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How far down the (professional) printing process are questions allowed on G.SE?

I'm thinking about specific PDF settings, dealing with colour profiles in photographs, application-specific functions to wrap work for the printing company, dpi and paper specific issues, how to deal with problems in the prepared data...

This is a fascinating (and scary) field in itself, and may be of relevance to many graphic designers. Still, I'm unsure whether it's completely on topic on Graphics.SE. What are your thoughts?

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I'd say they are mostly on-topic. At least all those that you listed could be (though photography printing should go to Photography & Photographic Editing Stack Exchange).

After all, it is usually part of graphic designer's job to get it right... and if you get it wrong, the designer is the first one to be blamed by the printing representative (been there, done that — the "doing wrong" part, I mean). Especially if you have the most of your experience from digital field, these questions will come up valuable.

  • +1 this is why I think having these questions would be really good - this stuff is often missing from the digital designer's curriculum. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Jan 7 '11 at 12:23
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To reinforce Koiyu's excellent answer, the days when a designer could hand off a mock-up to various specialists (image scanning, color seps, typesetting, mechanical layout) and just show up for the press check (if then) are long gone. It is on the designer's shoulders to ensure that all those details are right before the work goes to prepress (in the case of print) or goes live in some other medium.

Magazines, billboard companies and printers I deal with often (okay: always, no exceptions) tell me that they "almost never" get artwork "from outside designers" that's within spec. Sometimes it's "never." I recall getting an excited phone call from one company a couple of years ago for no other reason than what I'd sent them was on spec and didn't need fixing (a scary thought, since they've been in business for many years, although this was my first time dealing with them).

Like it or not, that seems to be the broad state of our profession. If G.SE can help change that, we'll be doing a Good Thing.

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