The Proof is in the Printing – Our Guide to Preflighting & Proofing

proof_imageNextDayFlyers is now offering free proofs for your brochures, catalogs, postcards, rack cards, and other products. We are providing a proofing service because we want our customers to get the best prints possible and avoid many of the common mistakes that people make when sending files to us. It makes sense for both our company and the customer; less errors means less stress and headaches for the customer and fewer reprints for us.

Our free proof checks are thorough and detailed and give extra peace-of-mind to customers who send their files to print. But before you send your files to us, here’s a preflighting checklist with guides and printing tips to help you ensure print accuracy.

(Note: before you start your design, we strongly advise that you download one of our standard templates, folded templates, or large format templates to ensure correct bleed, resolution, and file set-up)

The Correct Bleed Setting

Your bleed should extend 1/8″ past the page boundary. Adding a bleed alters the total size of your file so that a 6”x9” flyer should actually measure 6.127” x 9.127”. You have to allow for bleed every time you design a document for print. A good tip is to add guides to your document so that you are constantly aware of where your print boundaries are.

pre_flight_crop

Set up document guides 1/8th inch on the outside of your document size

The Correct Resolution, Color Set-up and Color Mode

Unless you’re printing a big banner, large window cling, or something custom in a particularly large format, your resolution should be set to 300dpi.  It is also important to note that cutting, pasting, and resizing files from the internet into your 300dpi document won’t magically turn them into high resolution 300dpi images. You should be using high-resolution images for all your print work to achieve the best results.

CMYK is for print, RGB is for web. This is something you should always be aware of when setting up your files in programs such as Photoshop or exporting files in different formats from Illustrator and InDesign. I don’t recommend it, but some designers prefer to design in RGB profile as it allows for the most flexibility in image editing. However, make sure you flatten and convert these files to CMYK before they are used in the final version you are sending to print.

pre_flight_setting2

Set your color mode as above

Your color profile is something that is often overlooked by designers but is important for optimum color output. It’s also something that you have to adjust in your personal software and is not a transferable setting.  For printing to NextDayFlyers, set up your color settings in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign as “CMYK: U.S. Sheetfed Coated v2”.

pre_flight_setting

Go to Edit>Color Settings in Photoshop and Edit>Assign Profile in Illustrator to change your settings

Crop Layered Files

If you’re uploading layered files such as .psd and .ai files for print, you should remove any extraneous elements from the pasteboard by cropping your image to your full-bleed file size (this is also an essential step when prepping files for exporting in different formats)

Link Embed

When creating multi-page documents in software programs such as InDesign, you will need to either provide all the linked image files in a zipped package of linked documents, or ensure that all your images are embedded within the document. If you don’t include your images with your packaged file when it goes to print, you won’t have any of those linked images in the final work.

pre_flight_setting3

Go to your link menu in InDesign to embed your images

Flatten Your Fonts

With InDesign files, we ask that you include all your font files with your order. When sending Photoshop and Illustrator files, you need to flatten your font layers (before flattening your font layers, make sure you save a version with editable fonts in case you need to edit at a later date.)

Final Checks

These two checks could save you from some awful print nightmares:

  • Check the spelling and grammar of your document. Get someone else to check it, if you’re not a confident speller or you need extra reassurance (note: NextDayFlyers cannot be held responsible for any spelling or grammatical errors – make double-sure you get it right!)
  • Back up your files on your hard drive or other media. It’s easy to forget and it may save you from a world of horror down the road.

File Types

Before uploading or sending to NextDayFlyers for proof or print, here are examples of file types that we accept:

postcardfront.pdf

postcardfront.psd

postcardfront.ai

postcardfront.indd

postcardfront.jpeg

postcardfront.tiff

Get Free Proofing

To make sure that you have all these print requirements covered, send us your file for proofing before you print. The service is free and gives you the comfort of knowing that an expert is looking at your files and making sure that you have optimized them for print production.

Our 15-point pre-press checks include the following:

  • Resolution review
  • Size verification
  • Bleed verification
  • Safety review
  • Human verification of artwork matching the order specs
  • Color mode review – evaluate for major color shift
  • Check for white overprint
  • For orders requiring post-press work: verify scores, die-cuts, folding, and mailing clearance
  • Preflight press ready files and final human inspection
  • Electronic verification of the files submitted to next work area
  • Electronic preflight checks: fonts, vector images, raster images, resolution, and color modes
  • InRip trapping for optimal print registration
  • Human verified order specifications
  • Human inspected order output
  • Human inspected order plating

Contact Us

If you have specific needs such as Pantone matching or you are not sure of how something will print,  you always have the option of speaking to us personally.  Let us know exactly what you want to accomplish with your printed work and we can make sure that everything is correct. Contact us at 800-251-9948 or go to NextDayFlyers.com for online help.

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About ben

Ben Fellowes is a seasoned designer, writer, and marketing expert. He's designed and produced content for some of the worlds top agencies and marketing companies. He's currently working (and getting his fair English skin burned) in Southern California! He loves art, punk rock, horror films, Sci-Fi, comic books, real beer, cooking, eating, laughing, and crying (sometimes!)

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