…recommending jpegs for print?
I fucking despair at what they teach people on design courses.
I once had to deal with a file submitted to the printers I worked for by a design college…a promotional thingy they’d produced. It has no bleed and used about a dozen different spot colours. These are the people teaching people how to design professionally and they had no technical understanding whatsoever!
So…here’s a tip. You’re working in print, save your files as 300dpi LZW compressed CMYK tiffs. If your document has multiple pages then use InDesign to combine them into a multi-page document and export them from there as a PDF. In your PDF export settings choose the PDF/X-1a:2001 setting. This will ensure that your resultant PDF is print quality (your printer may specify a different output setting, if so, follow their intructions). Assuming you’ve had the sense to set up the bleed correctly in your InDesign document (3mm bleed is standard, but some people use 5mm bleed) then you need to go into the Marks and Bleeds tab in your PDF output settings and select “Use Document Bleed Settings.” Do NOT export your PDF with crop marks, bleed marks, registration marks, colour bars or page information unless your printer has specifically requested that you do. In general the printer’s RIP will add those features exactly as they need them to be set up.
On spot colours: Each spot colour you use will require its own printing plate and this will, of course, add to the cost of your print. If you wish to use any spot colours in your print project you need to discuss that, and the additional costs incurred, with your printer first. Spot colours are really only ever necessary if you are working on a corporate project where they insist on a specific colour for their corporate design/logo, or if you are using metallic inks, spot UV or other special effects. Basically, stay away from using spot colours unless you know what you are doing.
My inbox is always open to anyone who has any technical design and prepress questions. You want to check my credentials? Before I worked in comics I worked as a professional graphic designer for ten years, specifically working as the in house designer for a print firm, meaning that I dealt on a day to day basis with the people who produced the print plates and ran the presses…if something was wrong, I heard about it, and had to fix it. Since then, I’ve worked in the comic book industry doing prepress, and you can see my wealth of experience in that field in my list of published credits here. I also handle all of the design and prepress needs of the UK’s largest comic convention, from passes and the programme to flyers and massive banners.