Collect for print + archive

Above is the simple, but clearly organized collection of files I created for the tutorial file I will use in class.

How to collect files manually:

  1. Create a unique folder for each project you work on.
  2. Name it clearly so you can search/find easily should you lose it
  3. Collect and place all fonts used in a ‘FONTS’ folder (for a list of fonts used follow this path: type>find font)
  4. Collect and place all linked ‘GRAPHICS’ (JPGs, PDFs, TIFFs, etc) in a ‘Links’ folder (for a list of linked graphics open the links window)

Remember, when in the process of working on a project things can get messy as you save files quickly and perhaps not to the correct folder. It’s important that when you’re ready to print (or store the project file for easy access later), that these folders are organized. There’s nothing worse than going back to a project, only to find that a font’s missing (and you don’t have it on the machine you’re using), or a graphic isn’t linked and isn’t included in the project folder.

I often do a final organization of materials once the project is complete, and place anything that was used in the process, but wasn’t used in the final piece in a folder called ‘PRELIM’ (preliminary), so that if I need to reference anything in my process, I can. This usually consists of text files, images that didn’t make the final, various rounds of the design and other odds and ends. With the affordability of storage these days, it’s worth the piece of mind.

Software for collection:
While InDesign has a feature that automatically collects and packages your native file, links and fonts neatly for you, Illustrator does not (unless it’s been added in recent versions that I’m not aware of). You can, however get software that will automatically collect your files for you. Here’s what I’ve used: Art Files. There is a demo download on the site that allows you 15 collects—so that should be useful for you for while and if you like it, you can purchase it.

Safest options when preparing to print:
If you’re worried that a font might not load, or that you’ll forget something on your jump drive when you head out to your service bureau (Kinkos etc) to have a project printed, feel free to save your file as a PDF. This will ensure images and type are embedded and you don’t have to worry about these pieces loading properly. This is not a substitute for storing files correctly, however. You still need to keep all these bits organized for future un-archiving of projects should, for example, your client need an update.


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