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1094Re: [PPLetterpress] Service bureau question

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  • Dan Franklin
    Dec 2, 2002
      A few comments about InDesign, PDFs, OpenType fonts, service bureaus,
      and book printers:

      InDESIGN If I had a choice, I would use InDesign all the time.
      Unfortunately, most of the book publishers we work for require Quark
      files--they have Quark in house and want to be able to "tweak" the
      files themselves. Therefore, we must use Quark for most of our work.

      For service bureau work (which, I realize, is the primary topic
      here--getting negatives made to produce photopolymer plates): Of the
      two services we use, only one has InDesign and is willing to use it,
      but I send them PDFs anyway.

      PDFs It is important, as others have said, to get exact
      specifications from the prepress department that will be making your
      negatives. Every book printer and service bureau I know has slightly
      different requirements; some care about Quark settings for outputting
      Postscript files (prior to making PDFs), some don't care about these
      settings at all as long as you embed your fonts. Everyone has
      specific requirements for Acrobat Distiller settings.

      When producing PDFs for a book printer, I figure it will take me
      about an hour to configure the Quark printer style(s) and Distiller
      settings before producing the Postscript/PDF files.

      Most book printers prefer PDFs to native Quark files, and some even
      charge $1-$2 per page if the files are native instead of PDF.

      Because I often make up new fonts using Fontographer for a particular
      book, I feel safer if I produce PDFs with embedded fonts. (No matter
      what fonts you use, I think it is never safe to not embed fonts when
      producing PDFs.)

      OPENTYPE FONTS I have used these for a couple of books and have
      been well pleased. For one of these I used Warnock, a face designed
      by Robert Slimbach in honor of one of Adobe's founders and available
      only as an OpenType face. I have to say, it's a blast to specify
      old-style figures as a paragraph style-sheet feature; to know that
      designating a group of characters as small caps will automatically
      trigger true small caps, not the percentage-of-height-and-width
      version; to be able to select swash and other alternate characters
      without switching fonts; and to use fonts designed for specific
      point-size ranges, like footnotes, text, and display.

      (I still prefer, and use, Type 1 Multiple Master fonts with a
      design-size axis when I want to control this area; I've found it
      difficult to use OpenType Pro fonts in some cases for this purpose.

      (Further: Although there are general warnings against using created
      instances of Multiple Master fonts, I've not had a book printer
      refuse such files--or screw them up, for that matter.)

      Be aware that not all the OpenType fonts that Adobe is offering have
      true small caps or old-style figures. I believe that typefaces like
      Bembo, which had Expert font sets in Postscript Type 1 fonts, do have
      these extra characters. (And this is true of most book typefaces
      designed originally for metal.)

      (I've found that most Monotype metal faces that have been done into
      digital --Bell comes to mind--print nicely in letterpress. When
      creating the digital version, Monotype must have used the original
      drawings or cast faces of the type, which of course took into account
      ink creep. This makes them excellent for letterpress, but a bit
      spindly for offset.)
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