also be asked to submit an EPS file. Usually it's going to be a native AI file, but make sure you know what they want. It's a good idea in general, but it's particularly helpful if you do this when you have a packaging file. You want to sort of clean house. Streamline your swatches.

Make sure you don't have any that you don't need. Here I am in Illustrator and I'm going to take a look at my swatches. I have plenty of swatches. They wouldn't really hurt anything if I have extra ones, but it makes a lot easier for the person at the printer to understand what's going on if you get rid of the ones that you don't need. So here I'm going to to go my Panel menu. And I'm going to choose Select All Unused, hit the little trash can, and this is sort of funny. Even though you know it's unused, Illustrator knows it's unused, it's very polite. It says are you sure want to delete the swatch selection? Yes I do, so I click Yes.

Doesn't change anything about my artwork, but I have a much simpler selection in my Swatches panel now. And here's a tip: always make sure that your swatches are global swatches. It kind of bugs me that when you create a swatch in Illustrator, it doesn't by default become a global swatch. Here's why global swatches are important. In Illustrator, you might notice that all my little swatches have little white corners except for a few, so this one doesn't and this one doesn't. What does that mean? Well, that little white corner means that it's a global swatch, and the little white corner with a spot in it means that it's a spot color, so here's why global swatches are important.

If I select this large shape, this is actually the background color, it's the main color that's used in the document, and you'll notice in my Swatches panel, it is a live swatch. But it doesn't have that little tell tale white corner. Why do I care if it's not a global swatch? Here's why. If I were to edit this swatch, if I double click it. And I check Preview and I do something pretty abrupt like change it to red, that object doesn't respond. So if you keep this a global swatch you have that sort of remote control. So I'm going to select this so that this knows I'm talking to it.

Now I'm going to edit that swatch and I'm going to make sure that it's a global swatch. And this'll just show you how global swatches are better kinds of swatches. So I'm going to click OK. Now I've sort of branded that, and when I double click that swatch now, and keep in mind I don't have that object selected. When I click Preview, now if I make a change to the swatch, it's going to make a change to that object and any other object in that document that's painted with that swatch. So a little advice and this is not packaging specific. But any time you make a swatch make sure it is global.

I kind of wish Illustrator did that on its own. It doesn't, but it's just a little, but very important thing for you to pay attention to. And here's another nice bit of housecleaning for you to do. Delete any unnecessary objects. And what do I mean by unnecessary objects? I mean unpainted objects, anything that's a stray point that really doesn't have anything attached to it, empty text paths. And one nice thing Illustrator makes it really easy for you to do that with the Command > Object > Path > Cleanup. So, I'm going to switch to Illustrator and show you just how easy this is, and what a nice thing it is to do.

If I go into outline mode by going into View and Outline, oh, you've probably seen these little guys. They're like little gnats on your design. These are where I've clicked with the Type tool but then didn't type anything. And that'll happen to all of us. It wouldn't really cause harm, but its just kind of an annoyance. And its just a nice practice to get rid of stuff that you don't need. Everything that gets sent to the imaging device has to get processed, whether its empty or not. So you can simplify things by not sending unnecessary stuff. So, I'm going to leave this in outline mode so you can see how this works.

If I go to Object > Path, there it is. Clean Up and look at that. It will select straight points, unpainted objects and empty text paths. It knows that this is a common problem, so when I click OK, that's it. No flash or bang, no confirmation, it just gets rid of all that extra junk. So there was some little extra shapes that had no fill and no stroke. There were some little empty text pads and good old Illustrator got rid of all of that for me, so now I have a much cleaner file that I can send to the printer.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Print Production Essentials: Packaging
Print Production Essentials: Packaging

31 video lessons · 4160 viewers

Claudia McCue
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Print Production Essentials: Packaging.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.