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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Archive for the ‘InDesign Software’ Category

Commercial Printing: Thoughts on a Printed Calendar

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I have recently been designing a calendar for a client of mine. She is a professional photographer. She takes photos of beautiful flowers. In preparing the files and reviewing digital proofs today, I addressed a number of issues I thought you might find useful in your own design and custom printing work. (more…)

Custom Printing: What Is a RIP and What Does It Do?

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

I think it’s fair to say that a RIP is one of the more important elements of a successful commercial printer’s prepress workflow. A RIP translates the arcs and curves of PostScript code into a matrix of dots that can be printed by the custom printing vendor’s platesetter or imagesetter. It is a universal translator, a Rosetta Stone for printers. It can print the pages you compose in InDesign or Quark, or if your files are not created appropriately, the RIP can choke and not print your work. (more…)

Custom Printing Options for Creating and Proofing PDFs

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

We are inundated with PDFs today. Almost every application you own can create a Portable Document Format file, from OpenOffice to Microsoft Word to Adobe Acrobat. But if you are a graphic designer, how do you know that the PDF you are creating for your commercial printer is appropriate for the target offset or digital printing technology? How do you know your job won’t go horribly wrong? (more…)

Custom Printing and Digital Copyright

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I recently designed a print book of poems for a local writer, and a print book of flower photographs for a local photographer. In an attempt to solicit more design work from another potential client, I considered emailing the prospective client PDF samples of the two books I had just completed. After all, I considered this akin to showing a digital portfolio, just as I used to open my physical portfolio and display printed copies of my design work. Fortunately, I paused before acting. I then sent emails to both the poet and the photographer asking permission to share their work. (more…)

Book Printing: How to Make Illegible Type Legible

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

A client of mine just produced a “galley” of her book, 100 digitally-printed reader’s copies for her reviewers to critique before the final offset custom printing run. She loves it, but her husband thinks the type is too small. (more…)

Commercial Printing: Making Corrections to Your Files at the Proof Stage

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I recently received a digital proof for a small poetry book I had designed for a client. The following paragraphs describe the items I looked for in checking the proof. You may want to take a similar approach in reviewing your proofs. (more…)

Custom Printing: Preparing Your Printing Job for Commercial Printers

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

You have found the custom printing vendor‘s FTP site and you’re about to send your files to press. With bated breath, you hope that you caught all the errors, formatted all the files correctly, and didn’t make any mistakes that will be expensive to fix. Before you push the send button, here are some things to check. (more…)

Custom Printing: InDesign and Photoshop Tips

Monday, December 12th, 2011

I have been doing more freelance design work recently, working in Photoshop and InDesign, preparing layouts for commercial printers. I have learned, or relearned, a number of tips and tricks that you might find helpful in your design work. Here they are, listed in no particular order but separated into two categories: Photoshop and InDesign. (more…)

Book Printing with Digital Printing Companies: Holding Detail in Highlights and Shadows

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

A client of mine is preparing a high school textbook for custom printing with an online printing company. The layout is complete, and she has turned her attention to adjusting the cover and text photos. Today she asked for the “dot range” the business printing provider could hold on press. (more…)

Brochure Printing: From Paste-up to Computer Design

Monday, August 15th, 2011

A colleague who started designing art files for book printing a few years ago asked me to distinguish between layout and paste-up. The question brought to mind all of the changes in the field of design and custom printing over the 34 years I have been in the business. I’ll provide an answer for the question my colleague asked, but I will go further to mention some of the other changes I have witnessed. (more…)


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