The need for a preflight checklist to ensure print quality assurance arose at the same time as digital technology became widespread enough to land in the hands of well-meaning customers who tried some drawing software and suddenly felt qualified to be graphic designers. In those early days, a printer would have to inspect each digital document, manually verifying the appropriateness of art file formats, the presence of all versions of all needed fonts defaulted or improperly kearned fonts, the proper color coding, and various other factors. If just one critical element were overlooked, it was back to the drawing board.
Have you ever had to reverse your workflow because of a jaggy piece of art, a missing font, a missing line of type, a defaulted font that looked “right” on the monitor, or missing colors that made a vibrant piece of art turn dull? Those are the perils of accepting client work in digital format and attempting to output the print job without preflight. Many of your well-meaning clients, and even ad agency artists, often do sloppy work from a technical standpoint, ignoring such issues as linescreen, dpi, RGB vs. CMYK, and a host of other issues that can prevent you from outputting their piece in the way they believe they’ve provided it.
The best way to preflight document quality is to create a perfect document before output. How exactly do you make a perfect document? These ideal conditions can only occur if your clients are properly educated. Ideally, you would plan the design of the document, taking into account the output resolution and linescreen and scan the print image format and photos at a DPI 15 to 2.0 times the linescreen. You would choose a list of specific fonts, commonly called “Corporate fonts.” These are the only allowed fonts the designer should be using. FlightCheck can flag font problems such as missing fonts and other document problems.
Perfect Document: Preflight Print with FlightCheck. Avoid Font Problems and more.
Markzware FlightCheck can preflight to catch font problems and other printing errors during
prepress, before printing, to help you create your perfect document
You would also decide well ahead of time which specific colors are being used, whether the print job is a 4-color CMYK process job, or if a 5th Pantone plate will need to be printed, and so forth. If a “blueprint” for the document is well established, then the print job can be built according to the exact specifications and the preflighting steps can be abandoned altogether – or so it is hoped, in the proverbial “perfect world.”
It’s easier said than done, especially when you are a quick printer and receive all kinds of poorly created documents from well-meaning amateurs. You see it every day. People walk in with their masterpieces, created with all manner of inexpensive DTP applications. They tell you “It’s all ready to go, it shouldn’t take any time at all.” Keep your aspirin bottle handy!
Preflight Print with Markzware’s Preflight Solution
Since it’s impossible to pre-educate all of these customers, the alternative is to use a preflight solution to check your documents. FlightCheck is the standard and patented preflight solution. It’s faster and easier to tell your customer that you have a process in place to check every technical aspect of their print job than to try to tell them why that $60 software they bought will probably not cut it. When you present a preflight report showing them in exact detail what needs to be fixed before their print job can be printed, the need for your expertise becomes more than a matter of your own opinion. You’re not insulting their abilities; the preflight solution reports why their job specs are not up to snuff. They can then understand why your services are going to cost them more than the simple “pop it in, print it out” process they imagine. FlightCheck provides detailed preflight reports to help prevent font problems or other printing errors before they happen.
For more information on preflighting for a perfect document, see the Top Level Document section of the FlightCheck Manual, and remember to use FlightCheck, available online from Markzware at the FlightCheck page. See more printing solutions on the Markzware Products page.
Preflight to Create Perfect Document for Print Job – FlightCheck