Arvest Press Inc.

252R Calvary Street
Waltham, MA 0245

Fax: 781.894.4434

Open Monday thru Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


Directions to Arvest

Arvest Impressions:

An inside look at the printing process

In Armenian, the word Arvest means "art". At Arvest Press we love what we do, and treat each new printing project with the artistic care of a skilled craftsperson. This passion translates to a high level of customer satisfaction, and top quality products.
Starting with the Basics: Make a great PDF

PDF creation basics for the web and Print:


PDF settings are determined by what the final PDF will be used for. Some typical options are an offset press, digital printing or on a website, maybe as a linked document or a downloadable form. In the example below, we've set the general setting, the first setting in the list, to Press Quality for offset printing. This will export a high resolution file for making plates. Some other available choices in the general tab are high quality print, for digital printers or proofing devices; and optimized for the web, the default website setting for the best looking, yet smallest website file. In most layout programs, you can also customize these settings and save specific profiles to use over again.


The other setting which we've highlighted in this example is the View PDF after Exporting setting, because it is always a good idea to take a look at the PDF that's been created before sending it to a printer or webpage.




The next example illustrates some recommended settings for optimizing images in a PDF. Again, in this window we are preparing our PDF file for press quality output again. Bicubic downsampling is designed to downsample the images placed in a layout to both reduce file size and optimize the resolution for output to the chosen device. For example, if a designer has placed a 300 ppi color image into a layout and then reduced that image to say 25%, the file resolution of the image is now 1200 ppi. The export algorithm recognizes the file has an image above the max setting of 450 and downsamples that image to 300 ppi in the final PDF. The compression settings allow the user to set a max resolution for color images, greyscale images and monochrome images, bitmaps and linework. Using these settings correctly makes the resultant PDF "Print Ready".


There is one additional setting under the compression tab, Crop Image Data to Frames. What this setting does is discard any hidden data in the layout. For example, a designer needs a headshot of an individual, but only has a large image of the person in a group shot. The designer imports the large image into a layout program's picture frame, and then zooms in on the individual headshot. The rest of the image data is still part of the file, but remains hidden from view. By selecting Crop Image data to frames, the unnecessary data is discarded when the PDF is created and file size is optimized.




The last setting we'll discuss is the Marks and Bleeds setting. The example below shows how to set up marks for your PDF and more importantly, to make sure the document bleeds for the printer. Most layout programs have a default set of marks, and in this case, the program allows the user to also select all marks, or choose a unique combination. Some printers prefer marks on a PDF file while others don't.


If a file has bleeds, as discussed in a previous blog, it is important to check that the bleed is also incorporated in the PDF when it is exported. Some layout programs default to a setting of "0 in" for their bleed setting, and expect the user to set a value if the file contains a bleed. In the example below, we have set a value of one-eighth of an inch for the bleed and made that value uniform on all sides of the page. This is probably the most common place where a bleed is left off of a "Print Ready" PDF file. Best Practice is, as discussed above, have the PDF open automatically after creation to ensure things like bleeds and marks have been set up correctly.




The last subject we'll mention briefly is embedding fonts in a PDF. In newer software versions, font information is embedded automatically into the PDF file. This gives the printer, essentially, a onetime license to use a font for printing. On occassion, Fonts companies will require a user AND the printer to purchase a license for font information. Unlikely in most cases, but it does happen. Best practice is to be aware of any licensing restrictions to fonts you own and relay that information to your printer to avoid any delays in your project.


PDF's can be a great way to transport files with all the necessary information intact, and also are great for using on your website to pass along information to a customer with a quick and easy downloadable file.


Next Blog: Setting up your document correctly

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