The Ideal Preflight Workflow

The ideal preflighting workflow is a goal toward which many prepress professionals strive. Markzware is the inventor of FlightCheck.This patented preflight technology can check documents in many file formats to ensure proper printing. FlightCheck thoroughly scans documents in Adobe InDesign, Acrobat PDF, Illustrator and more to flag potential printing problems before you print.

If I am going to preflight, how do I do it? What criteria will I use? Where in the print workflow should preflight occur? The answer: At every stage of the workflow. Native files should be verified before a document is converted to PDF. FlightCheck can preflight native files. These files should be verified before being sent to the supplier. The supplier may want to verify it yet again, before the file is imposed and plates are set.
You’ve typically got a content creator. You’ve got either a publisher or prepress house. You’ve eventually got a printer in the printing workflow. Potentially, at least three people handle the document. FlightCheck is the ideal preflight solution, since it can be used by several people. Preflighting should be done immediately, when the file is created, and at every stage in the workflow, when the document is modified.
Why should we build a workflow? To streamline the process, to reduce the turnaround time, eliminate problems, and, to avoid missed deadlines. Most problems occur when a document is handed off from one party to another.  When done properly, preflighting can save time, save money and stop workflow headaches.

Ideal Preflighting
Typically, where preflighting happens today is at the printer. You’re ready to take a job to press, and then discover you have missing fonts, low-res images, RGB, etc. FlightCheck can flag these and many other potential printing problems. Otherwise, the document has to be rejected and sent back. Time is lost, we all start all over, and potentially miss our deadlines.

In the fairytale prepress world, we would preflight files before they are submitted to their destination. If it’s an advertiser and a publisher, we preflight the ad file on that advertiser’s desk, before he burns it to a CD or e-mails it to the publisher. If you’re a printer, you want to know every job from a customer was checked before you receive it. Hopefully, it comes with a preflight report, which FlightCheck provides, saying that everything looks good.

The Ideal Preflight Workflow with Markzware FlightCheck

FlightCheck can preflight proprietary file formats to check for potential printing problems

Giving your customers a new perspective
No one really likes change. There may be some push-back from print buyers who may not immediately accept preflighting responsibilities. So, it’s up to the printers to sell the preflight workflow as a win-win for themselves and their clients.

Graphic artists don’t like the idea of preflighting, generally. They look at the screen and say “Yuck.” They may just want to create beautiful things on screen. So, there’s this prevailing mentality of “It’s my job to make things look good on screen, and it is your job to print them.”

There are other benefits to preflighting, besides simply catching file errors earlier in the workflow. Implementing preflighting at various stages of the print workflow will help flush out conflicts regarding accountability. Who is responsible for making sure the documents are built correctly? What it comes down to is, what is the state of the file when you sent it? FlightCheck makes preflighting easy, so this becomes less of an issue.

The dynamics of accountability have changed. No longer can content creators rest on the assurance that their printers will take responsibilities for print errors if they don’t catch files they’ve submitted. Sometimes, printers are eager to accept. Just a few years ago, they seemed happy to get any digital files at all.

If a publisher submits a problematic file to the printer, accountability falls back on the publisher’s shoulders. To change the customer’s perspective of preflighting, printers may want to scream this message from the mountaintops: Send us bad files, and you’re running a risk.

Who wants to keep fixing the same problems over and over again? No one. So how do you teach your clients how to make bullet-proof, error-free documents? There are a lot of printers that buy preflight software (like Markzware’s preflight solution, FlightCheck) for their customers. However, that doesn’t always solve the problem. Customers may not really know how to use it, or they don’t know how to configure the specifications properly.

What is needed is free training for customers, because they shouldn’t just keep sending bad files. Teach these customers to start learning how to fix files and prepare them correctly from the beginning. The FlightCheck videos provide a great headstart.

You can buy Markzware’s pre press software via the FlightCheck page. See more printing solutions on the Markzware Products page.

The Ideal Preflight Workflow