Document Setup for Prepress & Print Production
Which Program to Use?
The majority of print jobs should be compiled in and printed from Adobe InDesign
InDesign is geared towards print & prepress rather than Illustrator or Photoshop
CMYK colour space is the default colour space in InDesign for offset printing
Photographs, logo’s and vector graphics can be properly placed (imported) and managed in InDesign for print
Adobe Illustrator is used to create vector graphics/lineart/logos
Vector graphics are mathematical line drawings that never lose quality or clarity when sized up or down
the program appropriately re-scales these mathematical dimensions therefore it is best suited for logos and scalable graphics. Illustrator does not handle photos well and should not be used for this purpose.
Photoshop is used for raster graphics (pixel based graphics)
This program is primarily used for image/photo editing, resizing, cropping and manipulation
Any image that comes out of photoshop needs to be of a high quality (large size) if used for print 300+ DPI or dots per inch
Screen-sized images are smaller (72 or 96 dpi) which is why on-screen/web graphics are generally not large enough for print)
When to use print press vs digital print:
Generally if you are printing 1000+ copies offset printing is the most cost effective method
Digital printing is more cost effective for smaller quantities of prints and one-offs
To create a new document for offset printing:
In InDesign go to: File > New > Document
- If you aren’t doing a book spread and don’t want the corresponding ‘facing pages’ un-check this option
- Select your desired paper size and page orientation, portrait or landscape
- Be certain to add a bleed of 1/8th of an inch (or 0.125 inches) on all sides
- Include a top slug area of 1 inch (the slug is where you can include notes for the printer if desired)
The document slug is an area at the top used to add notes for the printer/printpress
The bleed is used by the printer for trimming. It is important when graphics are meant to extend to the edges of the page that they also extend to the bleed mark so they don’t leave a white edge when trimmed.