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Watch for Problems that CauseDelays at the Printer

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The following is an excerpt from Lynella Grant’s book, The Business Card Book, What Your Business Card Reveals About You . . . And How to Fix It.


Watch for Problems that Cause Delays at the PrinterTime gremlins lurk in any project, causing complications that throw it off track. Such situations are frustrating for both the customer and the printer. The Graphic Arts Technical Foundation researched the most frequent problems that arise when digital files (computer input) arrive at the printer. They found that a remarkable 57% (based on a thousand customers) had problems which caused production delays and/or increased costs. Of the 27 potential problems often encountered, they identified the 10 worst offenders.

Ten Most Frequent Problems with Electronic Files Supplied to Printers

  1. Missing or incorrect fonts (22.2%)
  2. Missing or incorrect trapping (11.5%)-[relates to the way colors are lined up]
  3. Files defined with incorrect color, e.g. RGB [red, green, blue] versus CMYK [cyan, magenta, yellow, black] (10.9%)
  4. Scans supplied in wrong file format. (7.8%)
  5. Incorrect page settings or page setup (7.4%)
  6. Graphics not linked (5.2%)
  7. Incorrectly defined or undefined bleeds (5.2%)
  8. No laser proof supplied (4.6%)
  9. Missing graphics (4.5%)
  10. Resolution too high or too low in customer-supplied scans (3.2%)*

Changes in technology may reduce some such problems, but have been responsible for causing others. Be careful that you or your project coordinator avoid such pitfalls. A camera-ready layout sidesteps these problems, but may not be suitable for all your input. Many projects include some computer files (since designers frequently use them for visual elements and layout) and they reduce required steps at the print shop. Most of these delays won’t occur if you provide careful specifications and verify the printer’s parameters prior to submitting the project to them.

*Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, News Release, Pittsburgh, PA, March 21, 1997. [For further information contact Alissa Gould, 412/741-6860, ext. 702.]

Lynella Grant can be reached through Off the Page Press, PO Box 1269, Scottsdale, AZ 85252. The Business Card Book is available for $17.95 (plus $3.50 p&h). For further information, call 888/852-6402.

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