Useful Resources & Information
We want your job to be produced as efficiently and cost effectively as possible so it is vitally important that your artwork is print ready. To that end the following information will provide you with a good understanding of what is needed and therefore reduce the possibility of errors.
The preferred output format is PDF incorporating 3mm bleed, preferably using the ‘Press Quality’ preset.
If using InDesign or Quark, make sure you ‘Package’ or ‘Collect for output’ respectively, to include the images and fonts. Missing images will otherwise print at very low resolution.
The accepted resolution for print is 300ppi.
Image resolution can be confusing – if an image has a high dpi (ppi) content, it may not necessarily mean that the image quality is good. Images that are 72dpi may be resized to 300dpi in Photoshop; however this will not improve the quality of the image.
Resolution however is a useful guide as to the printability of an image, basically the more dots that are available potentially the sharper the image will be in the printed process. Recommended resolutions are:
- 300dpi/ppi for grayscale and colour images
- 600-1200dpi/ppi for line art images
Creating images in excess of these values will not necessarily improve the quality of the printed product, but will considerably increase the size of the PDF created.
If you are in any doubt about the suitability of your image, check the PDF at a size of between 150-200% in Adobe Acrobat. If you are happy with the quality of the image on screen then you may proceed to submission to press.
Please note: Images captured from the internet are generally unsuitable for print due to the lower resolution required to display on screen. We cannot guarantee the quality of artwork created in programmes such as Word and PowerPoint, as they are not desktop publishing programmes.
RGB – Please convert to CMYK
LAB/ICC Colour – Please convert to CMYK
Index Colour – Please convert to CMYK
If you are producing a job out of 4-colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) then all colours in your document including images MUST be converted to CMYK.
CMYK and Pantone Printing
If you require both CMYK and Pantone colours to be printed then ensure that all non-required pantones in your colour palette are converted to CMYK. This will ensure that when the files are processed for printing only the required number of pantone plates will be produced.
Pantone and Transparencies
Care should be taken when using transparent layers over pantone colour spaces. Correct layering procedures within the application should be followed. Generally it is better to ensure that the text based elements are on a separate layer to the graphic elements. This ensures that any undesirable results from flattening vector and bitmap layers will be avoided. It is also essential to ensure that any colours underlying transparencies are correctly converted to CMYK before making the PDF if the product is to be printed in 4 colour.
A minimum of 3mm of bleed is required if you want images to be printed to the very edge of the page.
Please include crop marks.
Please embed the fonts in the output file. You can embed a ‘subset’ of the font or the entire font. If you are unable to embed it due to licensing issues, then convert the text to outlines.
There is a huge variety of fonts available to designers in order to satisfy their layout needs. Holding libraries that contain all these fonts and any variants of a typeface would be an impossible task, and the cost of maintaining such a library would be enormous. The answer is for the designer to embed the fonts within the PDF created from their artwork. This is a legitimate action if the designer has purchased the font in the first place.
Fonts are required to be embedded within a supplied PDF in order to maintain the typographical accuracy of the designer’s artwork. If a font is not embedded then this could lead to illegible or missing characters or words. Our preflight will flag a missing font as an error and will not allow it to pass through the system without intervention. This safety net gives the customer the ability to correct and resupply the file.
In order to avoid any issues when processing files follow these simple recommendations:
- Always set your PDF engine to error when a font cannot be embedded.
- Always embed all fonts.
- Always embed complete fonts, do not subset fonts. This ensures that all font encodings are added to the PDF and if any post PDF editing is required the font is available.
How Do I Embed?
Applications such as InDesign and Quark will automatically embed fonts when using PDFX1a_200x settings. It is a requirement of the PDFX1 protocol to have fonts embedded. If using applications such as Publisher to prepare PDFs ensure that the export options in the PDF setting is set to “include all fonts”.
