HOW TO PRE­PARE A FILE FOR PRINT

JODY BURSON, ARTWORKER AT WIEDEN+KENNEDY LON­DON, WALKS US THROUGH HER PROCESS FOR GET­TING FILES PRINT-READY

Computer Arts - - Junior Designer Manual -

“At Wieden+Kennedy Lon­don, when pre­par­ing an art­work file for print, I start with an ap­proved file from the de­sign team. I make sev­eral rounds of mi­nor amends – copy and im­age up­dates, such as ed­its to the head­line or adding re­touched im­ages.

Once I re­ceive fi­nal sign-off in­ter­nally and from the client, I pre­pare the art­work file ac­cord­ing to job spec­i­fi­ca­tions de­fined by the de­sign or me­dia chan­nel book­ing. This usu­ally in­cludes check­ing the res­o­lu­tion and colour space, so for a print job we en­sure the im­age is a min­i­mum of 300dpi and in the CMYK colour space.

I then set the doc­u­ment up to spec­i­fi­ca­tion, mak­ing sure the doc­u­ment size, bleed, trim and copy safe area are cor­rect. To en­sure the art­work is colour ac­cu­rate, I print a colour-cer­ti­fied proof to be signed off by the nec­es­sary par­ties.

For press and out-of-home cam­paigns, I will adapt the master art­work to suit spe­cific me­dia book­ings. For ex­am­ple, if I’m adapt­ing a press ad for Sains­bury’s, I re­ceive dif­fer­ent sizes and spec­i­fi­ca­tions for each news­pa­per and adapt the file while be­ing care­ful to keep the over­all look and feel as close to the master lay­out as pos­si­ble.

Once adapted, files are then pack­aged up (col­lect­ing the in­di­vid­ual as­sets, lay­out files, fonts, graph­ics, im­ages) or for­mat­ted to a par­tic­u­lar file type, ac­cord­ing to the printer’s re­quire­ments. We then sup­ply to the print­ers or pro­duc­tion part­ner ready to print.”

In short, art­work­ers are the mid­dle­men between cre­ative and de­sign

im­ages,” she ex­plains. “I’d check the cor­rect fonts are be­ing used and give a quick over­view of line end­ings. If the file has cut­ter and fold guides, I’d check th­ese work cor­rectly, but if un­sure, I’d cre­ate a mock-up.

“I’d also check that any spot colours will print cor­rectly and check the colour sep­a­ra­tions in Acro­bat. I’d then pack­age the open art­work and print PDF, ready to send on through to the printer or to the client.”

There are a num­ber of stan­dard tasks you per­form ev­ery time you pre­pare files for print, says Michele Stocks, in-house de­signer for PR agency Nel­son Bo­s­tock. “For in­stance, you make sure ev­ery­thing’s in CMYK, and that there’s at least 3mm bleed. You make sure all the art­work and im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion is housed within the set mar­gins. If you haven’t done this, you risk your text, art­work or lo­gos be­ing cut off by the crop­ping process, or for white lines to show around the edges of your pages be­cause you didn’t have any bleed on it.”

There’s also a lot of back and forth in­volved, she adds. “You’ll of­ten have to li­aise with the print­ers – or the clients if they’re hav­ing it printed them­selves – to make sure you un­der­stand the nu­ances of how they want it printed. For ex­am­ple, with one client I have to have a spe­cific amount of colour den­sity,

The work is of­ten metic­u­lous, but there are of­ten op­por­tu­ni­ties to be cre­ative and free

be­cause their pa­per is so thin, you can’t have too much colour or it won’t look right.”

It’s also about hav­ing a wider ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what the de­sign is aim­ing to achieve, points out Jody Burson, artworker at Wieden+Kennedy Lon­don. “What­ever job you’re work­ing on, it’s es­sen­tial to know where it will sit in the world,” she says. “There are dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions when artworking a print job for a bill­board poster rather than a dig­i­tal file for so­cial me­dia or a piece of 3D pack­ag­ing. Plus you al­ways need to re­fer to the client’s brand guide­lines to en­sure you’re ad­her­ing to their re­quire­ments.”

In sum­mary, artworking is not just a nar­row tech­ni­cal role, but some­thing that should draw on the broad range of your de­sign knowl­edge and cre­ative skills. “The work is of­ten fairly metic­u­lous, but there are also op­por­tu­ni­ties to be cre­ative and free,” stresses Burson. “Ev­ery job I work on chal­lenges me and gives me new op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn.”

Glynn Har­vey con­curs. “It’s not just sit­ting in front of a screen re­siz­ing ads, which is what I once thought an artworker did,” he says. “You take the big cre­ative idea and use your knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to not only point out what can’t be achieved, but to en­hance projects and add that wow fac­tor, es­pe­cially with print fin­ishes and cut­ter guides.”

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