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Comprehensive Checklist: Prepress File Preparations

Preparing print files requires attention to detail: convert images to CMYK, maintain 300 DPI resolution, and choose colors carefully. Avoid low CMYK values and use 100% K for large black areas. Include bleed margins and create a proof before printing. Consider print quantity, post-processing, paper choice, production costs, and holiday periods for optimal results

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Whether you are a beginner in printing or an experienced designer, problems often arise when preparing documents for printing. The prepress file is the first step in printing, and if there are problems with the prepress file, the final printed result may not meet expectations.

Here is a prepress file checklist for everyone to review before outputting or sending the file for printing. I believe that as long as each point in the following list is confirmed, the prepress file will be suitable for printing.

In addition to the essential checklist above, if you want to design files that are more suitable for printing, pay attention to the following 10 prepress design and printing production considerations:



Prepress Design:

– Convert images from RGB screen colors to CMYK printing colors.

– Ensure images are at least 300 DPI.

– Select colors based on the four-color manual or Pantone spot colors.

– Avoid CMYK color values below 8%.

– When using CMYK, keep the total color percentage below 200% to reduce issues like ink drying difficulty or smudging during printing due to varying ink absorption on different paper types.

– When using Pantone colors, refer to the Pantone color chart as printers will use this as a reference during printing.

– When using black, avoid using rich black for large areas; use 100% K (black) and optionally add 30% C (cyan) for a more solid black.

– Colors like purple, brown, orange, dark blue, and dark green are mixed from three or more CMYK colors, making them challenging to print accurately. Experience and color matching are crucial.

– Ensure the document has bleed margins, at least 3mm on all sides, to avoid white edges during trimming.

– Before printing, create a proof to ensure colors and content are correct.



During printing, remember these principles:

– The higher the print quantity, the lower the average unit price.

– More quantity and post-processing lead to longer production times.

– Common printing papers are cheaper than specialty papers.

– Each additional processing step increases production costs and time.

– Consider holiday periods that may affect production times.

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