Overprinting Issues - Who's fault? Any good way to prevent?
So I've run into an issue with a client who supplied a file with mixed cmyk/pantone, and one of the pantone colors used is set to overprint on one line of text only. Unfortunately, this was not caught by visual checks, and I am unaware of an easy way to find this prior to ripping a proof. I have checks currently in my preflighting profiles to check for overprint white, but the issue has occurred in this case on a pantone yellow color.
I know how to fix this once I know the problem exists, and the majority of overprinting issues are caught before we ever get to press, but the question I have is who would ultimately be responsible for the reprint of the job? Would the client pay for this in a typical situation because it is their supplied PDF file, or would the print shop take responsibility? If the latter is true, I would assume there has to be a good way of finding this error for any color other than white, but I currently don't know of a method for this. Any input on this topic and/or ways to find the issue more easily would be much appreciated!
What visual checks are you talking about? Was the client asked to approve the visual check. What kind of file did the client supply? I expect the answer will be PDF supplied file and PDF proof. If it was PDF, then how did they view it? Overprint on?
The customer viewed their PDF without overprint, the default in reader. The supplied file was a PDF. The job went to press without customer approval, as the vast majority of our jobs do.
The visual checks I was speaking of were my own that I do when I receive the file. Mostly we rip a PDF proof to check for any anomalies caused by the rip, and check the overprinting on the job. In most cases I catch an error such as this before it ever makes it to press, but being that it's purely by sight it rarely does get missed.
If you generate a PDF/X-1a proof for the client, Acrobat will automatically enable over-print preview. Of course, there's still no guarantee that they will notice it (especially if it's a light color).
In this situation, I unfortunately think the liability falls with the printer. While getting customer approvals can be a challenging and slow down your production process, they provide security for situations that you described. If the customer "signed off" on a proof and then complained about the printout, you have a "get out of jail free" card. Granted if they did not view the PDF properly, you could still have some problems.
How are you making your proofs? You mentioned "ripping" your proofs. Are you provided them an objected based PDF? You could try providing a rasterized PDF (depends on your workflow and type of jobs).
Premedia Software Inc.
We would probably end up eating the job, but IMO it's the customer's problem. Overprinting exists for a reason and some people do know how to use it properly. Imagine they did want that color to overprint and you disabled it. Now, that would definitely be the printer's fault. Basically the customer told the software what they wanted and now don't like the result. What if they had made a line of copy a blue color but had really wanted red, would that be the printers fault as well? The only thing that makes this situation different is the customer's ignorance of the boxes they were clicking.
But like I said, we'd probably eat it. And I doubt that sending the customer a proof would have helped either. I can imagine our customers still expecting us to rerun the job even if they signed off on it . . .
And that, in a nutshell, is why most printers can't make a profit.
Originally Posted by kansasquaker
Not to mention all racing each other to the bottom on pricing and attempting to beat each on the lowest price.
Originally Posted by gordo
Greg brings up a good point that is often repeated on this website - use and encourage the use of PDF print standards and Acrobat Reader or Pro for softproof proofing, not another PDF viewer (it using say Prinergy InSite PrePress Portal or InSite Creative Workflow, then it is of course OK to use SmartReview client for softproof approval).
When previewing the CMYK+Spot image in Acrobat Pro or perhaps other prepress software such as Virtual Proofing in Prinergy, when viewing the separations - start with a composite view. Then toggle on/off the spot colour, you should be able to see the knockout vs. overprint.
Last edited by Stephen Marsh; 08-06-2012 at 07:12 PM.
In addition to all the excellent advice already posted, I will make one additional comment based on the old joke.
Customer: It never prints right when I use overprinting.
Printer: So don't use overprinting.
Obviously, getting customers to do the right thing isn't going to happen .
However, in this case, you have an under-documented tool in Acrobat to help you. -- "Overprint Flattening"
Like Transparency Flattening, where transparency is removed but the exact look of the document is maintained using traditional printing methods. Overprint flattening will remove all aspects of overprint from the document while giving you a document that looks exactly as it should!
It's one of the default FixUps in Preflight and you can use it directly from Preflight, assign it to an Action or create a droplet or ... It's a GREAT tool for your arsenal in dealing with less-than-qualified users.
This is very easy to detect with for example Esko's Viewer for Illustrator where you can highlight overprints.
Another option could be to use the "select by attributes" tool where you can select all overprint object.
If you need a real pdf editor (non destructive) you should have a look at NEO. You have the same functionality there.
Last edited by Simon Ivarsson; 08-07-2012 at 01:55 AM.
Reason: working for esko