Best Practice: Package or Capture

In days gone by, the largest problem faced by printers or bureaux was how the artwork was received. A layout file must be shipped with the pictures or graphics within the file; and any fonts which were used in the layout. However, it was common for artwork to be shipped without the fonts or pictures, and this delayed processing of the artwork until the said fonts or pictures were correctly supplied.

Thankfully this problem is largely solved by modern layout software by allowing the author to “package” the artwork for a third party. In Adobe InDesign this is done from the file menu and then selecting package, and from Quark Xpress this is done from the file menu and selecting collect for output. The outcome is the same, a new folder is created containing a copy of the artwork, and folders containing the necessary links and fonts for the printer. So long as that complete folder is sent to the printer, there should be no problems.

By packaging or collecting for output, the following problems are overcome:

  • Missing Links/Fonts
  • Needle in a Haystack (when more than what is necessary is sent to the printer, e.g. previous edits of the artwork, interoffice notes, personal files, etc…) as this will add confusion for a prepress operator.
  • Complicated Links (where artwork which was “gathered”  manually rather than using the package or collect for output). Re-linking all links in a publication over several subdirectories will no doubt take time, (which is normally billable), depending on the complexity of the directory tree involved, and assumes that all the links are actually there.

The problem is also greatly reduced by preparing a PDF to the specifications of the printer, but providing the packaged native file is also recommended in case the PDF is not fit for the printer’s requirements.

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