Do not feel alone if you are uncertain how to package your Illustrator and/or InDesign CS6 print files or why it is important. This is a common struggle that many deal with on a daily basis, but we are here to help you understand file packaging!
By definition, when packaging files, you essentially create a folder that contains the document, any necessary fonts, linked graphics, and a package report. Print vendors may not have access to all of the fonts and links used in your design, it is important that they have them when your file is ready to print. It would be pretty hard to shower without soap and shampoo, right?
Without access to the actual font files used, layout programs will substitute missing fonts with the default font, which may not always be close to the intended font. If the links are missing, a crucial photo, logo, or other graphical elements will be replaced with a low-resolution version. If print vendors were to just disregard these missing fonts and links, you can be assured that your print project will be nothing shy of a disaster.
When print vendors do not receive these fonts and links from the start the print process can be slowed down drastically, especially if you have no idea how to package files. If your projects are frequently time sensitive, it is strongly encouraged you learn how to send your files print ready. Keep reading to save yourself time and headaches!
Here is a step by step guide on packaging your Illustrator or InDesign project:
Step 1: Open the file that you need to package.
Step 2: Go to File, then Package.
Step 3: Choose the location for the packaged folder to be saved in.
Step 4: Name your folder.
Step 5: Specify your options:
- Copy linked graphics and files to the package folder location.
- Linked graphics can be placed in the same folder as the file or in a separate sub folder.
- Copy all necessary font files, not the entire font family.
- Create a report
- A summary report is created to accompany the packaged files. The summary includes spot color objects, all used and missing fonts, missing links, and details of all linked and embedded images.
Step 6: Click Package.
- The folder structure is created, with assets placed in their respective folders.
Step 7: Send your packaged folder to your print vendor.
For a visual on how to package files, check out the video below.
video credit: Rufus Deuchler.
Avalon is in no way affiliated with anyone who produced this tutorial or YouTube itself, I just found this video as a great way to show users what the packaging process looks like.
If you liked this blog you might also be interested in reading: Graphic Design Tips for Beginners