Here at SLB printing, the most common question we are asked is, “How should I submit my files for printing?” The simple answer is “in pdf”. No matter what design software you are using to create your files, you should be able to save a hi-resolution press ready pdf with bleeds and crop marks for us to rip and print without any formatting or font issues.
The method you need to use to make a hi-resolution PDF is in the “settings” dialog box inside of acrobat distiller (full version). Some programs will allow you to access this dialog box from your print dialog box. Once there, your “preset” box should be set to either “Press Quality” or “PDF/X-1a“. Keep in mind, if your original file was in RGB color, there is going to be a color shift when you save the PDF with press quality settings. This is because part of the settings in “Press Quality” is to convert the file to CMYK color space. Simply put, we need CMYK files for offset printing and the available colors in CMYK are fewer than in RGB so your files will usually look more red or darker than they were in CMYK. Some examples of RGB files that need to be converted and checked for color shift include the following: .png, .jpg, and .tif PNG or “Portable Network Graphics” are the most common files that we have the most problems with. For a detailed discussion on why the PNG format was never meant to be used for offset printing, please go to Wikipedia and search for “PNG files” or click HERE!
As for setting up your file with the proper bleed area, we have a video that will help you with making a file with bleeds here:
Crop Marks (or cut marks) is simply a check box in your print dialog box that needs to be selected.
If you are using Photoshop to set up your file, SLB Printing has found that this is a very bad idea. The text, even if set on a vector layer, usually looks fuzzy or jagged in the final press ready file. There are many reasons for this. We always tell our clients that Photoshop is for editing your pictures, not for layout. If you want a quality looking job, you need to use a proper page layout program.
If you still need assistance with set-up to submit your files for print, please call our office at 310-558-4752 (310-558-4SLB). Depending on the complexity of your project and the amount of help you need, we may be able to answer a simple question over the phone or recommend that you bring in your working files and have us finish them and prepare them properly for hi-quality printing. Our rates are $120 per hour with a $30.00 minimum for working on files.