Getting everything to your printer so that he or she can create the invitations begins with checking your output. Last time we talked about saving to, exporting, or printing to PDF (from a number of non-design apps). If you’re a designer, you know this is the norm when working with printers. We’ll now take the PDF you produced, give it a quick review and note a couple of common problems to watch out for.
If your PDF file contains just text on a white background, the resulting file should be relatively small, a few hundred KB maximum. (If it includes, say, a large photo, it should be ~a few MB.) But if it doesn’t have any photos, it should definitely be below a MB in size.
Open up that PDF and zoom way in. Above, I’ve made a side-by-side comparison to show what it shouldn’t look like, and what it should. On the left, the type is rasterized—turned into pixels at a fixed level of zoom. On the right, the type is made of vector shapes—so now matter how far you zoom in, the contours remain crisp and solid. If you’re getting the problem on the left in your PDF, you’re probably using photo-editing software such as Photoshop to save your PDF. Instead, use either a professional layout program such as InDesign, or a non-design program that’s capable of delivering similar results.
One final check
Just to make sure the fonts were properly embedded into the final PDF, it’s helpful to view it on a computer that doesn’t have those fonts installed. If when you check, the type shows up in a default font, such as Times New Roman instead of the desired ones, it means the fonts you specified didn’t embed properly. What now? It may be easiest to try the process in a different program, or call in a graphic designer who can likely help you resolve the problem with minimal effort.
Nice to have
After sending off the PDF, if at all possible have the printer send you a physical proof before production begins. This used to be the norm but now it’s more rare due to distance between printers and their customers.