When you flip through a brochure or catalog, do you ever wonder how the material was produced? Have you ever thought of the process that the material went through? Between the design and printing, there is a meticulous process that happens before a brochure or catalog will become ink on paper. It’s a process that people don’t really know, but without it we will never get hold of printed materials.
Prepress is a process that a document must go through before final printing. It’s what happens from the moment design decisions are made to the final product—from the preparation of the texts, photos, and graphics to the printing press. The prepress process must take into consideration the process and limitations of traditional and digital prepress in order to create a successful design.
Most prepress works are done digitally these days. The introduction of the Apple IIGS in 1984 allowed graphic designers to create designs on a computer. Software (QuarkXPress for the layout, Adobe Photoshop for image manipulation and special effects, Extensis PreFlight for correction of design elements such as colors and fonts, etc.) were also introduced that helped them convert digital files into press ready files.
With continuous improvement in technology, prepress houses can now create huge and complex files. The results are beautifully designed materials that look visually interesting to readers. In the years to come, the industry can expect to see more advances in digital prepresses, andompanies who want to stay competitive must learn to adapt to these advancements in order to stay at the forefront of technology.