Printing and Purchasing

Posts tagged ‘Design’


Distractions in design come in many forms. One form can be the quality or lack thereof in the printing process. The following photo illustrates one form of distraction because the page crossover doesn’t align. This can be caused from design files that are not properly prepared, layout, trimming, or folding. See the following example.

Cross overs


Today everyone can be a designer. No longer do you need to go to design school and purchase expensive equipment. Today you can purchase software for your personal computer. Whether using Word, PageMaker, InDesign, Publisher or one of the other software options, everyone can design their own forms or brochures.

I reviewed one of these brochures the other day, and the design principles I learned from Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] School of Printing came to mind. Design should be prepared in a way that allows readers to receive the message of the author or the purpose of the advertisement. The design should create an atmosphere that enhances the message, not distract the reader nor should it dominate the message.

There are many ways to distract the reader from the message. Images are used many times in a design, for good reason. We all have read the quote by Napoleon Bonaparte “A picture is worth a thousand words“. When images are sized, however, some designers distort their images to make them fit the design. I believe this shouldn’t be done, for example, if an image is the correct height but not the width. When a designer elongates the image to fit the space, people in the image will look short and exceptionally fat. This distortion will distract the reader from the author’s message. Whether reading a book or sales flyer the design/images are to support the author’s message not distract from it.

Bleeding Edge: Setting up your print design files

If furnished art doesn’t have the necessary bleeds, the printer may choose one of the following options to compensate for the lack of bleed; e.g. enlarge the image, clone the image, or when trimming to under size the printing.

Dreaming in CMYK

Bleed is something the everyday printer finds themselves explaining on nearly a daily basis. Don’t worry – it’s not a safety issue that needs addressed. It’s a print production issue, and there’s a lot you can do to ensure your document is set up for it.


Bleed refers to the area of a design, including colors, images and design elements, that extend beyond the trim line of any given page. This prevents any undesirable white lines, or margins, from appearing on the edge of your page after cutting.

In the print world, it is very common for us to receive files that do not include this bleed area, but have images or design elements that run right up to the edge of the sheet. By not adding the bleed, your final product may have a small white margin that appears along the edge of the piece due to shifting while…

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NewPage Launches Sterling Premium

NewPage Launches Sterling Premium.

3D Printing: A New Dimension for Manufacturing

3D printing has the potential to change manufacturing, like Gutenberg’s press changed duplication.  As you read Theodore F. di Stefano’s article, envision the possible advantages 3 D printing will provide your business.

3D Printing: A New Dimension for Manufacturing.

Should a Printer Receive Source Files?

One of the Linked In groups “Creative Design Pros” had a discussion topic called, “Original Files – to send or not to send?” Source files or Original files are the building blocks of the final design. These source files are the different layers/filters the designer uses to create the design using programs such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Many designers flatten the files, minimizing the file size before sending to the client.

This topic was of particular interest from two different viewpoints, procurement and the printer. To summarize the viewpoints one group of designers believes the client only is paying for final art. They also believe that if the client asks for source or original files they are trying to dump the designer and go to someone cheaper, such as the following quote;

So fine, you want working files at this point you would like to end our working relationship anyway… here is the cost for the working files requested.”

The other view point is to work with the client and give the client what they have paid for, such as the following quote;

“My policy is, once they have paid the contracted/invoiced price set for the project they own the rights and therefore should have the files.”

As a former print production planner I have experienced the extra cost in time, materials, and effort to fix client’s files because they didn’t furnish original or source files. The following are several reasons designers should provide source files.

  1. When clients hire a designer to create/develop design files and flattened files are provided, it’s like purchasing a car without a motor.
  2. From concept to completed files, information within the document may need to be changed. When copy is part of photos and the files are flattened, the job will be delayed waiting for the source files [which will increase the cost of the job to prepare new files] or added costs for the printer to perform magic on your files.
  3. Many times designers haven’t properly prepared the furnished files for printing. Some of the issues are:
    1. Bleeds within the document weren’t ideal or non-existent
    2. Images that were not trapping properly
    3. Copy to close to the trim
    4. Page or panel sizes not built to the correct size
    5. Type alignment issues
    6. Glue tabs or pocket folders not built properly
    7. Shadows built in four color instead of black
    8. Low resolution images
    9. Imbedded fonts
    10. Files were not built consistently
    11. Color-corrected images needing to replace print file image

These are a several examples why the printer needs source files.

As procurement professionals, our job is to purchase the best product/job at the lowest total cost for our client. Knowing that no one is perfect, and some designers don’t know how to properly build press ready files, for purchasing not to request source files would be doing the client/company a disservice.

If you are in procurement or marketing and need print files, always ask your designer to provide source files, proof [phaser], folding dummy and a final PDF. The source files allow the printer to make changes or corrections easily. The proof provides a physical view. The folding dummy confirms what pages back each other up, and how the piece folds. The final PDF will illustrate how the source files will print and easy to electronically send to the printer. Problems happen in printing, such as type breaking differently from the designer because the printer may be using a different version of software for example. Before securing a designer, read the designer’s contract and ask for modifications as needed.

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