A tough part of working in the media design industry is understanding all the different ways there are of printing. Fortunately, there is one industry standard printing file format that is used across most 2D printing processes. Adobe Systems has done a great job of creating a universal file format that can be read across any computer. Anyone can view these files for free who has downloaded the software Acrobat Reader. There are several other distinct advantages to working with PDFs that will be discussed further in this article.
Adobe Systems has been a huge force in the paper-to-digital revolution. In 1991 they set out with the goal to:
enable anyone to capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print them on any machine.
By 1992 they had achieved that with the creation of the PDF. This is the most trusted print format by businesses across the world. PDF is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Portable Document Format
The most appealing benefit of using PDF files is the fact they can be accessed by everybody and not just media designers. This means the same file being approved by a client can be sent off to the printer with little discrepancies. Clients can feel assured when they receive their PDF files. They will be free to take them to any printer for a long time to come and receive the same quality print every time.
As a media designer working on a print project, you typically have to combine different image & design files into one final print file. These separate files have different data structures to encode their graphics. Image file formats are raster graphics while design files are typically vector graphics, these are discussed in another post. PDFs are capable of containing both of these graphics types. This means all of a print project’s assets can contain their maximum image quality since no data is lost in translation.
File is Editable
When creating high-quality print PDF files all assets contained are editable individually. The PDF can be opened in any graphic production software as if it were a design file. This makes it simple to modify the final print file because you can modify specific assets and don’t have to start from scratch.
PDFs contain a high level security encryption when a password is added to the file. So if a print project is of high importance clients can rest assured high priority files wont fall into the wrong hands.