4 Helpful Guidelines to Consider When Dropping Files to Prepress

Projects come and go at light speed for any commercial printer. To help maintain the flexible process we’ve perfected, we’ve listed four helpful guidelines for dropping files when working with your prepress partner. Because when the pre-production process is hiccup-free, the rest of your project goes smoother as well.

1. Always Add a Quarter-Inch Bleed

This is one of the most important aspects to file print-readiness. A quarter-inch bleed is required beyond the trim line – most files dropped only have an eighth-inch bleed, which is not enough. If files are dropped without the required bleed, the prepress operator adds it in using Photoshop or using the native files, which in turn leaves room for human error and adds more time to a job. Be proactive and always add 1/4″ bleed before dropping files.

2. Drop the Entire File Package

If native files aren’t provided and an image requires manipulation, the project comes to a standstill while the pre-pro team spends time requesting missing assets. Prepare for the unexpected and provide the entire file package at the time of drop. 

That said, if you’re comfortable dropping completely print-ready PDF files that are 100% approved, the project can be sent through to the press room hours if not days faster than normal. If your project needs to move faster than fast, send completely print-ready PDFs.

3. No JPGs Please

This one may seem pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often this happens! Always provide hi-resolution images, 300dpi is a good industry rule-of-thumb.

4. When Using Special Effects, Always Provide Native Files

If you decide to use the special effects palette on your imagery, always include native files in the drop to prepress. When files are run through printer RIPs, the software flattens images and can negatively affect the special effects layer. In turn, time is spent troubleshooting and figuring out what changed on the image when it went through the RIP. If your prepress partner has the native files in their possession, this time of confusion is automatically eliminated. 

Just Ask

We hope you found these tips helpful. Remember, if you are unsure about what your prepress partner needs from you, don’t be afraid to ask. They’ll likely have a one-page list of specifications that they require from you to ensure stress-free file preparation. It’s all about communication.