Top 10 File Prep Mistakes

1. No Bleed

Files without bleed cannot be put into production. Be sure that your InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop file is setup to have .125” bleed all around every page. Then if creating print-ready PDFs, be sure to include bleed. Example: 8.5” x 11” flyer WITH bleed will be 8.75” x 11.25”.


2. Incorrect Color Mode

Make sure all work is created, and exported using CMYK color mode. This ensures that what you see on your screen will be as close as possible to what is printed. Check this in advance using “separations preview” in either InDesign or Illustrator before creating final files. WATCH for black that is not really just black. A color “auto” appears that is RGB black and separates to percentages of CMYK. What appears to be 100% black on screen will not reproduce correctly without intervention.


3. Trim Size Does Not Match Print Specs

For instance, a 9” x 6” postcard setup on an 8.5” x 11” page will produce an 8.5” x 11” page unless the file is altered. This halts production and frequently causes questions or mistakes. Never set up more than one item on a page, as in four postcards on an 8.5” x 11” sheet; we have software that uses single pages to create press forms for the best cost savings for you which is specific to your job.


4. Images Are Low Resolution

To ensure print quality we require images to be 300 DPI minimum. Use InDesign’s preflight to catch this common mistake. Avoid using graphics found from Google Image Search.


5. Font Problems

Fonts can be missing, and sometimes unlicensed which occurs frequently with “free” fonts found on the web. Some fonts cannot be embedded in print-ready PDFs. Either package all fonts and send them along with the native files, or outline the fonts to ensure no changes occur during the imposition process.


6. Missing Links

The safest work approach when sending native files is to package them in InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop, this captures all fonts and images that are linked to the file.


7. Folding Panels

Be sure that each fold-in panel (not outside front and outside back panels) are .125” smaller than the final fold size, cumulatively; and that the outside and inside pages of the piece have the panel sizes correct. The outside will have the largest panels on the right, the inside will have the largest panels on the left.

8. Failure To Use Preflight Tools

Get in the habit of having this open when you are creating files within InDesign. It is “live” and will warn you of possible production problems. It can catch as many things as you want to flag, including overset type, possible bleed problems, and common production problems.


9. Unmarked Revisions

Be sure all items reflect the latest files. If there are changes required after proofing, BE SURE MarketingFX knows which pages are affected and clearly knows what the changes are.


10. Excessively Large Files

If text and graphics are in the pasteboard area, all those resources are requested when the files are. This causes alerts about missing graphics that aren’t included in the packaged files and halts production to delete these elements wherever they occur before continuing with production.