Resources

Prepress FAQs

Here you'll find answers to common questions our clients ask. Start by selecting one of the links below. If you don’t see what you need – call or contact us online.

  1. How can I utilize Photoshop's new vector type feature? How does it improve my printed piece?
  2. What's the thinnest line I can print?
  3. How do I create a rich black area on my 4-color job?
  4. Is the JPEG format acceptable for printing? 
  5. How can I avoid drawing skewed lines in Quark? 
  6. Can I use my color lasers to show accurate color to my client?
  1. How can I utilize Photoshop's new vector type feature? How does it improve my printed piece?

    Using vector type will give you top-quality, sharp, 2540dpi type, as opposed to rasterized type which will only be 350dpi. We'd prefer that you use the standard method of assembling your vector files with raster files in a page layout program like Quark or InDesign, but if you wish to shorten your design labors by creating your type within your Photoshop file, you must flatten your layers before you save your Photoshop format (.psd) file as an eps file. If Photoshop names your file with "copy" in the filename, it's a good warning that you are saving out your vector-containing eps file incorrectly.

  2. What's the thinnest line I can print?

    The definition of a hairline is the thinnest possible line which the output device can create. That's fine with a laser printer, even at 1200 dpi, but with our 2540dpi platemaker, you'll end up with a line so thin, it won't be visible, or it will break up. Our prepress operators here at Signature will be looking out for hairlines and the other issues listed here, but as a rule, as you're designing, set your thinnest line to .35 pt for coated paper, or .4 pt for uncoated paper.

  3. How do I create a rich black area on my 4-color job?

    To create a nice deep black, duplicate your 100% black swatch and add a bump of 30% cyan, 30% magenta, and 30% yellow. You can even run your ink limit as high as 320% in Photoshop without causing problems like non-drying sheets, or offsetting. However, as a rule, this color build makes a very deep full black color. You could also bump the black in your 2- or 3-color job with a tint of one of your spot colors, but don't be shocked when you end up with a tinted black result rather than a deep rich black.

  4. Is the JPEG format acceptable for printing? 

    When saving image files for high resolution printing, use the .eps or .tiff formats with no form of compression selected. The JPEG is a compression format used for Internet images. Data is discarded when you save files as JPEGs and once it is gone you can't get it back. This is called a lossy form of compression.

  5. How can I avoid drawing skewed lines in Quark? 

    Use the Orthogonal Line Tool in Quark to draw straight lines. Another option is to hold down the shift key when drawing a line with the plain Line Tool. To fix a line that is not straight, click on it and make the "y" coordinates the same in the Measurements palette.

  6. Can I use my color lasers to show accurate color to my client?

    Use your service provider's contract proof to show your client accurate color. All color printers such as laser, or ink jet printers will show different colors and generally they will not match the press. If special spot colors are used, show your client color chips from a Pantone swatch book and explain that your color lasers do not show accurate spot colors. The Pantone book is what the printer will use to match color. There aren't many high-end proofing devices that can exactly match a spot color, although some very sophisticated models can come close. You can also ask us about running special press sheets for proofs if showing your design with the accurate spot colors is critical.