Don’t impose your art on me!

Imposition (a process of arranging pages in a certain order on a larger sheet so that, once complete, the artwork is finished in the correct order) is an essential part of printing whether the artwork is a book, CD face, business cards or a t-shirt design.

This is a task which should always be performed by the printer, given that the printer is the only one who will know:

  • the sheet size the artwork will be printed on;
  • how the artwork will be duplexed;
  • the amount of pages to impose on a sheet, and the pattern or sequence;
  • the grain direction of the paper;
  • any mechanical features required in the imposition, such as quiet areas or laps;

Given the amount of information needed prior to creating an imposition, customers which choose to impose their own artwork effectively make the printer’s job a lot harder.

Often, printers will have to take client-prepared impositions and break them back into single pages so that the artwork can be reimposed to the printer’s specifications rather than how the client had prepared the imposition.

This can be complicated further if, once proofed, the customer resupplies the artwork with alterations, but in same – or different – imposition.

Extracting pages from imposed artwork is all billable time.

Ideally, artwork should normally be provided as single pages prepared to the correct size so that the printer can impose the artwork as they see fit.

Printers worth their salt will normally use specific software dedicated to impositions such as Kodak Preps or Dynagram Dynastrip, or plug-ins to layout software such as Quite Imposition.

The above also applies for book artwork. Again, clients providing either PDFs as readers spreads or printers pairs are making their printer’s work harder to do as they will have to break the pairs into single pages for imposition.

Put simply, there is no advantage in imposing artwork prior to submitting to the printer – leave this step to them.

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