SOS to all Involved in Graphics, Printing and Prepress

Our industry is changing and those responsible for file preparation, colour correction and colour space conversions are often not the printer or the scanner operator but the graphic designer and digital photographer. Art directors, clients, prepress and printers are all frustrated due to the excess array of colour spaces, file formats, levels of sharpening, various bit depths, colour profile options and compression options being submitted for print.

Unfortunately for those new to the field of digital imaging there is no road map or guideline as to how images should be submitted. It is not my expectation to develop a set of standards for file submission. I am simply hoping to create a road map with options and suggestions that will assist those new to the field of digital imaging. A guideline is a softer word than standards.

So here is you chance to stand on your soapbox and have a say as to how images should be prepared when submitting to print. This is what I’m looking for:


  • What are the ideal digital specifications for image submission?
  • One of the problematic issues is what colour space do printers and prepress prefer RGB, CMYK or both?
  • Should images have a tagged (embedded) ICC profile?
  • Is the quality of Photoshop’s supplied CMYK profiles sufficient for your printing needs? Examples of the built in ICC profiles are U.S. Sheetfed Coated V2.icc or U.S. SWOP Coated V2.icc  
  • Should images be sharpened for final print?
  • What file types do you prefer: jpeg, eps or tiff?
  • Does LZW compression create problems for you?    

Art Directors:

  • How should the files be named?
  • What suggestions could you give to Photographers to make your job of selecting images easier?
  • Do you want to see high-resolution 48Mb files or is it better to receive low res for making selections?
  • Do you use a favorite viewer application to browse thumbnails?

General Questions:

  • Do you find Epson digital prints helpful or are they so far off that it makes your job more difficult?
  • What are some of the other issues you are facing?


Being a consultant has taught me one thing – there are significant numbers of people sending jobs to print that don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. As I said in the beginning, roles are changing. Digital photographers and graphic designers are doing a lot more than just taking pictures and laying out pages. They are doing retouching, colour correction, RGB to CMYK conversions, and other jobs previously reserved for the prepress guru.

So we can accept that things are changing and help those climbing the huge learning curve mountain or you can stick your head in a hole and let the world pass you by. I am asking for your help. So take a few minutes and send me an email to and let me know what you think can be done to improve the quality of images sent to press.