Blog | Walsworth

First steps toward a successful printing project

Written by Sarah Scott | June 29, 2017

The key to a successful print project: “Planning, planning, planning!” said Walsworth Customer Service and Pre-press Manager Julie Huffmon.

Taking care at every stage will help ensure the best final product for your company – and will avoid any potentially costly mistakes. The beginning steps are key.

Getting started

Create a checklist. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, no matter how long they’ve been doing this. Creating a checklist at the beginning will prevent oversights later on – when mistakes become costly to correct.

Proofread everything. There can never be too many eyes on a project. Hire a proofreader. This will prevent potentially costly mistakes. Proof the project after every change, no matter how miniscule.

Utilize the people you already have available. Ask anyone who has the time to take a look. If the information isn’t sensitive, you could take it home and ask a family member or friend to review the project. Sometimes it’s good to get an outside perspective.

Tips and Tricks

Check the specs. Talk to your printer about how a specific design effect will translate to print. They’ll know how different cover options pair with various binding techniques, or whether part of the design will be lost in the gutter.

Use Walsworth export settings to create PDFs for submission. Walsworth has created Adobe® InDesign® export settings and QuarkXPress® export settings to help you create and submit PDF files that are optimized for print. The settings help ensure that trim marks are properly positioned, fonts are properly embedded and images are exported at a resolution level appropriate for offset printing.

Convert all spot colors to CMYK with InDesign before exporting to PDF. Unless you have arranged for a specific Pantone® spot color to be utilized in your publication, all spot colors used in your layout should be converted to CMYK for standard four-color printing. Note that placed advertisements sometimes contain spot colors that your design staff may not be aware of.

Include proper bleed allowance. The term “bleed allowance” refers to an extension of graphic elements beyond a page’s trim marks. This space allows adequate flexibility for the trimming process during print production. Without proper bleed allowance, it’s possible that a publication’s pages would have white edges when that isn’t the intended design result.

Extending graphic elements 1/8” or more beyond the page’s trim marks provides sufficient bleed allowance to avoid white edges during production.

Use safe margins for text. When the text is too close to the gutter of a spread, it can get visually lost due to a publication’s binding. This is especially true for perfect-bound publications that don’t lay as flat as publications with saddle-stitch or lay-flat binding.

To help ensure text isn’t visually lost in the gutter, keep text at least ¼” from the center of a spread. For thicker publications, a 3/8” inner margin is recommended for text elements.

Ensure placed advertisements don’t have exposed trim marks. Does your publication incorporate placed ads from corporate sponsors or advertisers? If so, you may need to provide them with some guidance regarding trim marks for the ads they submit to you.

A trim mark issue can be caused by InDesign’s default 6-pt “crop mark offset” setting. Inform your advertisers that this setting needs to be changed to 9-pt so that your ad pages don’t have trim marks unintentionally exposed to readers. Another option is to direct advertisers to eliminate trim marks in the ads they submit to you.

Ensure your cover’s spine is properly sized for perfect-bound publications. Whenever a publication utilizes perfect-binding, the spine size will vary based on the total number of pages and the thickness of the selected paper. Because of this, the size of a publication’s spine in your cover layout is critical.

Walsworth’s technical support team can help ensure that your layout dimensions are correct before you submit your cover.

Working with Walsworth

Interested in learning more about working with Walsworth on your print project? Contact us to start the conversation.