Best practices for using the InDesign Plug-in

1. Keep it simple

  • Use our InDesign plug-in to create and upload a print-ready file.
    • The plug-in creates blank templates in the correct size and specs we require.
    • Do not modify your document page size or it will fail our preflight check or need to be re-sized (which can distort your artwork).
    • Yes, those odd numbers you see in the document setup are indeed the correct size.
    • You may add pages to or subtract pages from the document prior to creating your cover file.
    • Do not add printer marks of any kind. We'll add any necessary marks on the back end. If you add marks of your own, they'll appear in your printed book. 
  • If you already have a non-Blurb InDesign file we recommend manually copying and pasting your content into a blank template from our plug-in. 

2. Set your InDesign color settings

  • Open InDesign.
  • Go to Edit > Color Settings.
  • Select the options shown below. You can either download and install the Blurb ICC profile or choose CMYK US Web Coated (SWOP) v2.indesign_color_settings.png
  • Also go to Edit > Transparency Blend Space and select Document CMYK. This will make any over-lapping elements consistent.

3. Don’t use spot or registration color

  • Convert all spot/pantone color to CMYK prior to uploading your PDF.
    • Some spot colors can be converted at the press to a mix of CMYK, but depending on the complexity of your design (drop shadows, etc.) they may not translate correctly. This is why Blurb recommends not using spot colors at all. 
  • Registration color (100% of all four inks) is just that–to check the registration of the color–and should be avoided when designing your book.
    • Black backgrounds should generally not exceed 300% total ink coverage.
    • Black text should almost always be K only (0,0,0,100).

4. Avoid overly complex vector art

  • Convert complex vector art using this method to help reduce the likelihood of problems when your PDF reaches the press.
    • Overly complex vector art embedded in PDF files (such as architectural drawings) can cause great strain at the print device and result in print failure. A page with this type of content can contain thousands of paths that are not easily seen when visually reviewing a PDF, nor is there a way to catch this prior to sending the file to press.
  • All artwork that appears to display slowly when reviewing the exported PDF (giving the page an animated look) should be converted to a raster image prior to export. 

5. Make your cover only after you complete your pages design

  • Do not create your cover template from the plug-in until you have the exact page count of your book. This will create a correctly sized cover for your book.

6. Correctly review your exported PDF

  • In Acrobat/Adobe Reader make sure the following are set in preferences:
    • View -> Page Display menu of the PDF, select Two-Up and Show Cover Page During Two-Up
    • Preferences > Page Display > de-select Use Local Fonts
    • Preferences > Page Display > set Use Overprint Preview to Always

7. Design out to the bleed

  • All exported PDFs include a bleed that will be trimmed when sent to print.
    • If content is to “bleed” off the page make sure to place it at least to the red bleed line, not at the black trim line.

8. Order a proof

  • Even with preflights and careful review of the final PDFs we highly recommend ordering a single copy of your book prior to placing a larger order to ensure that everything is correct.
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