This article demonstrates bleed, CMYK, spot colors and PDFX1a creation by producing a business card layout indesign export pdf color change. Applicable to all document layouts.
We’ll create both spot color and 4 color process versions. The purpose of this website is to demonstrate essential skills which are required for your first graphic design job – I’m going to assume that you already have a some background training and a good eye for design. If you’d like to know about the basics of how to design and design theory, there are some excellent websites and books at your disposal. We’ll focus on the former. We’re going to set this document up with bleed, which means that the elements on the page will ‘bleed off’ onto the paste board. The final artwork will require crop marks to guide the print finisher where to cut it out. Usually at least 3mm bleed is required for most documents.
I always play it safe and set the file up with 5mm bleed. Don’t worry about the ‘slug’ setting – this dictates where additional textual information is shown within the printer’s registration marks – it’s not essential information for now. Just enter a 5mm margin all the way around. This would be larger for a bigger document, and if it proves to be too small it can be altered later.
Our card will be ‘landscape’ in aspect. Select ‘portrait’ if you prefer. You’ll be presented with a document as shown below. The black outline indicates the edge of the document itself – 85mm wide by 55mm high. The inner pink border is the 5mm margin, and the outer red border is the 5mm bleed.
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. As with all files I save, best practice is to keep the file name short but clear just in case you need to search through the archives for it in years to come. I’ll import the two color version as this is a spot color job. These are the swatches you should use for the other elements of the design. After importing a vector graphic you’ll probably find that it doesn’t look too good on screen.
In the swatches palette you’ll see a little grey box to the right of the color squares. If they have a little circle inside them, they are spot colors. The others are process colors. This is where what knowledge you have of design comes into play – use the toolbar to create text and areas of colour to design your card. Alternatively, you can simply copy the simple design I have created below.
Just remember to only use the two spot colors in your palette. You can use tints of them if you wish by filling an area or element of text with, say, the Pantone 200 red, and then opening your Color palette and moving the tint slider up or down as required. I like things nice and ordered. My effort is shown below. Set up the documents correctly at the start and you’ll save yourself time and money later. On my card I’ve used white text – this adds variety and doesn’t constitute an additional color – the white areas will be the color of whatever paper stock is used.
They are simply clear areas which have been untouched by ink. I’ve also brought in a grayscale photo which has had the two colors applied to it using both the Selection tool and Direct Selection tool. We end up with a two color card which seems to have more colors because of the the variety of content and gradients. Normal’ mode and ‘Preview’ mode. Preview mode will hide all guides and crop in to the edges of the document so you can get a great idea of how the final result will look.
Separations’ from the popup view menu, you can turn the plates on and off to ensure that you have only used two colors. The two spot colors will appear at the bottom. Turn these two off, leave the CMYK colors on and see if any of your artwork remains visible. If it does, you’ve used some process colors by mistake and must change them to spot colors. This is because all color plates are actually the same monochromatic color – it’s only when the ink is applied to the rollers that the decision is made to use the spot color of your choice. Never forget about this human intervention at the printing stage – if you’re working in a digital world day after day it’s easy to forget that the printing environment is much more ‘hands-on’ than that of a design studio.