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Working with PDF's, Tips & Things to avoid

Graphics applications can be quite advanced and software is updated more frequently than ever before. In many cases new software may contain features that may not be compatible with other software used in the processing of your artwork. These tips are based on daily experiences in our studio and any new information not covered will be regularly updated.

Here is a list of a few things to avoid...

Hairlines
These are commonly used for the drawing of tick marks. ‘Hairline’ lines are ‘device dependent’. This means they print at different resolutions on different machines. Use a custom line of 0.25pt instead.

Compression
You can use Winzip, Zipit or Stuffit to compress your correctly set-up files for email transfer or to burn to CD/DVD. Never compress images by saving them as a jpeg or by using LZW compression or JPEG encoding. This will only cause the problems outlined above and may result in your file not printing at all.

If you need to send a large file to us, our email typically accepts files from anywhere up to 20mb but we also have an FTP section on our website where you can upload files to and we'll retrieve them, check them, and delete them from the server. Please talk to us about this if you need to.

Trapping - Overprint
Be careful with overprint and other trap settings (especially in QuarkXpress). If you set objects to overprint, they will not ‘knock-out’ the background and will look very different to what you see on screen or a basic proof. Our proofing system will show incorrect trap settings as well as many other potential problems with your files.

For example, Yellow text overprinting a blue solid area will produce green text. Black text is generally set as default to overprint. This produces a better quality of print. (Please refer to your application manual for more information. Or, if you are unsure, call our studio for assistance.)

Adobe Acrobat and InDesign have an 'Overprint Preview' mode if you want to double check for things overprinting.

Trapping - Knock-out
Knockout is fine for parts of many print jobs, but a slight misregistration on print can show other colours or white areas if used incorrectly.

For example, light text on a dark background might require a standard +0.144pt trap value to be added to the text when selected so that the light coloured text will spread over the darker fill to produce a better quality of print.

A standard trap value of -0.144pt for darker text on a lighter background will make the lighter colour underprint behind the darker text to produce a better quality of print.

Gradient Fills
These are best avoided, they sometimes have a tendency to show ‘banding’ and can look unprofessional.

An EPS within an EPS
Postscript errors are more frequent when this is done. EPS’s can cause problems in QuarkXpress.

Duotone/RGB Images
These will either print in black and white or with very washed out colours – always convert to CMYK unless it’s setup correctly for a spot colour job.

Website Images & GIF's
Try to avoid downloading website images for your artwork. The resolution is set for optimum viewing on a monitor at 72dpi and in many cases do not print very well on press. Use these images only if you know that the finished print will look professional enough.

more information

Published on: 2011-12-14 12:55:35

Last updated on: 2011-12-14 12:55:35