Join William Everhart for an in-depth discussion in this video Gathering your files, part of Illustrator: Package Design.
Now, occasionally, you're going to run into a print professional who will request that you submit your original Adobe Illustrator file for print production. And what they're actually asking for is not only the design file in its original Illustrator format, but also, any supporting files that you may have used. Now, these could include the fonts, and and imagery or graphics that were not created inside of Illustrator. Now throughout your design process, you may have switched out several fonts and/or images until you come up with the design that you were after.
And so you've got a lot of unnecessary files in your folder here. So, you don't want to send those. It's only going to confuse things and make more work for the printer. So how do you gather up only the supporting files necessary for the production of your package design? So here I am, back in my design. And let's say that some of this content was not created inside of Illustrator. Maybe it's a photo that was placed in here, or a graphic that was perhaps a JPEG, or some other file format, and it wasn't created here in Illustrator.
In the earlier days of Illustrator, you had to go and manually track down those files. You also had to track down your fonts. Which font did I use? Which version of Helvetica or Times New Roman did I use? And so it was a really big hassle. Well this latest iteration of Adobe Illustrator, the Creative Cloud version, has included a new feature called The Package Feature, that will help you gather up only the files used in the document for print production. So let's have a look at this.
If I have a look in my File menu, and I come on down about three fourths of the way, you'll see that I have this Package option here. So I'm going to choose this. And so it asks me first, what is the location of the final folder. Where is it going to gather all these files up? So it's going to put this in my exercise files folders in the chapter eight folder. But I could direct it somewhere else and then it's going to ask for a folder name, so I'm just going to call this one hplusPrintReady.
Now, some of the options. Do I want to copy any links? Now links are all of those graphics and images that weren't created in Illustrator. It's going to collect them into a separate images folder. And is also going to update that link information, so it is not only taking care of grabbing all these images, its updating the Illustrator file to know to look in this new folder for those images. Now, it's also going to do the same for my fonts.
It's going to copy all of my fonts using the document. It's set for CJK and Typekit fonts. Now, the CJK? Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. So, it can't grab those font types. You're going to have to do that manually. And then finally, it's also going to generate a report. It's going to let me know what it did and where it put everything. So, I think I'm ready to go. I'm going to click the Package button. Now I'm also going to get this warning about sharing fonts. Fonts are software, and they do have a license on them.
But it is a common agreement with most font suppliers that you can share your font for the purpose of professional printing. So, this is just a little heads up on that. I'm going to tell it okay. And it says, hey, I finished packaging this up so let's show the package. So as you can see here, it created this H plus print ready folder. Inside of it, here is my document, my Illustrator file, the little report file, and then the fonts.
Now I did not have any images in this particular document, so there's no images folder. So this is ready to be sent to the printer. Now, if you don't have this latest version of illustrator with this wonderful package feature, don't worry about it a whole lot. There are plug ins out there that will do this for you. And one of those is called Flight Check, and it does exactly what we've done here. It will read through your file, find the fonts, find the images, and package them together for you.
If you don't want to invest in another piece of software, you could always place the native Illustrator file in an InDesign document and use InDesign's package feature. It'll do the same exact thing. The only problem there is that now your printer has to deal with not only an Illustrator file, but also an InDesign file. So I don't know. You're going to have to weigh the options out there. Sending the wrong support files is perhaps the most common and time consuming error a designer can make.
Now fortunately, the later versions of Adobe Illustrator and some third party applications can help to ensure you don't make that mistake. The document packaging feature demonstrated here is also very handy when archiving or backing up your work. It compiles only the files used in your document into a folder that you can store anywhere you like. If you ever need to edit your design in the future, you can be confident that you have all the files necessary to do so.
- Choosing a package type
- Determining package size
- Examining design considerations
- Creating a mockup
- Laying out your package design
- Creating your own barcode
- Preparing artwork
- Creating a 3D structure
- Incorporating cutting die CAD
- Creating a print-ready PDF