What is PrePress?

Prepress is the terminology used to define processes that happens before printing and finishing. Since several publications nowadays are published both in print and electronic media, many shared processes are referred to as premedia services instead.

PrePress Processes
The prepress processes which are mentioned below may take place at single location, like large publishing or printing house, or at different places. Generally, few tasks happen at a publisher end while few take place at a dedicated prepress company (which are also known as service bureaus or trade shops).

Design: Since the advent of desktop publishing, several people in the printing industry don’t take design to be a prepress task.

The design process includes following things
Preparation of data, which comprises of copyediting and product photography, for example for a mail order catalogue.

Making the layout is done by using one of the principal computer design application such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. Sometimes people take usage of tools like Microsoft Office or Publisher. There is also a extensive range of specialized applications are available for tasks like database publishing.

The rectification sequence contains processes like proofreading and image retouching, for which Adobe Photoshop is the best application available in the market.

Preflighting: Before finished pages go through the rest of the processes, a validation needs to be done to check if all the data meet the critical production requirements.

Proofing: During the design phase, page proofs were already being created. Proofs are also done by the company which is responsible for the printing. This is done for internal checks of the impositioning as well as for the customers who need to sign off the proofs for approval.

Hardcopy proofing is still very popular in the case of adequate time for it and for color critical or expensive jobs.

Imposition: Number of pages will be united into signatures as per the final output device.

To output data, pages or complete flats have to be ripped or rendered. This process also includes:

transparency flattening: transparency effects like drop shadows behind text need to be fixed.
screening
trapping
managing colors
color partition

Some people delay the above-mentioned processes to the last moment. This is commonly known as late binding.

Most of the above-mentioned processes are automated nowadays, with the help of either stand-alone applications or prepress workflow systems. The automation process also allows for more intricate communication processes:
Exchanging data like the final layout can still happen with the help of a DVD. Earlier people used to use the original layout file(s) and all associated images, fonts and other data. Nowadays, instead PDF files are used instead.

Nowadays use of internet has increased for submitting jobs. This is also known as web-to-print.

When the data exchange is purely dependent on page content, solutions like FTP server or e-mail or file sharing tools such as DropBox or YouSendIt are used. A more sophisticated web portal can add functions such as preflighting and page approval.