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Part: IV Appendix > A Designer's Checklist - Pg. 662

Output: Sending Your Files to Print 662 Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all time, and what made him unique is that he understood the underlying physics of what makes a baseball curve, rise, or sink. He likened the human body to a catapult and understood the dynamics of throwing a baseball. Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golf player in history--and for good reason. Besides having talent, Tiger studies the physics of the game and understands why a certain club gives more lift than others, or how the direction the grass grows affects a particular shot. The point I'm trying to make is that the more you know about your field, the better you can be at it, no matter what you do. In graphic design specifically, knowing about printing makes you a better designer. Many of today's printers are utilizing digital workflows to save costs and improve quality and turn- around time. Some printers have a CTP (computer-to-plate) system, which eliminates the need to create film, basically creating plates directly from a computer file. Although these methods present other challenges to printers (trapping, imposition, and so on), use of such a method also puts the responsibility on the designer to create art files that are free of problems (okay, so at least with as few problems as possible). Understanding Transparency The transparency features in Illustrator and InDesign have gotten a bad rap since they were initially introduced--and rightfully so. The technology was too new for the older systems that most printers were using, and, above all, there was very little information on how it worked, leaving many printers and designers to struggle with the settings. Most people didn't even know that transparency existed, and printers who suggested that users save their files as older Illustrator files ended up causing even more issues. At the end of the day, it was all quite messy. But transparency has come quite a way since then. Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat now all share the same flattening technology (necessary to process files with transparency), and, more important, the transparency features and settings across all of these applications are identical. Adobe has also been extremely proactive in helping print service providers and printers learn about transparency, and numerous guides and whitepapers are also available (I reference these later). A Designer's Checklist Although it's impossible to list everything that might go wrong in a job, several issues come up more often. As a checklist for yourself when you're creating files or preparing them to send to a printer, here are some common issues to be aware of: · Make sure that everything is CMYK--Make sure that you haven't accidentally created artwork in RGB mode. Many times you might use stock photography that you've downloaded from a website--and those images are almost always in RGB. Remember that almost all images from a digital camera are RGB and must be converted to CMYK in Photoshop before they can be sent to the printer. · Remember your fonts--When you send your files to your printer, make sure that you've included copies of all the fonts you've used in the file. Additionally, try to avoid using off-brand fonts that you've found somewhere on the Internet, or fonts from those "10,000 fonts for $9.99" collections because they usually end up causing problems. · Use spot and process colors correctly--If you're printing a job as a four-color process (CMYK), don't provide your printer with a file made up of spot colors. Likewise, if you're printing a spot- color job, don't provide your printer with a file that uses process colors. Some jobs combine both spot and process colors as well. If you aren't sure, talk to your printer.