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Printing, Printers, & Production

Printing, Printers, & Production

I was thinking about my design process and came to realize that not only do you think of: target markets, branding, the message you’re communicating ñ along with determining how to present it creatively and artistically ñ but you also need to think about the end production of the piece. I like to think of it as the skeleton of your finished product.

It is important to understand the limitations of the technology you are using, and the technology the printing process.  Young designers who are starting out don’t always have a grasp on what it takes to move the artwork from the computer to the printed page. It’s can be easy to create something beautiful in a page layout program but how will it translate into print? Do you know what steps your printer will need to take to make it look as you imagined?  For instance, when making a two color piece transparencies made in Photoshop and then brought into InDesign may automatically change your piece into a 4 color build. It is important to know how to make it work as intended.

When a printer receives your work, they want to open your file and print it, they don’t want to have to dissect it to correct problems.  And why shouldn’t it be that way? You wouldn’t want someone else touching your work and possibly changing something you meticulously and carefully created.

Technology is changing everyday and some things that once required a “work around” are now perfectly doable and acceptable. The best way to find out how to keep your files production ready is to have a good relationship with your printers.  Call them and ask them.  After all they are the ones with the experience and expertise in taking files and turning them into print. Take a trip to the your printer, look around and see how the process works. Go on press checks and understand the limitations of offset printing.

You will find that if you educate yourself on how the process works it will also protect you from not so professional printers pointing fingers when something goes wrong. And of course, if you build your files around a solid production skeleton you’ll avoid headaches in the end.

May 21, 2009
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