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The Process of Prepress

Prepress is the process of creating a print layout and performing all steps prior to the finalized project. It consists of converting an idea, such as a photo or sketch, into a printing plate or other image carrier. Digital prepress machines accept information electronically and then transfer the data to a printing plate. It’s important that professional designers catch any mistakes and guarantee pieces are ready to be printed. It is much more costly trying to fix a mistake after prepress. Henceforth, these are the main steps of prepress that produce the finalized piece.


Grammatical errors and typos are minor errors that are easily looked over. A typo will make the piece look unprofessional, which could result in losing sales. Once a grammatical error is on a printed piece, there is no way to undo it. That’s why catching errors prior to printing is vital. Linguistic proofreading checks for grammar mistakes, spelling, and typos. Prepress proofreading includes more of the visual aspect of detecting errors through graphic design. Words may split at the end of lines, length of lines may be uneven, or text spacing may be off. Checking for these errors will ensure the end product is clean and error-free.

Image Size and Resolution

It’s important to double check the resolution of images before printing. This means checking the resolution from where the final draft is saved. Design files should be saved at the highest resolution possible. Professionals recommend adding pixels after scaling down an image. Enlarging an image 20% more than the original image will result in a blurry resolution. Designs need to be aware of resizing images prior to printing, as the image on the screen may look completely different than the printed image.

Ensure Color Accuracy

Since images are clear on computers and the brightness of screens can be adjusted, the file image will look clearer. The image may print differently than what is seen on the computer. With that being said, checking the existing color mode of the design is important to guarantee the printed image will look like the design file. It’s imperative to sync the computer screen and printer, as they both view color and light in different spectrums. Since printers offer a fuller range of colors than design software programs, it’s important to note these differences.

Define Bleed and Crop Marks

A digital file’s bleed, crop, and cuts must be lined up properly. These marks indicate the edges of the design and where the cuts should be made when printed. This cut and finalized piece will give a professional feel, with no blank spaces. The bleed is where parts of text or objects extend past the page boundary. The crop marks indicate where the design will be cut. The slug, on the other hand, is the area that is outside of the bleed that will feature the printer instructions. As processes in prepress, it’s important that these aspects are not overlooked. Ignoring any part will result in white borders or lack symmetry. It’s also important that the preferred stock can be cut through.


This process of prepress is the arrangement of all pages of the design onto the paper. This allows for faster printing and reducing extra paper waste. In the past, imposition would consist of lining up pages to ensure pages are evenly printing back to back. This labor intensive work is now easily taken care of because of Adobe Publisher. This software sets up multi-page designs to be published in a brochure or booklet.

Select the Right Paper

The last and final step of prepress is selecting the right stock. Different types of paper will create different feels, textures, and visual appearances. Choosing a more cost effective paper can save the company money. It depends on what effect the piece wants to exude. It’s important to take time when considering and choose wisely.

The processes of prepress ensure the finalized project is ready to be printed and free of any errors. From the concepts of the design to the final print, prepress is imperative so nothing gets lost in translation. A little error on the screen may become an unfixable mistake on the final print. Prepress is vital as it will save money in the long run and guarantee projects are produced with high standards.

Written by Omega High Impact Print Solutions’ Marketing Intern, Noelle Reinhardt


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