Check, Check, Check!
Two packaging printers share their ideas on preflighting electronic design files.
IT WAS A printer by the name of Ben Franklin who once quipped "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Farsighted and wise as he was, Ben could never have imagined how true those words would ring for his twenty-first century inky-fingered brethren.
Preflighting—the process of reviewing and repairing incoming electronic files from agencies and designers—is good medicine for avoiding costly and time-consuming problems further down the road in the production process. Whether you use off-the-shelf preflighting software, or have developed your own procedures, the extent to which you examine supplied digital files—and the methods you use for correcting them—can determine whether or not you're making margins in prepress.
Seneca Printing and Label Co., headquartered in Franklin, Pa., has a full-time systems administrator to help define and oversee the preflighting function. Michael Port evaluates and installs all the software used across the company's four flexo and offset plants. He said his company has been using Markzware's FlightCheck since the program was first released to the market.
"Before we began using the software, we could spend many hours manually inspecting incoming files," he explains. Now, using the program's default file-checking parameters, Port says Seneca has been able to substantially streamline the process. "The most common problems are associated with the way designers specify colors. FlightCheck helps us check for spot colors and naming. The next biggest issue is fonts. FlightCheck runs a list of all the fonts used in the job and we compare that to the list of fonts we have in our own library. Lastly, we look at the images to make sure they are in the format, size and resolution we need. If the resolution is too low—which is often the case for images scanned on desktop scanners—we can contact the customer and make sure he's aware that the image may come out pixelized or soft."