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Topics: Print Design

How to Prepare Files for Print

Brian Coale

One thing that's a constant source of concern for many of the great people I work with is how to prepare files for print. I'm not talking about the printer at home or the one in the office, but the professional offset and digital presses used by commercial printing operations. Sending files to a print vendor to print thousands, even millions of copies for mass publication is a much bigger deal than pushing out a few copies on a desktop printer. That's why it's important that you do everything possible to give your files the best chance to print exactly the way you expected them to. In high quantities, do-overs are expensive and not always possible, so let's look at some ways we can make it right the first time.

Topics: Adobe Print Design

Setting Up Margins in Your Adobe Document

Brian Coale

When you're creating a layout for a flyer, magazine, brochure or even a business card, it's extremely important to to know where your content is so that it doesn't get too close to the edge or partially cut off. This can be difficult since the view on our screen can be very different than what we see on the final product. This is where guides, rulers and margins come in handy. You set a margin based on a real-world acceptable minimum distance from the edge, then keep your content inside that margin. Doing this will save you a lot of time and reliably result in better layouts.

Topics: Adobe Print Design

How to Add Bleeds to Your Adobe Document

Brian Coale

If you're a designer or a publisher, or even if your a hobbyist, there's going to be a situation sooner than later where you're going to want to have an image, color or other graphic print all the way to the edge of your final printed product. This is known in the creative & printing circles as a "bleed." In this article I'm going to show you how to add a bleed to any Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop document. So let's get started!

Topics: Print Design Adobe

InDesign: Print Ready PDF Files in 5 Easy Steps

Brian Coale

One thing we get asked a lot working in a commercial print shop is how files should be sent to us. Generally this strikes up a conversation about file types, the software they're using, and how to make those files work with our workflow and presses to get the absolute best results. That's why I decided to somewhat demystify the process by providing 5 easy steps to create press-ready PDF files using Adobe InDesign. If you're not using Adobe InDesign, or you've rather have a more generalized info, have a look at our post How to Prepare Files for Print. Otherwise, read on.

Topics: Print Design Adobe

How to Package Adobe InDesign Files

Brian Coale

Normally when supplying files to a printer or service provider, a PDF file does the trick, but there are situations in which you may need to provide a little more. For instance, if you need your printer or a design firm to make changes to your copy or graphical elements, a PDF is not a good choice. In these situations it's appropriate to supply "native files," which is shop talk for a copy of your original files, links and fonts.

Topics: Design Print

How To Design a Magazine in InDesign (Free Template!)

Brian Coale

Let's face it, magazine design can be time-consuming and expensive. When start-up magazines first open their doors, money is tight, and keeping the budget skinny is important. Although you may not have the in-house staff to completely produce your magazine, understanding the process and being able to do some edits on your own can be a life saver. Even if you do have the in-house staff, it might be a challenge getting properly formatted files to the printer on-time and on-budget.

If this is you, and you have a Creative Cloud subscription (usually starting at about $70/mo for businesses), you can rein in expenses and creative control by building your own template. To help you with this challenge, I've put together this step by step tutorial.

Topics: Design Tips Print

5 Tips for Designing on Newsprint

Brian Coale

Newsprint is a highly-economical non-archival paper that best-known for its widespread use by news publishers, high-frequency magazines, classified publications, handbooks, phone books, textbooks, journals, guides, manuals and a variety of other common print products. Despite the recent decline in print publishers, newsprint is still widely used in many modern print applications.

Topics: Design Print

How To Design a Book in InDesign (Free Template!)

Brian Coale

If you're a self-publisher, chances are good that you're designing your own books. Unfortunately the tools we use for writing, like Word, don't always make for great book design. This is a job for industry-standard tools like Adobe InDesign. The good news is that pricing for InDesign has become very reasonable recently, but the bad news is it's still difficult to use. So you might still need a little help to get started.

That's why we've put together this basic how-to. Now you can build a book in InDesign that you can use time and again on as many books as you like!

Before we get started, take advantage of the free template download so you can follow along. Or if you would rather have us design a custom template for you, hit the "Talk to an Expert" button.

Download The InDesign Template › Talk to an Expert ›

Topics: Print

Understanding the Standard PDF Export Settings

Brian Coale

Here at the shop we get this question surprisingly often: “What PDF settings should I use in my export, Standard Quality, High Quality or Press Quality?" This is typically in reference to the export or 'save as' options for PDFs available in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop, but can also pertain to any software that makes use of the standard profiles found in Acrobat Distiller. So now some of you may be asking:

Topics: Print

Binding: Which One Is Right for Your Print Job?

Brian Coale

When your job is printed at a commercial printer, one of the biggest decisions you can make that will have a huge impact on the cost and presentation of your book or magazine is binding. Luckily, most printers are very knowledgeable about this subject and usually steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a binding method that is appropriate for your job. Nonetheless, it's always a good idea to know what options are available to you and to understand the pros and cons of each method. So get your learning cap on and let's talk about binding!