Even though my prepress department is full of people with degrees in graphic design, only a small portion of our hours at the office are devoted to actual design work. We’ve chosen to work in the slightly less glamorous side of design known as prepress. And we love it. Each prepress operator in my group has a Mac and a PC on their desk with all of current design apps loaded on them. We also have some heavy duty equipment in our arsenal, namely our PDF editors – Pitstop and Neo.

While the design world has trended toward online and digital media, some schools have dropped prepress from their graphic design curriculums. While that is great if someone only intends to build websites and products designed to be read by e-readers, it can make the transition to print challenging. That’s where prepress departments come in. Prepress operators know how to prepare files so they are print ready. Or how to take a non-print-ready file and do the necessary fixes that will allow it to print correctly.

Some of the tasks we perform regularly are: adding or extending bleed to files that don’t have them, adding crop marks, changing RGB or CMYK files to spot colors, resizing documents, adjusting panel sizes for folded pieces and more. In most cases, these adjustments are made in PDFs. There was a time when these changes required the native files, which added time to the job and pushed the print schedule out. Now with programs like Neo and Pitstop that’s often not necessary. So, the next time you have changes to a job and all you have is a PDF, give us a call – chances are we’ll be able to fix your file.