Free Tool Flags Overprint Errors
Two of the most common errors when printing PDF/X files are overprints and font handling. While incorrect fonts are often obvious on a proof, until recently it's been difficult to identify incorrect overprinting.
Officials of Global Graphics Software are now offering a free solution to the problem, in the form of an easy-to-use overprint control strip.
The control strip is used for checking that proofs and prints made from PDF/X files have rendered correctly, and whether a proof and final press sheet are likely to match.
The strip is supplied as an EPS file. It can be easily placed outside the trim or bleed area of every job created in a design application, alongside any existing color bars and informational text.
When printed, the test patches in the control strip (which can be used with any PostScript or PDF RIP) reveal whether overprinting has been performed correctly. This reduces the risk that a final printed piece will differ from the proof.
Interest in the open PDF/X standard continues to grow among advertisers and publishers. In stark contrast to generic PDF files, PDF/X files are designed for reliable prepress data exchange. The standard defines how applications creating and reading PDF/X files should behave, and how RIPs and color proofers should render the files.
As such, files generated as PDF/X typically speed through a prepress workflow without error. But it's not foolproof. Tools such as Global Graphics' free control strip can help organizations police PDF/X output.
"When they're applied correctly, open standards [such as PDF/X] work," says Martin Bailey, senior technical consultant at Global Graphics Software, in Cambridge, UK. "Unfortunately, it's not always obvious to people on the front lines how to do that. This control strip will help people get the best from their equipment using PDF/X."
(Bailey also chairs the CGATS SC6 and International Standards Organization's ISO TC130/WG2/TF1 committees working on PDF/X. He is also CEO of CIP4, the association behind the JDF standard.)