File Prep for Large Format Printing

Correct File Prep is the Key to a Successful Output

ICL Imaging’s digital technicians can advise you on the best way to prepare your files.  Our Customer Service department pre-flights every file that comes in for printing. Remember, correct file prep is the key to a successful output.

Digital Imaging Team at ICL Imaging, Large Format Printers near Boston that do file prep
Digital Imaging Team at ICL Imaging that do file prep

Many of the common items that we find have to do with resolution, fonts, and proportions.

File prep that is done correctly will make your printing project go smoother and faster through the print production phase. Color management will be more accurate and the proofing process smoother and quicker for you.

Our Digital Imaging Department works on Apple’s Mac Platforms.  For File Prep, we can accept both Mac or Windows release of the Adobe Creative Cloud Application files.

The Pantone Color Matching System is our standard color reference. To ensure that we produce your image correctly, reference the Pantone Color Matching System #’s when specifying colors, for example: PMS 185 Red.

ICL Imaging's, Jim Lyon, color correcting with the use of Pantone Color Charts after correct file prep
Color correcting with the use of Pantone Color Charts after correct file prep

We also recommend using the North American Prepress 2 color setting that consists of an Adobe RGB (1998) icc color profile for all RGB images and the U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2 icc color profile for all CMYK elements.  Images should be converted to these icc color profiles and saved with embedded profiles. Make sure that the color type is set to Spot Color and not Process Color for best color management.

Color Management Color Chart matching Pantone Colors
Color Management Color Chart

It’s important to establish the correct size and proportions at the beginning of the design. Please note that it is not necessary to put a project together at 100% of the final size in your page layout. Pages can be built at 50% or 25% of scale so long as the project’s dimensions are proportional to the desired final size. For example: if the final printed size is 48×96, you can prepare the page layout at 24×48. We will magnify your file to the final dimensions prior to printing the job.

Please add a 1/2 inch bleed around all the final print dimensions. If you are designing with a 50% or a 25% scale, the bleed should be set at 1/4″ or 1/8″ to avoid unnecessary cost.

Proofing Prints after the file prep has been evaluated
Proofing Prints after the file prep has been evaluated

Determining the correct scan size can be complicated. Consideration must be given to variables like final output size, viewing distance, and image output devices. We recommend that you contact our Customer Service Department who will do the calculating for you and recommend both an optimum and a minimum scan size for your intended output.