One aspect of where a designer earns his corn is when dealing with commercial printers and supplying them with properly formatted design files. For many, this might simply be a case of “collecting for output” in your layout software of choice (InDesign, Quark etc.).
We’re better than that, though, yes? We take time to acquaint ourselves with the whole pre-press and press methods so that our print jobs run as smooth as possible.
So, you have received a final approval on your design project and it is time to put the message in print. What an exciting time. You have written your instructions to the printer in great detail, you have packaged your CD carefully… you have written the address of the printer you have chosen on the package and you have handed it to the Fed-Ex guy.
Then comes the phone call. The printer doesn’t have the fonts, the files don’t work, the paper you ordered isn’t made anymore and you forgot to add bleeds in your files, and when your head is reeling and you’re freaking out, they tell you they can’t possibly make your deadline.
Now what happens?
Greg Stalter over at Photoshop Cafe has written an indepth article covering the main ideas.