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February 6th, 2014

Is Preflight and Prepress the Same?

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by Shane Stedron

FSC-Paper-for-Book-Printing

Well, first thing’s first: let’s answer the title question.

Is Prepress and Preflight the same?
No, they are not the same thing.

That was simple, right? Of course, if you’re fairly new to the subject of preflight and prepress, you’re probably still looking for a bit more information.

Preflight

Preflight is the process used to inspect electronic layout and art files before they are allowed to enter the production workflow. Preflighting is simply one step in the larger prepress process.

It is a series of checks that are preformed in various ways to make sure that the job will print without error. This typically involves the use of several different applications and may require sending files through a Raster Image Processor. Preflighting is designed to discover any potential print problems before any printing takes place.

Raster Image Processor, usually abbreviated RIP, is what translates electronic files into printable data.

Prepress

Electronic prepress is the department that is responsible for all production procedures that lead to final print production. Prepress activities have traditionally included the following:

- Typesetting
- Preflighting
- Production Planning
- File Management
- Archiving
- File Corrections
- Proofing
- Workflow Management
- Scanning
- Color Correcting
- Color Management
- Imposition
- Separation
- RIPping
- Plate production

How Digital Printing is Changing Print Production

With the continuing rise of digital printing, the line between prepress and press production has blurred. Traditional offset printing presses require very skilled and experienced operators to produce a great looking, sellable product. It is both an art and a science.

By comparison, digital presses have a more straight forward – albeit less flexible – way of getting an image on paper. Digital devices require a greater technical and less mechanical aptitude to operate effectively. Because of this, it is not uncommon for prepress operators to be tasked with digital print production.

Technology has decreased almost all phases of the production cycle over the last several decades. What used to take weeks to produce is now delivered in days. It’s probably safe to say that in the future, what takes us days to now will be done in a matter of hours.

One thing is for certain, your prepress operator will be there helping to make your project a reality. To get started on yours, head to our quote page for a custom price today.

Image Source: Flickr