Week 1: Fundamentals of Prepress
Discuss class goals, objectives and expectations.
Overview of Digital Prepress
Typical Print Production Workflow
Read Chapter 1, pages 10-18 for a complete description of the graphic print production workflow.
Idea and Concept
- define product
- analyze audience
- define purpose and goals
- identify team
- identify decision makers
- select vendor(s)
- select paper
- develop design
- create messaging
- meet product specifications
Image and Text
- create, collect and select images
- edit images
- output images to file
- create and edit text ("copy")
- arrange of text and images
- Adobe InDesign is now the industry standard layout software
- Quark Xpress used to be the standard and continues to be used today
- take care to prepare the file properly for print production
- send digital and printed proofs to decision makers for review and approval (or revisions) during the layout process
- create of high-resolution PDF files
- print adjustment of images and documents
- create proofs
- arrange imposition
- run rasterization
- produce printing plates/film
Finishing and binding
- should be considered before layout
- intended use affects selection of binding technique
- surface processing
- raised areas
- partial/full varnishing
- lamination to increase folding endurance
- cropping and trimming
- cut to the correct format and for even edges
- perforation and punching
- folding and creasing
- metal stitching
- spiral binding
- sewn stitching
- glue binding
- covers may be included or left out during initial binding
- distribute the printed product to the end user
- often costs more than the printing
Alternate Prepress Workflow Chart
Read Chapter 1, pages 18-21 and 28-36 for a complete description of planning considerations.
Purpose, Audience and Goals
- What is the goal of the printed piece?
- to inform (a newsletter or folder)
- to sell (an advertisement)
- to entertain or education (a book)
- to package (packaging)
- What should it communicate about the brand?
- Who is the target group of the printed piece or the product/service it sells?
- Market research can refine demographics and what appeals to them.
- What media/channels should be used to reach your target market?
- What size edition should be printed?
- How will the printed product be used?
Different service providers are appropriate for different types of printing jobs.
- What sort of printing needs to be accomplished? Does the provider handle the type of specialty work you may need done?
- How competent is the provider and is their work of good quality? (See samples of prior jobs.)
- Does the provider guarantee acceptable delivery times?
- What is the capacity of the provider and what resources and personnel are available? Will your job be competing for these resources with other clients?
- What is the typical working relationship the provider has with its customers?
- Is proximity to the provider relevant?
- How can you reach key personnel?
- Can the provider give you name and contact information of previous customers for reference?
- What sorts of conditions must you meet when working with this provider?
- Does the provider's business seem stable for the future?
Team and Roles
- Who will be in charge of the project?
- Who else is included and what are their reponsibilities?
- Who will check the proofs?
- Who gives final approval before it goes to print?
- Do you need to establish contacts in all the areas?
- Who should be kept informed during the project?
- How will you guarantee quality and time frames?
- How will you prevent scope creep?
Read Chapter 2 for a complete description of computer components as the relate to graphic print production.
Hardware and Ports
- A screen consists of many rows of small pixels (short for "picture elements".)
- Pixels have light sources divided into three sections: red, green and blue.
- The color of a given pixel depends upon the strength of the light emitted through each of those sections.
CRT versus LCD Screens
- CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube.
- In the CRT, phosphorescence pixels light up when bombarded with electrons.
- CRT monitors emit magnetic radiation, are heavy and bulky.
- LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display.
- The LCD is flat, and contains polarized liquid crystals which are illuminated from behind.
- The polarized crystals are rotated to let the light through or hide it.
- Older LCD screens were more expensive and had color issues compared to CRTs.
- Modern LCDs are as good technically as high-quality CRT screens.
- A screen is measured in two ways:
- Diagonally from corner to corner, in inches.
- The number of pixels the screen holds.
- A typical screen used in graphic print production is at least 20 inches and contains at least 1,600 by 1,200 pixels.
- The higher the resolution, the smaller the pixels and the greater the detail.
- Resolution is also determined by the video card.
- An operating system runs all of the computer's basic functions:
- displaying the user interface
- receiving and translating signals from the keyboard
- saving files to the hard drive
- facilitates communication between programs and the hardware
- Operating systems include:
- Mac OS
- Utility software works with the OS to provide additional functions beyond the basic set-up.
- A calculator or font manager is a type of utility software.
