The Beginner’s Guide to Quality Printing: Part 3

In Part 1 of this guide, we went over how to choose your design/layout program and why bleed is important in printing. In Part 2, we discussed guidelines for images, color, and fonts. This third and final post in the series will cover packaging in InDesign and common mistakes in print design.

Packaging in InDesign

When using InDesign, a great way to make sure your printer will receive everything they need to correctly print your document is to create a “Package” containing all of the necessary files. Fonts, images, and other necessary items are put in one folder that you can easily send to your printer.

InDesign does this automatically with its “Package” function. To package your InDesign file:

  • Open your file in InDesign.
  • Click File > Package…
  • Go through the menu options on the left and check:
    • Fonts: All the fonts you want to use are in the list and the state for each one is OK. Click “Find Font…” if anything is missing.
    • Links & Images: Make sure each image type says “CMYK” and not RGB and that the status of each image is “Linked.” We prefer linked, rather than embedded, images because it saves disk space. If any of the images are missing, click on them in the list and then click “Relink.”
  • Click the “Package…” button.
  • Choose a descriptive name for the text file that will be included with the package. This file will contain instructions for the Prepress team. It is also helpful if you fill out the other requested information (Contact, Company, Address, Phone, Fax, Email). Click Continue
  • Select a destination for the packaged folder (preferably the same folder your original InDesign file is located in) and give it a descriptive name. Click Save.
  • The packaged folder will be created in the location you specified. Make sure it contains:
    • A .txt file
    • An InDesign file
    • A Fonts folder containing all the fonts you used (there may be “extra” fonts in this folder. See “PostScript Fonts” in Part 2 of this series).
    • A Links folder containing all the images you used.
  • Compress or “zip” this folder and send it to your Print Provider.
More About the Package Function

The Package dialogue box has several menu options that will help you ensure all fonts and images are linked or embedded, and that the colors are correct. These options can help you locate issues in your InDesign document you may not have been aware of.


Information about the document is displayed here, including any errors that are found (such as images that are not in CMYK or missing fonts and images).


This lists all the fonts that are used in the document. It tells you the name of the font, what type it is (postscript, TrueType, etc.), and if it is present or missing. If there are errors, select the specific font and then click “Find Font…” to see available options. You can change the font in the “Find Font” window if you wish. Each instance of the original font will be changed to the new font you specify in the “Replace With” section of the “Find Font” dialogue box.

Links and Images

This section will tell you if there is anything wrong with your images. Make sure there are no missing images (if there are, select the image and click “Relink” to find the image). If you have images that were created in the RGB color space, a warning will appear here. You can edit your images in Photoshop or Illustrator and convert them to CMYK if you wish, or you can let your printer’s Prepress department do this.

Colors and Inks

Process (CMYK) and spot colors are listed in this view. You should see Process Cyan, Process Magenta, Process Yellow, and Process Black. If there are spot colors listed you may want to go back to your document and convert those colors to process, unless your printer knows you intend to use spot colors. You can change spot colors in your InDesign document by canceling out of the Package window and right-clicking on the spot color in the “swatches” palette. Select “Swatch Options,” then change the Color Type to “Process.” Go back to the Package window by clicking File > Package…

Print Settings and External Plug-ins

These are a list of settings and plug-ins that are used in the document. They cannot be changed in the Package dialogue box.

For more information, visit Adobe InDesign’s Help page.

Common Mistakes in Print Design

Everyone makes mistakes but Precision Images is dedicated to informing our customers about the design and printing process so you will always have a great printed product. Avoid the following common pitfalls when designing your brochure, business card, flyer, or any other printed project.

Mistake 1: No Bleed

Be sure you extend images ⅛-inch beyond the final trim edge. For more information, see Trimming & Bleed Guidelines and About Bleed in Part 1 of this series.

Screenshot 2022 12 08 at 2.09.23 PM
Mistake 2: Text Too Close to the Edge

Text and other important elements like logos should be placed no closer to the Trim Edge than ⅛-inch.

Screenshot 2022 12 08 at 2.09.40 PM
Mistake 3: Low Resolution

The resolution for anything that is to be printed should be at least 300 dpi. Anything less than this could result in pixelated images and fuzzy text. Images captured from the web are NOT suitable for printed applications.

Screenshot 2022 12 08 at 2.09.53 PM
Mistake 4: Borders Are Not Thick Enough

This is really a combination of Mistakes 1 and 2. If you want a border around the edge of your page, they should start within the Safe Edge and extend out to the Bleed Edge. This will ensure the border is not trimmed off.

Screenshot 2022 12 08 at 2.10.18 PM
Mistake 5: Designed in RGB

Designing in RGB is appropriate for graphics that will only be displayed on a screen, website graphics for example, but is NOT appropriate for printed applications. When designing for print, you should always create or convert your images to CMYK.

Adobe Photoshop

Create file in CMYK:

  • Click File > New…
  • Set the size of your image, then select “CMYK Color” from the Color Mode drop-down menu. Make sure your resolution is set to at least 300 pixels per inch.

Convert to CMYK after design/creation of file:

  • Click Edit > Convert to Profile…
  • Under “Destination Space” select “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2”
Adobe Illustrator

Create file in CMYK:

  • Click File > New…
  • If Advanced Options are not visible, click the arrow next to “Advanced” at the bottom of the window.
  • For Color Mode, select CMYK.

Convert to CMYK after design/creation of file:

  • Click Edit > Assign Profile
  • Select “Profile” and in the drop-down menu select “U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2”
Adobe InDesign

Convert to CMYK after design/creation of file:

Adobe InDesign defaults to CMYK color profile. There is no need to convert your InDesign document to CMYK or to set a color mode when creating the file. However, you should make sure the working CMYK profile is set to U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2. Do this by:

  • Click Edit > Convert to Profile…
  • Under “Destination Space” select U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2 in the CMYK Profile drop-down menu.
Mistake 6: Fonts Not Converted or Included

When text is created in Photoshop or Illustrator, it should be flattened for final output. In Illustrator this is called “Create Outlines” and in Photoshop it is “Rasterize Type.” Text is no longer editable, but errors related to missing fonts when sending files to your printer are eliminated. You can also create outlines from text in InDesign, however, this is not necessary if you Package your file before sending it to the Printer.

Adobe Photoshop
  • Select the type layer in the Layers Palette.
  • Click Layer > Rasterize > Type or right-click on the text layer and select “Rasterize Type.”
  • It is highly recommended you Save As… to a different file name after you create outlines as you will no longer be able to edit any of the text.
Adobe Illustrator
  • Select the text box.
  • Click Layer > Create Outlines
  • It is highly recommended you Save As… to a different file name after you create outlines as you will no longer be able to edit any of the text.
Adobe InDesign

It is not necessary to Create Outlines from text in InDesign if you Package the file (see Packaging in InDesign above).

Printing at Precision Images

From construction documents, proposals, banners, and point-of-sale signage to equipment for your in-house print shop, we have the equipment and talent to ensure your success. Learn more about our services or check out our gallery of completed projects. If you’re ready to start your project or have questions about printing, contact us today!