All graphic designers and art directors have their own preference as to how they want to receive files. Usually, I am forwarding my illustrations to a graphic designer or art director to add copy and place in a layout before he or she sends it to a printer. I always find out ahead of time how they want the files. Do they want an Adobe Illustrator layered file? Photoshop file? JPEG? If there is a bleed, what size do they want?
Before I email final files, I thoroughly go through each one with my mental checklist. My clients usually want CMYK Adobe Illustrator files. Here is how I prepare them.
- I double check that I have an appropriate bleed setup. Unless otherwise specified, I make sure it is at least 1/4″ and crop marks are included.
- I unlock all layers and objects > select all> then go to Edit> Edit Colors> Convert to CMYK
- Then I look in my swatches panel for any stray PMS colors. I go to Swatches> Select All Unused> then click the trash can and get rid of them. Unnecessary PMS swatches in a CMYK file are very annoying to printers.
- I look through all the layers and get rid of any that are no longer needed. Sometimes, when clients request revisions or try out different solutions to an illustration problem, I will keep previous ideas in layers in case I need to go back to them. I want to make sure they are gone before sending a final file. They can make the final file size larger than needed.
- If I need to make the file size smaller and my client doesn’t need layered files, I go to Layers> Flatten Artwork to put all the layers into one.
- I save all the “checked and prepared” files in a new folder named “Final Files” so that I don’t get them confused with previously saved versions.
Then they are compressed if sending via email or they are uploaded to a client’s FTP site or Drop Box or sent via We-Transfer.
And there you have it. That’s how I usually end a project and send it out the door so to speak.