The site for prepress & print devotees

Prepressure covers design techniques, PDF, PostScript, fonts, JDF and numerous other prepress topics that have to do with printed communication and graphic arts.

Bigger and better

In 2011 I learned about photochrome prints and added dozens of examples of such prints to the site. In those days, image size was still crucial, so all images were 450 pixels wide with a filesize of around 35K. By today’s standards that is ridiculous so I am busy replacing all the images by versions that are 1000 pixels wide and 100K large. This time around, a second 1MB version is saved as well, to prepare for the internet of 2030. Enjoy!

Old postcard of Bruges
One of the pictures from the page on photochromes of Belgium

Browsing the World Digital Library

Got some free time on your hands due to the Corona pandemic? Head over to the World Digital Library, enter a topic or event that interests you and dive in books, magazines, pamphlets, pictures. movies or artifacts that cover the subject. Admittedly the number of clay tablets discussing the latest Apple iPhone SE might be limited.

The whitepaper workflow

I frequently use Wikipedia but always have my reservations about its accuracy. Case in point: recently I stumbled across the Wikipedia page about Prinergy, the Kodak prepress workflow. On 15 April 2020, this is how Wikipedia defines Prinery: ‘It is a client/server system that integrates Whitepaper creation, job proofing, imposition, and a raster image processor into one unified workflow.’

‘Whitepaper creation’? Seriously? In the page’s history, you see someone tried to replace this by ‘postscript/pdf’ but for some reason, that change did not make it in the current revision. ‘Whitepaper’ first made its appearance in 2014, so the incorrect definition has been there for six years now.

This reminds me of the time I volunteered to edit Wikipedia pages and added a sentence to the page about RIPS, stating that these are sometimes called renderers. The change got rejected because it was not considered valid. I provided links to Agfa and Heidelberg webpages talking about the renderer in their workflows. The main editor rejected this as proof, so I gave up on trying to contribute to Wikipedia. Don’t expect me to fix that amusing Prinergy entry any time soon.

The 2020 reboot

During 2019 nothing much happened with this site but now it is back with a fresh new design. I also intend to once again add content on a regular basis. Watch this space!

Banknote of the year

There is always room for the ‘banknote of the year’ on the history pages of this site. For the second year in a row the honors go to Switzerland, this time for their 10 Franc note.

Switzerland 10 Franc banknote

New poll: popular Acrobat plug-ins

Cast your vote in the poll to the right, asking you which Adobe Acrobat plug-ins you frequently use for prepress work. Figuring out which plug-ins to include was a chore since I could not find an up-to-date list of popular tools. Surely there must be some magazine or blog getting tired of republishing press releases and instead write a useful article about this?

The previous poll asked visitors about the most relevant social media channels for the graphic arts industry.

Will 2018 be a fertile year for print?

It might very well be, judging by this recent Ikea magazine ad created by Swedish agency Åkestam Holst. It encourages women to pee on the page. If they are pregnant, a special discounted price on cribs will be revealed. The technology is similar to that in pregnancy-test kits.

pregnancy test in printed Ikea ad

Stamps stampede

It’s a bit sad that it takes a popular television series to get people excited about print. I am, of course, talking about the Game Of Thrones postage stamps issued in the United Kingdom by Royal Mail.

postage stamps

Celebrating the twentieth anniversary

In 1997 I got so fed up with troubleshooting RIP issues and the lack of information about this topic that I decided to create a site about PostScript errors. Twenty years and over 16 million page views later, I am still busy adding pages and updating content. Thanks for coming by and don’t forget to check out new articles from time to time in the next 20 years!

Who’s the biggest of the big metal boys?

Statista sometimes publishes interesting data about the printing industry. The graph below shows the 2010 market share of sheet-fed offset printing machine manufacturers. I knew Heidelberger Druckmaschinen is the biggest but I did not realize they dominate this market that much.

2010 market share sheetfed offset press manufacturers

One for the text books

Normally mistakes with filler text involve Lorem Ipsum but any placeholder text can be overlooked in the rush to get to press. It cannot get much worse than this, tweeted by @ChrisRandWrites.

mistake with filler text

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: MacPaint blew me away when I first saw it –… #Apple #history #prepress


Social media poll is asking visitors which social media channel is the most relevant for printing companies. I am actually curious about that myself but think that for this site expanding the scope to the entire graphic arts industry makes more sense. Please cast your vote in the poll to the right and then like it, pin it or tweet about it.

Jost cartoon - more ink for longer tweets

The previous poll asked visitors which types of files they send to a printing company or receive as a printer.

New page on bottling

A big part of what prepress programs do is dealing with various physical properties of paper and ink. Case in point: handling bottling in imposition software.

Musings on e-reading: cover art

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History

I am slowly working my way through ‘On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand-Year History’. Instead of reading a book covering such a topic on paper – as one would expect – I actually bought the ebook version.  It is a bit cheaper and you can download it immediately instead of having to wait for delivery. I can take the book (and a few dozen others) with me in my coat and frankly I don’t really find that paper itself adds that much to the reading experience. There are very few types of paper that have a distinct and enjoyable feel to them and those are never used in paperbacks. The contrast between ink and paper is excellent but on the other hand, my Kindle’s front-lit screen is a joy to read in the evening or on gloomy days. Don’t even get me started on ‘the smell of paper’. I much prefer not to smell books at all.

Prepress Pete is tweeting

Friday flashback: For travellers Baedeker guides were ‘the Google of its time’ –… #history #printing #publishing

Comic Sans typeface example

PDF metadata

Much to my surprise, the page about PDF metadata is one of the ten most popular pages on this site. It needed to be updated and for that, I relied on ‘Developing with PDF’ by Leonard Rosenthol. For PDF-related stuff, you cannot go wrong with a book whose author uses @pdfsage as his Twitter handle.

XMP metadata

Interesting graphic arts sites and blogs

The economy is doing well so printers in Germany have trouble finding new employees. To appeal to the current generation of young professionals BVDM, the German Association of print and media, has started campaigns called ‘Gestochen scharf’ and ‘Perfekt veredelt’. As you can see they clearly target the hipster generation and their (assumed?) love for color and detail.

BVDM campaign to recruit graphic arts professionals

I learned about the above campaign through the newsletter of,  an excellent news site about graphic communication. Other interesting resources are Insights4print by Eddy Hagen and the newsletter and blog of

Visiting the museum of lithography

I finally managed to visit the ‘Steendrukmuseum’ in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands and snap some pictures of the stoneprinting presses and artwork. The ‘Brisset’ press below is the oldest one on display, built around 1880 in France.

Brisset stoneprinting press

Common PDF issues

Based on the results of a recent GWG survey the page about common PDF issues has been updated. Sadly the main issues that PDF users struggle with are largely the same from the old list created in 2008:

  • Low-res images
  • Incorrect color spaces
  • Missing bleed
  • Missing fonts
  • Transparency issues


PDF 2.0 has been released

In 2007 Adobe handed over the PDF file format to ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. It took that organization ten years to come up with a new version of the PDF specifications. Earlier this month that finally happened when ISO released PDF 2.0. In the short run this will not have much impact but the new functions will gradually start being used by design and prepress applications. A short description of the new features and improvements can be found on the page about PDF versions.

I for one welcome our new PDF overlords

Follow us on Twitter

If you would like to know when new content appears on this site, please follow us. If you are somewhat less serious, consider following Prepress Pete, our in-house village idiot.


Older comments can be found here.