Often a prepress operator will spot something in a layout that just doesn't seem right. Rather than proceeding to output, processing is put on hold until the designer's intent is determined.
Unfortunately, responses can be hard to come by when messages aren't returned for hours or days. To assure smooth prepress sailing, make certain that designers are readily available during the production phase.
Keep customer service reps informed of the designer's whereabouts while files are being processed. Appoint a contact person when the key players will be out of reach.
Nobody wants a book with type hanging off the page, or images sucked into the gutter. Yet prepress production is frequently stopped because pages are designed with live matter too close to the trim.
Speak to your printer's customer service rep early in the design process of a title to avoid these delays. Review the requirements for a book that uses your binding style, and follow the minimum safety margins for non-bleeding illustrations or type.
Proper file preparation is of the utmost importance when a page is designed to bleed. Prepress processing can be slowed when layouts neglect to include extra image or tint areas extending beyond the page's crop marks.
Bleed images must extend 1/8" past the final dimensions of a book to ensure no white space shows when the text block is printed and trimmed.
Conversely, if illustrations or type are not meant to bleed, there must be a minimum safety margin on all sides of the pages, varying with the binding style of the title.
Colors designed to fit together tightly can shift on press. Files must be trapped (prepared so adjoining colors overlap slightly) to avoid gaps between adjacent colors.
Determining the correct overprint or underprint for abutting color elements is tricky. Every project has slightly different trapping needs, and every press requires unique consideration.