Did you use spell check? Even if you did, spell check doesn’t always catch everything. (TIP: Read your copy backwards.)
Format & Alignment
Do your paragraph tabs/indentions all have the same spacing? Do your paragraphs all have the same justification? Are hyphenations on, or off? Is line spacing correct throughout?
Are fonts consistent throughout? Before sending to print, make sure all fonts are embedded, outlined or packaged to send with the file.
Read through your copy thoroughly. Spell check/grammar check won’t catch everything.
Double and triple check all phone numbers, fax numbers, zip codes, addresses, etc… Are page numbers correct?
If you are printing in full color, please make sure your file is converted to CMYK for a more accurate representation. If you are using spot colors, make sure to specify all using the Pantone Matching System. The file must be set up using the appropriate spot colors in order to separate correctly. Envelopes and letterhead must be in spot colors.
If you want color or images to print to the edge of the paper (which is called a bleed), please make sure the provided file includes an additional 1/8” of the image/color on each side that will print to the edge. For example, if the finished size after trimming is to be an 8.5″ x 11″ piece with a full bleed, the actual file size sent to the printer would be 8.75″ x 11.25″. A safety margin of 1/4″ on all sides will eliminate the possibility of any color/image being cut off during trimming.
Make sure all images are at least 300 dpi in order to produce the highest-quality result. Even though 72 dpi may look acceptable on your monitor, it will result in very poor quality in the finished product. (TIP: An image copied from a website is never high enough resolution for a printed piece.)
To achieve a rich black in 4-color process, use C65 M53 Y51 K100. Observe this for large areas of black to ensure a consistent, dense color when printed. Please be aware of your black percentages. On your monitor, blacks will look the same, but when printed will show the differences dramatically. With spot colors, Pantone Black will in fact print black.
Colors that look perfect on your monitor will more than likely not look the same on any other monitor and will more than likely print differently that what you see on your monitor unless you have a Pantone Matching System calibrated monitor.
Prepress (Pre-Flight) Checklist
Check that images are not in transparent image boxes, and that links are included with your artwork.
Check for consistent punctuation.
Review your file at 100% of size. Print it off, review everything front to back, and back to front. Have someone else take a look at it too (sometimes it’s difficult to proof your own work). If you’re not sure how something will print, contact us. We’d be happy to answer any questions.
Bleeds have to be 1/8” or more outside the printable area.
Print out color separations to see if all the colors are showing where you intended them, and that you don’t have any unwanted colors.
Dummy or Comp
Assemble a “dummy” (mockup) of what your final piece will look like for the printing company to match during the production process.
Manually Proofread Everything
Manually proofread everything. Manually proofread everything. Manually proofread everything. Manually proofread everything.