Sending Graphics to Your Service Bureau

Get gorgeous graphics

There are dozens of graphics file formats but only two — EPS and TIFF are the standards for commercial high resolution printing. Beyond file type other graphics issues that can jeopardize your printing project are color, compression, complexity, and completely missing images.

When you send your document to your service bureau they often can and do take the time to fix some of the common problems listed below. However they also charge you dearly for their time and expertise and even their fixes aren’t always the best solution. Save time, money, and frustration with proper preparation and submission of your graphics for printing.

Avoid these common problems when sending your graphics.

  • Missing graphics
    It’s probably easier to do a headcount on the graphics in your publication than on the fonts used but it is still possible to miss a few, especially with large, graphics-intensive documents.

    Missing graphics can result in delayed printing or if you don’t proof carefully enough it can be an expensive error when you find out later that the image is missing or a low-resolution screen version was printed instead.Graphics may appear to be missing if you change filenames after linking. If you find that you need to change the name of a graphic file, re-link it in your page layout program before sending the graphics and application file.

  • Font missing from EPS graphics
    If you have embedded EPS files that include text be sure to send the fonts for those images as well. Generally it is best to convert the text to curves but sometimes this can alter the image in unwanted ways. If that’s the case, you must send the font files for that text along with the graphic.
  • EPS and TIFF vs. other formats
    EPS for vector images and TIFF for bitmapped are the preferred format for high resolution printing. Native graphics formats from standard programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are also usually welcome. While other formats might print okay, few service bureaus are able to troubleshoot those formats when things do go wrong thus delaying your job.
    When Windows users cut-n-paste images from other applications (such as PowerPoint images or Excel charts) you end up with a WMF (Windows Metafile) graphic embedded in the page. Often these WMF files print with the wrong colors or with changes in line weights (lines may disappear or may print thicker than expected). To avoid this, copy these type of images into a graphics program first and convert to EPS.

    GIF images obtained from the Web are usually too low resolution for printing and they are in RGB format which is not designed for PostScript color printing.

    Avoid sending GIF, JPG, WMF, BMP, PICT, and other formats without first consulting with your service bureau or print provider.

  • RGB vs. CMYK
    RGB images may look great on screen or printed on your inkjet printer but they usually don’t print well to PostScript output devices. Convert your images to CMYK. While RGB has its place (on the Web, for example) it isn’t suitable for most PostScript color printing.
    Save your original RGB file for later use or modifications. In your graphics application convert a copy of the RGB graphic to CMYK then place it in your page layout program. Send the CMYK version of your graphic to the printer.