- Which is the correct ICC profile?
- What color profile should I choose?
- Embedded Fonts
- Step-by-step: how do I prepare my design for printing (InDesign)?
Which is the correct ICC profile?
Install the ICC Profile (ISO Coated v2 300%). This ensures that your color management is consistent and that your printing materials are displayed correctly on different machines.
You can install the correct ICC profile here.
What color profile should I choose?
The color profile has to be CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key, which stands for black) because all RGB (Red, Green, Blue) elements are converted to CMYK and may change in the process. Under "Edit --> color settings", choose the relevant CMYK color mode to work with the correct color profile in InDesign.
Important: The CMYK profile is required for printing. Using the RGB profile may cause color distortion and affect print quality.
Files in RGB color mode will be converted to CMYK. During this step, some color aspects may change, which is why your document needs to be in CMYK.
1. How do I check if my PDF is in CMYK color mode?
Tool: Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Open the PDF you want to check in Acrobat Reader.
- Click on the ‘Tools’ button, usually in the top navigation bar (could also be on the side).
- Scroll down to ‘Protect and Standardize’ and select ‘Print Production’.
- On the top of the right hand top navigation bar select ‘Output Preview’.
- In the ‘Output Preview Box’ about half down there is a ‘Preview’ section. Select ‘Separations’ from the top down menu, it is usually the default selection.
- Above the ‘Previews’ options there is a ‘Show’ section. The default option is all. From this option select RGB and Acrobat will only show the RGB view of the PDF. If you want to check CMYK select CMYK and so on. You can do this with any selection from that drop down menu.
Tool: Adobe Acrobat Pro
Image 1: Simulationsprofil
Image 2: incorrectly created, as nothing is shown in the preview, although CMYK was selected.
Image 3: created the correct way
2. How do I convert my RGB images to CMYK during the export?
Tool: Adobe InDesign
- Open your RGB document in InDesign
- Click "File --> Export"
- Choose PDF (Print) from the Format pop-up menu
- Choose PDF Preset PDF/X-1a.
- Set up all the other options in the Export PDF dialog box (compression, marks and bleeds, etc.)
- Finally, in the Output pane of the Export PDF dialog box, choose Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers) from the Color Conversion pop-up menu. This setting will ensure that existing CMYK images and colors are left as CMYK. Do not choose “Convert to Destination” (without the “preserve numbers”) part.
- Then, in the Destination pop-up menu, choose which CMYK you are targeting. Choose either ISO Coated v2 or PSO Coated v3.
- Click Export
To ensure your mailings are sent out with the highest possible quality, images and graphics must have a solution of at least 250 dpi and line drawings must have a minimum of 1.200 dpi.
1. How do I check if the resolution of my images is high enough?
Tool: Acrobat Pro
- Open your PDF.
- Click on the "Tools" menu and choose "Print Production", followed by "Preflight"
- Then click "Select Profile" and choose "PDF/X Compliance"
- Run the inspection by clicking "analyze". The report you receive will include resolution data for your embedded images.
Perfect, now you can upload your visual into the campaign (make sure you also check CMYK and fonts). If your resolution is too low, please read on.
2. How do I ensure my print PDF has a high resolution?
You can set the correct dpi when exporting your PDF from InDesign. Find out more here.
Embedding fonts is a smart way to ensure your document is viewed as intended, with no unwanted font changes.
1. How do I check all my fonts are embedded?
Tool: Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Open the PDF you want to check in Acrobat Reader
- Click on the ‘File’ button on the top left and chose ‘Documents Properties’.
- Select the third tab ‘Fonts’.
- Look through the list of fonts. If you do not see the words (Embedded) and (Embedded Subset) next to the font name, then you know that the font is not embedded.
Everything is embedded? Perfect, now you can upload your visual into the campaign (make sure you also checked CMYK and solution). If you need to embed your fonts, simply follow the steps below.
2. How do I embed fonts?
Tool: Adobe InDesign
- Open your document in InDesign.
- Click on the ‘File’ drop menu and select ‘Adobe PDF Presets’. This allows you to choose the resolution quality and size of your PDF file.
- Select ‘High Quality Print’ (highest quality).
- Designate where your file will be exported, and then click ‘Save’. This will open the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.
- In the dialog box, click on ‘Advanced’. You can choose to embed all of your fonts or just a subset of the fonts. To embed all fonts, you have to enter 0% in ‘Subset Fonts When Percent of Characters Used is Less Than’.
- Finally, click ‘Export’. Depending on the resolution quality, the export process may take a few moments.
Important! Embedding Restrictions
InDesign only allows embedding of "TrueType" and "OpenType" fonts. "Type-1" fonts cannot be embedded, your document will change during export. If you would like a font other than the default, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, send us the licensed font via email@example.com.
To check your font type, select the ‘Type’ drop menu and choose ‘Find Font’. A window will display the fonts currently being used in the document. Select a font and click the ‘More Info’ button to display additional information. Check under ‘Type’ to make sure you are using a font that can be embedded.
Step-by-step: how do I prepare my design for printing (InDesign)?
Step 1. Bleed settings
So that all pages of your document have the correct bleed of 2mm and you don´t have to do this page by page later, it´s best to set up your document with the right bleed before you start working on it.
Go to file --> New --> Document. Then choose 2mm under "Bleed and Slug" at the bottom of the new document window.
If you´ve already created your InDesign document, set the bleed under File --> Document Setup.
Step 2. Export your design
When you are happy with your design, choose export in the "File" dropdown menu. Give your file a name and choose "Adobe PDF (Print) format.
This will lead you to the PDF settings. Make sure your settings match the below screenshots:
If you choose Adobe preset "PDF/X-3:2002", "PDF/X-3:3002" as Standard and under Compatability "PDF 1.3", the correct color profile will automatically be set.
Set the bicubic downsampling to at least 300 pixels per inch.
2.3. Marks and Bleeds
Ensure this is set to 2mm!
In this step, you choose whether InDesign should convert colors to CMYK.
- Under Color Conversion choose "no colour conversion"
- If (as in the screenshot below), you have RGB images in your file, choose "Convert to destination (Preserve Numbers)"
- Ensure that the Output Intent Profile Name is "ISO Coated v2 300%"
You don´t need to change anything here.
Here you find a summary of your settings.
Now, click on "Export" and upload your design to your direct mail campaign!