What file should I save my project as?

IP's picture

I am totally freaking out about creating a massive project and taking it to the printers only to find out it won't work.

What exactly does a print shop require to properly output your project?

Do I need to flatten my Photoshop files?

Do I save them as PSDs? Is a PDF better?

Please tell me what I need to bring with to a printer. Example- font files, working or editable files....flattened files.

Lost. Can you help find me? :)

aluminum's picture

"What exactly does a print shop require to properly output your project?"

Ask the print shop.

"Do I need to flatten my Photoshop files?"

You would typically do this.

"Do I save them as PSDs? Is a PDF better?"

It all depends on what you are printing.

vonslam's picture

If you are working on a "massive" project. Shouldnt you know some of this "print 101" already??

bojev's picture

A pdf is a good place to start - look at it after you make it - it will be a good indicator of what it may print like. Use high quality print setting and all you need will be in the pdf.

Dan Weaver's picture

These days printers want pdf files optimized for print. Contact your printer and ask him for his requirements. You may also have a problem with the print profile of your photoshop documents. Ask your printer if you should use sRGB or some other format. If you can't access your printer I would make my color moves in LAB color format and make them convert the files to the color profile that works with their equipment. make sure when they convert to CMYK that they sharpen the black channel a bit.

timd's picture

Depending on the quote from the printers this could change but aiming for a basic 4-colour process job, I would make sure that all colours in all elements used (including any imported files) are cmyk not spot or rgb (except for any colours used to indicate perforations, folds, spot UV or cutter guides which should be spot colours and clearly named as to the function of each), that you have bleed where necessary, and if you don't take the pdf route make sure you legally include the fonts (screen and printer).

Above all though, take a fully mocked-up colour version of the job at finished size(s) so that you and the printer can see exactly what you expect. btw they will sting you for any changes they have to make, so do what you can.


IP's picture

Hey hijinx

It never hurts to keep asking questions and communicating with experts in the field. Having gone to several print shops each one ask for different material.

Just because a person asks a question, does not mean they do not have any knowledge.

Try being a little nicer next eh?

IP's picture

Tim, your mock up idea is brilliant. I shall use that next time thank you!

I have read that saving things as a pdf is not always the best route as sometimes printers want to change something and they can't or in a rare case a bizarre color problem. What do you all have to say on that topic?

How do I legally include the fonts? I have been reading and asking so many questions about font legal issues that I am totally perplexed. Isn't th eonly way to legally include a font is to actual flatten or embed the font into the image rendering it useless?

Thanks to all of you answering these questions. This website is awesome for a newbie yet dedicated person! I have a pile of books I have read yet nothing compares to asking live people these simple things.

pattyfab's picture

Well you can certainly save more than one version of the file so the font isn't useless. When I work in Illustrator I save things usually as layered .ai files and then I convert to outline when I give it to the printer. Ditto photoshop, save a non-rasterized version as well.

Most foundries don't let you embed the fonts in pdf files without an additional licensing fee. This seems a very un-end-user-friendly approach as pdf is the way most people do business these days. But you still can, in most cases, do just that.

vonslam's picture

yeah sorry about that.

IP's picture

Not a problem :)

aluminum's picture

"Having gone to several print shops each one ask for different material."

That's how it works. You work with a printer and give them what they want. There's no universal standard for this type of thing.

Since we're not the one specifically printing your job, we're not really the one that can answer your question.

IP's picture

Good point. :)

I like hearing what people say...its more about the explanations than the specific answer.

My personal experience has been that every place is different and I din't know if that is to be expected or that its the quality of the service from the local shops.

Thanks Guys ! :)

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