I have a friend who is also a graphic designer, has little experience in prepress, but has a nice portfolio and seems to have a good knowledge of using the Adobe products. I can't dismiss his opinion on Adobe files.
The other day, he started arguing that a PDF/x was better for all kinds of print-ready files no matter what. As a designer with a lot of prepress experience, I simply prepare my print-ready PDF to be "standard" PDF and I have never encountered any weird issues with transparency or anything "scary" on the PDFs (eg. fragmented images or white squares around masks).
I send my files all around the world to be ripped on new and old systems; they need to be fully compatible as I cannot always approve the proof myself.
I already know about the basics to get the maximum quality for a print layout.
I'm skeptical about the value of using PDF/x if:
- My pictures are all done in Photoshop and flattened (eps)
- My vectors are from Illustrator without any transparency or blending modes. Texts are vectorized (eps)
- Everything is imported in an InDesign or QuarkXpress file, again without using any shadow or transparency in these two programs.
- Finally, my PDF gets optimized in Adobe Acrobat Pro and my files are rarely larger than 5MB (for files of 90MB+ when not optimized)
- I usually need a web version as well of these PDFs with bookmarks and hyperlinks, and they need to be around 500-700kb
Am I missing something about PDF/x? What would be the benefits for me to use a PDF/x instead of a "normal" PDF for print-ready and digital web design? Is there any reason why I should switch to PDF/x or is it only for designers who use InDesign and Illustrator with transparency and blending effects?
I thought PDF/x was mainly good for layout using transparency and fancy effects but maybe I'm a dinosaur with my boring standard PDF. My designs really don't suffer from my way of using this software and I still use transparency and effects but rarely in vector mode. I did some research online but usually they only mention how these PDF/x files are fully compatible but it looks like they only refer to the new RIP.
I'd like an answer a bit more concrete than just "because it's better."