Another common problem with text is setting white objects to overprint. Because the white of the type is made up from the underlying paper colour and not a printed ink, this overprint white text will result in missing type or objects. Our soft proof systems will highlight this problem, but the designer can readily see this in their PDF by setting their Acrobat preferences to “show overprint”. This will replicate what will be seen on the printed sheet.
Our colour calibrated pre-press studio offers state of the art equipment; operated by knowledgeable, helpful staff who care about producing only the best results for our clients. While we use the latest equipment, we believe in a personal approach too. All files are checked by our operators to ensure the file set up is correct and the risk of error is minimised.
We use industry leading software to profile, calibrate and control our proofing equipment to ensure you receive colour accurate proofs. We will always provide a proof for sign off before we proceed to printing. We offer a range of proofs to suit all needs and budgets:
PDF proofs can be supplied via email, FTP or File transfer. These are ideal, quick proofs allowing you to check content etc.
Digital Book proofs
Our digital book proofs are printed in colour and supplied in booklet form. They are high resolution, give an indication on colour accuracy and as they are supplied in booklet form give a good guide to the pagination, imposition and final appearance of the work. They are great for checking imposition and bleed.
High Resolution Epson proofs
High quality proofs, produced as large flat sheet proofs on equipment calibrated closely to press. These give an accurate guide to the colour we will achieve when printing.
Proofs produced on the actual presses used for the work and on the correct stock for the job. These show exactly how the work will be produced.
As an environmentally aware print company (certified to ISO14001), Zenith Media can offer a range of paper substrates, including FSC stocks, Carbon Balanced, and Recycled grades. Some of the papers we regularly use include:
Gloss Coated Paper
Gloss coated papers have a high shine and a very smooth surface, ideal for producing printed items for promotional work. The finish of the paper gives the ink a high degree of “lift”, giving vibrant colour and definition to printed images in particular. Ink dries well on gloss coated paper, making a seal varnish (to protect the ink from rubbing and marking) less likely to be needed.
Matt Coated Paper
Plain paper which has received a special coating to give a smooth, matt finish. Matt coated papers have no surface shine, and a slightly “toothy” feel, rougher than a gloss coated paper. The images will not have quite such a lift as when printing onto gloss coated paper, however, applying a gloss seal varnish can often improve this. In addition, printing inks do not dry and harden as well on matt coated stocks as on gloss, meaning that use of a seal varnish is recommended to prevent ink rubbing. However, seal varnish is relatively inexpensive
Silk Coated Paper
Plain paper which has received a special coating to give a smooth, silk finish. Silk coated papers have a low surface shine, and are not as toothy feeling as matt coated papers, or as smooth a feel as gloss coated paper – a good compromise between matt and gloss coated paper. Again, inks do not dry or harden as well as on gloss coated papers, and the use of seal varnish is recommended.
Plain paper which is not coated. Uncoated paper is typically rougher feeling than any of the coated stocks. This can be used as an effect when considering a print project. Ink lift is not as strong from uncoated papers as any of the coated ones which means images will not appear as defined as when they are printed onto a coated stock.
Paper recycling processes can use either chemical or mechanical pulp. By mixing with water and applying mechanical action the hydrogen bonds in the paper can be broken and fibres separated again. Most recycled paper contains a proportion of virgin fibre in the interests of quality. Recycled papers can be sourced in Gloss, Matt or Silk coated finishes, as well as uncoated.
FSC Certified Paper
All paper stocks used by Zenith Media are FSC Certified. ‘FSC’ stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. The Forest Stewardship Council sets standards for forest products, independently certifies that these standards have been met, and bestows labels upon the products that qualify. Forest Stewardship Council certification gives customers the option to choose forest products like paper and wood that have been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner. FSC was founded in 1993 in response to concerns about deforestation.
Speciality Papers etc.
We can also use a wide range of specialist paper and substrates that most other printers struggle to print. These include Polypropylene, Vinyl, translucent stocks, metallic foil boards etc. – our sister company, Zenith Print and Packaging use special presses with inline UV drying so can print onto a huge range of substrates.