OVERPRINT WHITE TEXT
IN DESKTOP PUBLISHING

AN EXAMPLE FROM REAL LIFE

 

In the course of designing the catalogue for the Münchner Stoff Frühling 2014 (a big textile exhibition in Munich), I also placed a full page advertisement of Ralph Lauren Home. I got sent two separate files: a jpg file for the photo and an ai file for the logo. When placing these files into Adobe Indesign, my manually preset Preflight warned me of "Content contains overprint of white". So the white logo would be overprinted by the background photo and thus disappear (see photo on the left). This article shows you how to discover and erase such errors so the advertisement can be printed correctly (see photo on the right).

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LAY THE IDEAL FOUNDATIONS: PRESET PREFLIGHT CORRECTLY

In order to even discover the error of "overprint white", Preflight has to be preset in a certain way (Preflight is a kind of warning system that shows you problems in Indesign). Standard settings are of no help here. When designing magazines for print, I always work with a specifically set Preflight profile that I created for this purpose. One of the things I want to be made aware of, is "Overprints white or (paper) colour". Activating this, Preflight warns you with a red light if a white or paper coloured object is overprinted and thus made invisible in the printing process. Of course you must not forget to always run that specific Preflight profile in the background or checking the file in the end with it!

Generating a new Preflight profile - activating "Overprints white or (paper) colour"
(German in this photo: "Überdrucken auf Weiß oder (Papier)-Farbe angewendet")

the wrong profile (standard - German in this photo: "Grundprofil") does not discover the error and does not warn you

the manually generated profile discovers the error and warns you

SOLVING THE CORE PROBLEM: EDIT SOURCE DATA IN ILLUSTRATOR

Solving the problem lies in editing the white logo (ai file) in Adobe Illustrator. I added a colour background on a layer underneath the logo for better visibility. Then I switched to the Overprint Preview (in the View menu). Here I could once again see that the "Ralph Lauren" lettering would really not be printed.

under View - Overprint Preview (German in this photo: "Ansicht" - "Überdruckenvorschau") Adobe Illustrator shows, what is printed and what is not printed

Overprint Preview in Adobe Illustrator: "Home" would be printed, "Ralph Lauren" would not be printed

 

Then I had to format the "Ralph Lauren" lettering so it would not be overprinted:

Window - Attributes (German in the photo: "Fenster" - "Attribute")

select "Ralph Lauren"

deactivate "Overprint" (German in the photo: "Fläche überdrucken")
(Remark: I deactivated the overprint in Adobe Illustrator CS4. In Illustrator CC you can do this in the print profile under File - Document Settings.)
 

 

SOLVING THE PROBLEM IN INDESIGN: RE-LINK THE SOURCE FILE

The white "Ralph Lauren" lettering in the source file is not being overprinted any more. I relinked the corrected ai file in Indesign. My specifically set Preflight profile showed a green light so there were no problems any more. This file could be printed without problems then.

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ADOBE ACROBAT PRO: A LAST CHECK

 

Adobe Acrobat Pro offers further checks before a pdf file gets forwarded to a printing company. Here I could do a last check if the file really looks fine when being printed. Also here, I worked with a Preflight function.

Advanced - Preflight ... - PDF analysis - Potential overprint problems - double click 
(German in this photo: "PDF-Analyse" - "Potenzielle Überdrucken-Probleme") 

Preflight warning with the original ai source file

Preflight warning with the corrected ai source file (overprint white deactivated)

You can also download this topic as a free whitepaper.

A handy audio version of this topic can be found in this podcast:

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