Prepress Checklist: How to prepare your design for print

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The best way to create the perfect brochure, poster or business card is for a designer and their client to work together. Both parties should be involved in each step of the project, from idea generation to printing. Often times, unfortunately, one or both of them assume that prepress and printing should be handled exclusively by the technicians at a print shop.


This is a mistake!

The danger of having someone without a design background make modifications to your file is that it can result in unwanted design modifications that undermine the overall effect of the intended layout. If you want to ensure nothing gets lost in translation between your desktop and the print shop, conducting your own step-by-step prepress examination of your design files can save you time and a batch of headaches. It can also save you a ton of money!

Your step-by-step prepress checklist:

Proofread everything
Check font spacing
Confirm image size and resolution
Ensure color accuracy 
Calibrate your screens
Define bleed and crop marks
Take care of imposition
Create a high-resolution PDF
Select the perfect paper

According to large-volume print production expert Allen Glazer, 25-75% of a design project’s budget should be set aside for printing costs. If you don’t catch a mistake in prepress, it will be much more costly to fix down the line.

Preparing graphic design files for printing can be quick and easy once you know what elements to look for. To give you the upper hand when it comes time to print, we’ve put together a prepress checklist that covers everything you need to look for when finalizing your proof. It incorporates everything from simple editing to advanced technical procedures. And of course, both designer and client should be involved. Here’s our prepress checklist to help get you started:

1. Proofreed Proofread everything

Small oversights, such as typos and grammatical errors, can be the difference between closing a sale and a customer…


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About the Author: V. Moss