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Re: [PPLetterpress] Service bureau question

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  • Dan Franklin
    A few comments about InDesign, PDFs, OpenType fonts, service bureaus, ... InDESIGN If I had a choice, I would use InDesign all the time. Unfortunately, most
    Message 1 of 7 , 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.)
    • Linnea Lundquist
      Gerald: I have had no problems with sending InDesign files to my local service bureau for about the past 18 months. In the early days, they were pros about
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 2, 2002
        Gerald:

        I have had no problems with sending InDesign files to my local service
        bureau for about the past 18 months. In the early days, they were "pros"
        about it and welcomed the challenge. Now it's business as usual. I did have
        a problem a few months ago with a printer (offset) who went straight to
        plate-- he didn't mind the InDesign file, but he had the heebeejeebees about
        OpenType fonts and tried to talk me out of using them. In that case, I sent
        a pdf with the OpenType fonts embedded. I usually make my PDFs in Distiller,
        the resulting PDF seems to be sturdier than making it by exporting as pdf
        from within InDesign or using the Create Adobe PDF thingie. In the InDesign
        print dialog box, set your printer to "PostScript file", so that when you
        print, you get a .ps file. Open that .ps file in Distiller, which makes the
        PDF. Distiller has job options for fonts, color, compression, etc. The color
        and compression settings are a gordian knot and if I ever need to change
        them to something other than default I will need to dig out the Acrobat
        Classroom-in-a-Book and figure them out. The font embedding settings,
        however, are pretty straightforward, but be sure you DO embed the fonts and
        your font licenses allow embedding. If you don't embed the fonts, and your
        service bureau doesn't have your fonts on their system, you will get the
        dreaded Adobe Sans or Adobe Serif (designed by Fred Brady, by the way-- it's
        a generic-looking MM font that tries to simulate your missing font. It's
        actually a technical tour-de-force and I only say "dreaded" because you
        really don't want to see it appear when you're expecting something lovely
        like Caflisch Script or Silentium or Wilhelm Klingspor Schrift).

        I like InDesign *particularly* for the flexibility of working with OpenType
        fonts, and for proofing the fonts I build myself with many alternate
        characters.

        xyz : Linnea
      • Mats Broberg
        ... Gerald, With ver. 2.0.1, InDesign is pretty stable and accepted by most service bureaus on this side of the puddle, although many bureaus are switching
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 3, 2002
          > My question is: Are folks still experiencing problems with
          > this software and OpenType settings at service bureaus?. If
          > so, is it best to generate as a PDF? (best to generate as PDF
          > anyway?) and if so, any recommendations as to PDF settings
          > for high-end output?

          Gerald,

          With ver. 2.0.1, InDesign is pretty stable and accepted by most service
          bureaus on this side of the puddle, although many bureaus are switching
          entirely to PDF workflows anyway, since trapping & four-colour
          separation is supported and the embedding of typefaces and high-res
          images make life alot easier. However, be cautious if you make
          last-minute corrections in the PDF file itself. Although this is a
          feature Adobe talks alot about, I've heard more than once that Acrobat
          makes incorrect extraction of the typeface that makes the new word set
          in a default system typeface, despite correct embedding (no subsetting).

          Regarding PDF settings, I would recommend installing the Distiller
          printer and use it for all jobs. It features a few different default
          *.joboption files - Screen, Print, eBook and Press etc., and a good
          start is the Press *.joboption. However, it needs some tweaking since
          some of the settings are on the low side. For example, all line drawings
          above 1800 dpi are downsampled to 1200 dpi, which I don't think is
          enough for high-quality imagesetter negatives. Grayscale images are
          downsampled to 300 dpi which would be sufficient for 150 lpi screening -
          sufficient when printing grayscales from photpolymer plates but not e.g.
          waterless offset.

          Best regards,
          Mats Broberg

          Stockholm, Sweden
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