Your print project is wrapping up and you’re ready to get it off to the printers. It’s a climactic point and everyone from designer to project manager to stakeholder is happy to check it off their list. But don’t rush off too fast. There are key files you need to have before you part ways.
As the owner of the finished artwork make sure to get all the bits and pieces you paid for, just in case you need them down the line.
Working files. These are the files that any designer can make any edits to copy, color, layout, or anything thereof. You may not have the software to access these files, but as long as you have them in your hands you can give them to any future designer to work with them. These files are typically with file extensions .ai, .psd, or .indd.
Final mechanicals. These are the files that go to the printer. There may be things in there that are no longer editable. For example, text should be outlined so that the files are printed exactly how you approved of them. These files can be AI, PDF, EPS, JPG or others.
Purchased fonts. Don’t forget these precious files. They may be unique to the artwork and not live on many computer systems. Whether you purchased a bundle or a single typeface, make sure to get this so your working files can be edited without having to be completely recreated or substituted. Look for OTF or TTF when you get your final deliverables.
Supporting files. Final designs can be composites of photos, drawings, or other assets. Don’t leave any behind. Sometimes working files are using links to these creative assets and don’t actually have them embedded.
You never know when you’ll be needing a new designer. Keep these files organized and ready to go when you’ll be having to hand them to the next designer.
Now you can admire and enjoy your print job with peace of mind.