Although I've been working as a designer for a number of years, I feel a little inexperienced in preparing documents for print (a lot of my past work has been designing for digital).

I'm looking for some recommended reading material (preferably in book form) to help me get clued up on the matter... covering all of the nitty gritty stuff such as ink limits, overprinting, and loads of other terms that I've probably never even heard of.

I thought I best get clued up on it properly before I have some kind of print disaster resulting in any angry clients, any advice would be great


2 Answers 2


Great question by the way. First off we're fortunate to live in an age where a properly built PDF will get you perfect prints (or near perfect) most of the time with most printers. Meaning the tools and processes are getting to a point where the designer typically does not need to worry (much) about the finer details of print production. So that out of the way...

The number one resource is a printer - talk with them and you can glean a ton of insight into the terminology, technology and processes of modern-day printing.

The next best resource is any online forums where printers might congregate. Back in the news-net days (NNTP - before forums) there was a great place called... comp.print I think. Anyway, tons of professional printers congregating there and talking shop. It was a fun place to hang out and learn. Probably where I picked up a good 80% of my print best practices knowledge.

And as you specifically asked for a book recommendation: I like Alan Pipe's Production for Graphic Designers which provides a good overview of... well, pretty much anything a graphic designer is likely to run into production-wise.

  • thanks for the tips! do you think there are any forums out there in this increasingly digital world where printers may congregate? cheers for the book recommendation too... will definitely have to add that to my reading list!
    – user23891
    Mar 9, 2015 at 20:30
  • A Google search brought up this: printplanet.com/forums/prepress-workflow-discussion. I don't know about quality though - you'll likely just need to find a bunch of forums and lurk for a while to see which ones seem to collect the best/most useful information.
    – bemdesign
    Mar 9, 2015 at 21:33
  • cool thanks! I was taking a look at this book too, quite recent and covers Adobe CC — amzn.to/1wVlK3X — think I may go for that and the one you mentioned
    – user23891
    Mar 10, 2015 at 7:19
  • @pealo86 - skimming through the Amazon previews, that also looks like a decent book.
    – bemdesign
    Mar 10, 2015 at 11:59

Forms folds and Sizes by Poppy Evans is an excellent book and it's relatively inexpensive.

I read it back to back and I also come back to it whenever I need something specific.

A bit about what the book chapters:

  • Copyright and proofreading
  • Color and Imaging
  • Type
  • Paper
  • Grid design
  • Binding and folds
  • Envelopes and folders
  • Packaging
  • Postar standars, Bar code standars
  • Printing and finishing
  • Green design
  • Online design (not the best... but who cares?)
  • Core design jobs

Very recommended!


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