O’Day Printing FAQ's

What is the optimal image resolution for printing?

What is a duotone image?

What application should I use to create my print job?

Why should I use a page layout program instead of Illustrator to create business card files?

What artwork formats are best to use in my file?

How can I make sure I’m sending you everything you need to print my file?

What is trapping and do I need to set this in my file?

What is a bleed and how do I create one?

Should I send my document to you as printer spreads or single pages?

Can I just send you a PDF?

Can you help me???


What is the optimal image resolution for printing?

Too low of an image resolution will result in an image that appears blurred or pixelated.

Scan resolution is measured in pixels-per-inch (PPI). Follow this scanning formula to determine the appropriate scan resolution that will yield the optimum reproduction of a photograph: 2 x line screen x final size % = resolution.

Depending on the project, we print anywhere from a 133 line screen to a 200 line screen. The optimal image resolution is 300-400 ppi at the largest physical viewing size at which it's being used in your document.


What is a duotone image?

A duotone is a two-color halftone reproduction of a grayscale photograph. Duotones, tritones (three-color) and quadtones (four-color) are done to achieve a greater tonal range or to create a special effect. These can be created in Photoshop by opening a grayscale image, changing the color mode to Duotone, Tritone, or Quadtone, and selecting the colors desired for each channel or plate. Always adjust the curve for each color to achieve the best possible combination of color and contrast. Also, it is important make your printer aware of any multiple-tone images used in your print job to ensure that the colors are printed at the appropriate angles. Screened images using two or more inks should be printed at angles 30° apart to avoid an undesirable moire pattern. The printer will take care of setting the proper angles as long as you notify them you are using these multiple-tone images.


What application should I use to create my print job?

There are two widely-accepted page layout programs for creating print documents: Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress. You can create artwork in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Macromedia Freehand and import it into either of these programs.

Adobe Photoshop is the best used for scans, pictures, or custom artwork. Be sure to scan or create artwork with at least 300-400 ppi at the largest viewing size it will be used in your document.

Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia Freehand are the best tools for creating vector art to import into InDesign or QuarkXpress. Some jobs are created entirely in Illustrator or Freehand. This is acceptable, although not preferred. If images are imported into these programs the file size can increase tremendously.

Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Excel, Print Shop, Microsoft Works, Claris Works, and any other design application that is not a professional graphics application should NEVER be used for creating artwork to be printed professionally. These programs are designed for creating documents to be printed on your home or office printer.


Why should I use a page layout program instead of Illustrator to create business card files?

Adobe Illustrator is a great program and you can create your business card files using this application. However, if you are going to create multiple cards with common artwork and different employee information, you can create the cards with a more consistent look using Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress by using Master pages. It can save you and us a lot of extra time and effort. If you aren't sure how to do that, just give Nancy a call and ask for instructions. She'll be glad to help!


What artwork formats are best to use in my file?

Vector art is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and polygons to represent images in computer graphics. Vector art is created in applications such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Adobe InDesign, and QuarkXpress. (Artwork imported into these applications may or may not be vector art.) Vector artwork is totally scalable up or down without losing any clarity of the artwork and is generally preferrable to bitmap art for logos or text.

Bitmap or raster graphics is the representation of images as a collection of pixels (dots). Digital photos and other images created or scanned in Adobe Photoshop are bitmap format. arthas limitations on being enlarged from its original size. A 3” x 5” image with 300 dpi resolution becomes only 150 dpi when scaled up to 6” x 10” size, which is too low of a resolution for printing.

Files with the extension ".ai" are typically vector art (unless they have other graphic elements embedded into them). Files with ".eps" extensions could be either vector or bitmap, and files with ".jpg," ".tif," ".gif," ".psd," and ".png" are typically bitmap format.

A good rule of thumb is always to create type as vector art so it will print as crisp and readable as possible. Logos are also best created as vector art since they are often used at various sizes.

We often receive files in JPEG format (with ".jpg" extension) because this format is typically a small file size and can be easily attached to email. This format can sometimes be used but is not the preferred format for bitmap images because it is a "lossy" compression format. This means that in the process of the file being saved in this format it was compressed byactually deleting some of the data.


How can I make sure I’m sending you everything you need to print my file?

Both QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign have features built-in to help you collect all the files you need to send us. In QuarkXpress there is a “Collect for Output” feature under “File” in the top pull-down menu. Using this feature, you can have QuarkXpress collect all the fonts and linked graphics used in the document. InDesign has a similar feature under “File” in its pull-down menu called “Package.” When “collecting” or “packaging,” be sure to have all graphics linked and all fonts activated.

If you are using a different application to create your file and it does not have a feature to collect fonts and graphics, you will need to manually collect them.

What is trapping and do I need to set this in my file?

Because paper stretches and vibrates as it moves through a printing press, it is necessary to slightly overlap the edges of two or more abutting colors so that gaps between the colors do not appear. This process is called trapping. Trapping can be achieved by spreading or choking one of the colors that need trap. A spread traps a light foreground element to a dark background. A choke traps a light background to a dark foreground element. Because the darker of the two colors defines the visible edge of the graphic element or text, spreading the lighter color0 into the darker color maintains the visible edge. Manual traps rarely need to be created these days because prepress systems, like O’day Printing has, can be set to automatically create traps as it rips the file. Be sure to let us know if you have a specific concern about trapping on your job.


What is a bleed and how do I create one?

Printing a graphic element to the trim edge of a printed piece requires first creating a bleed. A bleed extends beyond the live area of a printed piece on one, two, three or all four sides of the piece. Bleeds are done to compensate for inaccuracies in trimming. If a bleed is not included where one is needed, the results are printed elements that do not completely reach the edge of the trimmed piece unless it is undertrimmed.

To create a bleed on your document in InDesign, QuarkXpress, or Illustrator, first make your document size the same as the actual trim size. Then, wherever the artwork meets the trim edge of the document, extend that artwork 1/4” beyond the trim edge. If you are creating a PDF file from this document to send us for output, allow 1/4” bleed on your PDF file, and please include the native files to us just in case we need them.


Should I send my document to you as printer spreads or single pages?

Single pages are much preferred to printer spreads. We use imposition software to impose the pages of a multiple page document. If these pages are already created as printer spreads, the pages have to be broken back into single pages for us to impose properly.

Some designers like to put the back cover on page one and the front cover on page two as facing pages, but the rest of the document is in reader spreads rather than printer spreads. This creates an imposition problem as well. Be sure that, unless you have the cover in a separate document, page one of your document is the front cover and the back cover is on the last page of the document.


Can I just send PDF files to you as my print documents?

We would be glad to take your PDF files as long as they are prepared properly. Common problems with improperly created PDF files are:

  • Fonts are not embedded.
  • Images were not converted to proper color mode (i.e., RGB instead of CMYK) prior to creation of the PDF file.
  • The document requires a bleed area yet the PDF does not include any bleed.
  • Editability may be limited. We do have software that allows us to make some changes to PDF files, however sometimes the changes needed may require access to the native file. It’s always a good idea to include the native files (original document with graphic links and fonts) with any PDF file you send us.


Can you help me???

I
f you have any questions about any of these issues, or if you just have a question about how to accomplish something in one of the software applications, please don't hestitate to give Nancy a call at 480-947-7757.


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