Category Archives: PDF

Print–ready vs. press–ready and how to know you’re ready

Print–ready Pdfs what are they and what does it mean? I get requests all the time for, “high resolution Pdfs.” And what is exactly is that? You see, when saving a file as a Pdf you have many options. Among them are print–ready and press–ready, there’s web too but that’s for later. When I see a designer asking for a, “high resolution” Pdf I think they don’t know what they want. I try to figure out how it’s being printed and send them what I think they need.

But here it is in a nutshell; print–ready is for things that will be printed out on an office printer or at a copy shop. Saving Pdfs in this version will produce good quality printed material for handing out. This might even include a short run brochure or flyer that you might want to run off in–house. Press–ready is for things being sent to a commercial printer. High run digital printing or offset printing. Press–ready Pdfs strip out unnecessary ancillary information. It keeps the information a printer will need for printing a quality piece.

If you get a request for a high resolution Pdf first ask, print–ready or press–ready. Likely they will respond, high resolution. If you’re sending it to a designer, send a press–ready version if it’s to another office (or office like place) send print–ready. Just remember to tell the recipient what version it has been saved.


What happened to my fonts?

So you spend an ungodly amount of time formatting your wonderful document. It’s beautiful, so sleek, so readable, so elegant. You send it to your audience and await the admiring comments. And you wait. And wait. Philistines! They know nothing about beauty. A week or so later you notice a colleague has printed your document. At last, you think, someone with a modicum of refinement. But what’s this? Courier? Courier! What happened? Here’s what happened; you used a typeface (font) that no one else has on their computers. Your document is actually a series of 0s (zeroes) and 1s (ones). It contains code that tells each computer that when your document is opened how to make it look on screen. Bold this, not that, underline here, capitalize this letter, etc. It also tells that selected computer which typeface to use. However, it cannot use a typeface that it does not have, so it substitutes; and it usually substitutes Courier. To put it another way, say you’re making cookies. The recipe calls for a cup of brown sugar, you only have white sugar, so you use white sugar. The cookies come out well enough but not as good as they would have had you used brown sugar as the recipe called for. Yeah, whatever. But how do you fix this because Courier will simply not do? You save and send that beautiful document as a PDF. –But that isn’t the end of the story just this installment. Look for my entry, Why you love to send PDFs.

Finding the perfect partner–it can happen!

I’m referring to fonts of course. Font pairings has been a topic in design circles this summer. And yes, I suppose I’m using a blog topic on another blog, so what? It’s all new to you right? Let’s move on. Using one typeface for headings and pull quotes and another for the body will give a type heavy page balance and a clear segue to the next section or concept. The reason why I’m addressing this at all is because when you receive a draft from a designer I want you to look at the type. Don’t read the copy, look at it. Does it flow? Does it feel right? Think about if the headings are the right weight for the body. Chances are it is right. Asking your designer to be mindful of their type choices before they begin the project is fine especially if the document is particularly type heavy. What I’m not advocating is you start questioning every choice your designer makes. I actually am hoping you will notice the good, solid choices your designer made and appreciate their skill and understanding of you. Now if the unheard of happens and the type choices are not quite what you hoped for here is a list of pairings you can steer your designer too.

And for those who have the occasional task of preparing a word document, I’ve included here a few font pairings for the PC. I tried to use typefaces you most likely have resident on your system and will not cause font problems if the document is opened on another system. That of course can be avoided by saving and sending your file as a PDF. Now as a designer I’ve done the unconceivable. I’ve included pairings with … Times. In the design world, as all sapient people know, Times is going out of fashion or has gone out. Or has it? Who knows. Don’t sweat it, for you it’s the message, not the medium.

  1. Arial–Garamond
  2. Century Gothic–Bookman
  3. Futura– Palatino
  4. Franklin Gothic–Times
  5. Gill Sans–Times

Embedding? Go on, tell me more

Embedding, not in bed, not deep in the arms of Morpheus. Embedding is a nifty little thing that Microsoft Office can do with images and what PDFs do with typefaces and images. Have you ever gotten a Word document that when you opened it up it was in courier or the tables were all jumbled? That’s because you probably didn’t have the font (typeface) that the document was created in and your computer substituted courier (). When a font or image is embedded the information that creates the visual you see or read is implanted in the document itself, lives there, rent free. PDFs do that, they embed. That’s why you want to send documents to others as a PDF. PDFs cross platforms (PC to Mac), it can be read on compatible smart phones, your desktop printer will print what you see on screen. PDFs are lovely, versatile and can be created out of almost any document and nearly every application.