Graphic designers: I need a CS4 tutorial that focuses on printing/pre-flight/overprint/traps, etc.

During my career I’ve always used Illustrator as a secondary application to the one I was actually ripping/printing from (i.e. placed illustrator files). Yesterday I didn’t ace a prospective employer’s Illustrator test due to my lack of knowledge about how Illustrator handles (where you identify/control/set) print settings with regard to color, trapping, overprinting.

Every online tutorial I’ve checked out since then (I obviously need some training on how ALL the other apps handle printing) has been tools/styles/effects/interface-focused, but didn’t go anywhere near printing.


In the past I’ve liked the “Real World” series of books (e.g. Real World Illustrator, Real World InDesign, Real World Color Management). I haven’t looked at recent editions, but I’d be kind of surprised if they didn’t cover that stuff. I kind of just learned it as I went, but that was a long time ago (ca. PageMaker 4 and Photoshop 2)…

As a designer I’ve always happily dumped the printing decisions on the printer. It sounds like you’re trying for a job in the printing industry. Good luck, but I can’t help much.

Here’s the Adobe Illustrator Help section that discusses printing setup, trapping, and overprinting.

I don’t find Adobe’s own help files to be too bad, myself. But, then again, I’ve been trained on CS2, so I only needed to catch up on the differences.

I’m not a big tutorial user, but functionality within Illustrator is pretty easy to find…

As far as I know, overprinting is set on an object-by-object basis via the Attributes panel, the type of color (spot vs. process) can be controlled via the Swatches panel. And trapping is done via an object-by-object basis via the Pathfinder palette.

You could hire my husband.