When you get on an airplane, the pilot completes a preflight checklist to make sure your flight goes smoothly, and you arrive at your destination safely. In the print industry, preflighting the files sent by the client ensures the printing process goes smoothly, and the final print arrives in the client’s hands correctly.

What does Preflighting Consist of

Every printing company is different, and use different processes. Generally speaking, during preflight, the files are being checked for the following.

Resolution – are the images the appropriate resolution to yield a non-pixelated print, or is it vector artwork?

Fonts – is the text outlined or are the fonts provided?

Color – are there embedded Pantone© colors? Is the file in the correct color format?

Bleed – does the file include enough bleed to ensure the design will go edge to edge when printed?

Images – are the images embedded in the file, or included separately?

Format – what program were the files designed in? If the client sent the files in a different format than what the printer requires, it must be converted.

Size – are the files the correct size or proportionate to the size requested?

What Preflighting doesn’t Include

Grammar – spell checking and proofreading is the responsibility of the client, not the printer.

Accuracy – phone numbers, websites, addresses, and name spellings should be double checked before the files are sent to the printer.

Copyright – did the customer obtain the images and copy legally? It’s up to the customer to make sure they are not breaking copyright laws.

A good print company should preflight your artwork and alert you to any issues, but it’s always beneficial for you to double check your artwork using the above information to make sure you get the product you want. If you have any questions about artwork or file setup, let us know. We can help your next project really take off.

TKO Tech Talk is a column written by Eric Benge, who has over 10 years experience in the design and print industries. Technology changes rapidly, the advice or information included in these articles is considered accurate and helpful as of the date they are posted online. If you have any questions, technology related or otherwise, please contact us.