- Drivers are software that allow the computer to work with peripheral hardware such as printers and scanners.
- Internet-connected computer are typically capable of downloading and installing drivers without the user's direction.
- An application is software that performs a comprehensive set of functions in a specific area.
- Microsoft Word—word processing
- Adobe Photoshop—image editing
- Adobe Dreamweaver—web page layout and coding
- Adobe Bridge—archiving and organizing media files
- Adobe InDesign—printed publication layout and output to prepress
- Plug-ins are add-ons to applications which enhance existing functions.
Common Types of Storage Media
- Hard Drives/Disks
- Magnetic Tape (e.g. DAT or DLT)
- CD and DVD
- Flash Memory
Older Types of Storage Media
- Magnetic disks
- Floppy disks
- Zip and Jaz disks
- Magnetic Optical Disks
Data has to be transmitted between computers and peripheral devices. The data can be transferred over cables, wirelessly, or via networked computers.
- Universal Serial Bus
- USBs can:
- transmit data
- connect monitors, printers, etc.
- provide power to a device from the computer
- Has a transmission speed of up to 480MB/second.
- Firewire is a very powerful standard for data tranfer
- Has a transmission speed of up to 800MB/second.
- Firewire can be connected directly between different computers.
- Provides wireless computer communications via radio signals over a short distance (up to 10 meters.)
- Has a transmission speed of up to 720 Kbit/second.
Infrared Light (IR)
- Provides wireless computer communications via infrared light over a very short distance (a few inches.)
- IR ports must be facing each other.
- Has a transmission speed of up to 4MB/second.
Types of Networking:
- Cable-connected Ethernet
- Wireless Ethernet (WLAN)
- TCP/IP (Internet)
Types of Connections
- High-Speed Connection
- ADSL and Cable Modem
- Analog Modem
- Cell Phone
- Email Attachements
- HTTP/Web Transfer
Upload the following by midnight of the first class day of next week:
|1||Business Card Specifications Report||business card report.doc||20|
|Business Card Layout||business card.ai||25|
Team Activity: Business Card Specifications Report
Scenario: A client has come you for the design and printing of business cards. As a seasoned pro, you know you'd be smart to research how best to produce the cards before beginning your design work. Your client has requested that you use their favorite online printing vendor, Vistaprint.com.
Action Items: Your job is to research the available options and specifications on Vistaprint for business cards, and do the following:
- Compile a list of questions for your client regarding want they want in the finished product. Their answers will help you determine which Vistaprint product to purchase.
- Provide your client with some pricing options for various treatments and/or quantities.
- Report on the printing and upload specifications, including accepted file types.
- Report any additional relevant findings or resources.
- Click and read the links which define any terms which are unfamiliar to you.
Write up your report in a Microsoft Word document. Use your own words in complete sentences to demonstrate that you understand what you are writing about (not simply copying-and-pasting.) Each team member must complete a portion of the research or report. Include the names of each of your team members; only one team member needs to upload the document.
Individual Activity: Business Card Layout
Scenario: The client mentioned above has given you the go-ahead on the business card design project after you gave them your Business Card Options report.
Client Specifications: Your client has decided on the following specifications for their business card design:
- Adobe Illustrator
- 3" x 2½" rectangular card
- single-sided design
- full color printing with a bleed
- 80lb matte card stock with glossy finish
- 500 quantity
- custom logo/design created by you
Action Items: Each student will complete this portion on his/her own and submit individual files.
- Make up a name and industry for this client.
- Design a logo in Adobe Illustrator in CMYK or Pantone colors.
- Download one of the business card templates provided by Vistaprint. Make sure you get a blank template (one that shows trim, bleed, etc. only, not one their prepared "design templates".)
- Design a business card on the template in the appropriate resolution and color mode.
- Follow the instructions on the template for what to hide before printing.
- Save the design file as a PDF [Press Quality], ready for upload.
How to Zip Files
- Select all of the files together (or a folder.)
- Right-click (or Ctrl-click if right-click is not enabled) on your selection, and select Compress.
- A file called archive.zip will be created.
- Rename the Zip file as appropriate.
- Select all of the files together (or a folder.)
- Right-click and select Send To > Compressed (zipped) folder.
- A file will be created which has the same name as one of your files but ends instead in ".zip".
- Rename the Zip file as appropriate.