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The New Rules for Printing

You don’t get your messages from a beeper, or carry your files on floppies, so stop preparing your print files like you did in the 1990s!

This article appeared in Issue 82 of InDesign Magazine.

At the advent of desktop publishing, way back in the last century, powerful tools were placed in the hands of people who had no experience whatsoever with the actual process of printing. To say that chaos reigned would be an understatement. Suddenly, printers were being given files built by designers who had no concept of spot colors, bleed, resolution, or even cyan.

Printers scrambled to educate neophyte production artists, dictating stringent rules for file submission: No RGB! No JPEGs! No TrueType fonts! Thou shalt submit only TIFFs and EPSs! Thou darest not use Microsoft Word!

But now… Welcome to the 21st century! Times are different, and while many people are still following 20-year-old guidelines, the truth is that many of the old rules have changed (well, not that Word thing). Let’s take a look at some modern approaches that might convince you to change some old habits.

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Claudia McCue

Claudia McCue

Claudia McCue incorporates more than 20 years of traditional and digital prepress production experience in her current incarnation as a consultant, trainer, and author devoted to the graphic arts industry. Claudia's company, Practicalia LLC, provides custom onsite training for a national client base of design firms, printing companies and marketing professionals. She is the author of Real World Print Production With Adobe Creative Cloud (Peachpit Press, 2013), and a frequent presenter at industry conferences. She is also the presenter for several titles, including "Acrobat X: Creating Forms," "Print Production Fundamentals," and "Up & Running With Acrobat XI Pro." When not chained to the computer, she can be found riding her motorcycle on country roads. She swears it’s the cure for writer’s block.
Claudia McCue

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2 Comments on “The New Rules for Printing

  1. Thanks Claudia for this very useful story. I’m teaching to future graphic designers all technical aspects of their job and mainly printing techniques. A big focus is put on how they should prepare their files, according to the output technique used (i.e. offset, silkcreen, xero, inkjet…). I’m always agruing with my some of my fellows teachers that their teaching on old-school bases, (some of them still teach student to resample 280 dpi images to 300 !!!) so, finally, your story will help me reinforce my opinions. Cheers!

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