When using Adobe Illustrator how to create a press-ready vector image is the first and most fundamental lesson to learn if designing for print. Not so long reduce illustrator pdf file size, it was impossible or impractical to import a vector graphic into a layout program like Quark XPress unless it was saved as an EPS file.
AI file, containing all layers, type information etc. This method of working is ‘non-destructive’. We can always return to amend the original image without having to recreate it from scratch. If you work ‘destructively’ by flattening a working file you effectively destroy all the editable layers when you flatten the image or rasterise type. In summary, you’ll end up with two files – an AI editable file and a flattened EPS file for placement. If you work in this way you’ll always know to return to the AI for editing – and then to overwrite the EPS file for placement – never return to edit the EPS file. Set yourself a task and then see it through.
You’ll come up against obtacles that will force you to find a solution – and this is how you learn. That’s why actual work experience is so valuable, and highly prized by prospective graphic design employers. If you need help to solve any issue that the built-in help can’t solve, type the problem into Google, and chances are you’ll find a helpful forum to sort it out. Remember – you won’t be the first person to experience even the most obscure issue – you’ll always find a forum answer which has been left in response to someone else’s query, and which will solve your own. Below is a simple exercise that’ll take you through the basics of setting up a logo in Illustrator and preparing it for spot color printing.
You’ll then convert it for process color printing. I’m not going to get into design theory here – there are many sources of information and inspiration which you can draw on while you improve your design skills. I’m just going to look at the more technical details of setting up a press-ready vector shape design. This is an extremely basic exercise, but the procedures are exactly the same for any project, no matter how complex a graphic you’re creating.
The area surrounding the page is known as the ‘pasteboard’. First create the spot color version Select the text tool from the tool bar, click on the page and type PROphoto. Set the word ‘PRO’ to Arial Bold and ‘photo’ to Arial Regular using the Character palette. Create a square with the rectangle tool. Make it a perfect square by holding down the shift key while you drag to size the graphic – this will constrain it’s proportions. Position the square by eye so you’ll end up with the ‘PRO’ text positioned bottom right. If you need to adjust the kerning to increase the space between the ‘O’ and small ‘p’ of ‘photo’, add a space between the letters.
Select the space with the text tool, open the Character palette and either increase or reduce the tracking in the Character palette until you’re happy. The little submenu at the top right corner of the swatch palette will enable you to view in list view and show a search field. Pantone 200 will show up – click on it and a new swatch will automatically appear in the color swatches palette. Now type 107 into the search field and you’ll grab your second swatch in the same way. Select the ‘PRO’ text with the text tool and click on the Pantone 107 swatch in your swatches palette.
Then select the ‘photo’ text and click on the Pantone 200 swatch to color it red. Finally select the square with the selection tool and click on the Pantone 200 red swatch again. Adobe Illustrator How to save the working file This will be your AI working file, so save it as PROphoto_Logo. Notice that I use underscores instead of spaces in file names. This is a hangover from years of worrying about PC compatibility, so I still do it – you can have spaces if you want.
Best practice is to keep the file name short but clear just in case you need to search through endless archives for it in years to come. First, convert text to outlines to eliminate potential font problems later on, or if you need to e-mail the EPS file to a printer for any reason. You’ve just created a press-ready, two spot color logo! Let’s say we want to create a version for four color process printing for brochures or advertising usage. Double click on one of the Pantone swatches in the main swatches palette.
Where it says Color Mode, click the popup menu and change the selection to CMYK – then click on the Color Type popup and select Process Color. Now perform the same ritual with the second spot color. You’ve just created a four color process, press-ready vector graphic. No need to worry about resolution with these images. 4 Color Process Printing and Spot Color Printing – What’s the Difference? Small files will make it easier for your clients to open the files you send via email or share on your online project management system.