Designing for Print

Markzware FlightCheck New Version! Click Here To Learn More

Yet another interesting email popped-up within the In-Box, this time from Dewald Rosema of Exell Technologies, the Markzware distributor in South Africa. Here it is, with the kind approval of Dewald:

In today’s economic climate and growing competition, it is essential for creative, publishing and print production organizations, to ensure it stays ahead of the game and finds new innovative ways to reduce costs, reduce human errors and produce high quality jobs quickly at competitive pricing.

Designing for Print?
Where does print start – designing? Who is responsible for printing what was designed – the printer? Who should carry the cost for correcting incorrect design work – the print buyer?

Most common design problems – time wasters – cost adding factors:

  • Missing or incorrect bleed
  • Incorrect job size
  • Missing fonts
  • RGB images
  • Missing graphics – Links
  • Resolution too high or too low
  • Trapping
  • PMS color – Should it be a spot or standard process (CMYK)

Let’s compare two jobs – Spot the time saver:
Job A is a print-ready PDF, created and preflighted by print buyer, using industry or printer’s standards.
Printer preflights job, finds minor problem, corrects and submits for proof = 20 min
Job B submitted in PDF but never preflighted and created with regular PDF settings
Printer preflight job, find missing fonts, RGB pictures, missing bleed, corrects some of the issues but have to send back to client = added 2 hours DTP work, another two hours waiting for new file from client and possibly another hour fixing what client doesn’t know how to fix = 5 hours of delaying the job and 3 hours of added cost.

How many times are these issues picked up just before job goes to plate or after job has gone to plate?
Simple cost and time saving suggestions for designers/print buyers:

  • Talk to your printer!
  • Use most common graphic design programs i.e. Adobe and Quark
  • Purchase a reliable and industry standard PDF creator. Enfocus Instant PDF, plug-in for most common design applications or Acrobat Professional – Printer specifications can be imported in both – 2 minutes can save 5 hours!
  • Design according to your printer’s specification, understand your printer’s PDF specifications
  • Submit jobs in print-ready PDF with preflight report, electronically
  • Proof electronically, especially for content
  • Ensure job specifications are according to job quoted before submitting – Insist on Preflight report
  • Create PDF and preflight according to industry-acceptable or printer’s profile before sending to printers
  • Fix errors or notify printer of problems and agree on cost for correcting.


Naturally, I’ll end with the tip to check out Markzware’s FlightCheck Professional, which will check all major file formats.

Designing for Print

Title: Designing for Print
Published on: May 11, 2009
David Dilling

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