Optimal Specle Print File Creation Guide
Set your global colour settings for all operators and designers in both Adobe Photoshop & Adobe InDesign from Edit Menu -> Colour Settings. Specle recommends using the built in setting called Europe General Purpose 3 in the latest version of Adobe Creative suite to set your RGB working space to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 and CMYK working space to Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004). US customers should use the built in setting called North America General Purpose 2. Note you can achieve slightly higher quality if you use ISO Coated v2 (ECI) instead of Adobe's Coated FOGRA39 profile. Both are based on the FOGRA39L dataset, but ISO Coated v2 (ECI) is a more official version and has a higher ink weight meaning you have a few more levels of colour. You can also use Adobe 98 as your RGB profile if you are primarily doing print work, it was a greater colour range.
Note that all of your InDesign documents will have the working space assigned to the document by default. Keep them at the default settings, and let InDesign assign this working space to all of your documents.
All of your images should be stored, edited, and worked on in RGB using your standard working space profile - sRGB IEC61966-2.1. The reason for this is to allow you to use your images for both digital and print workflows. Converting to CMYK in Photoshop limits where your image can be used - even in print workflows as publications use different CMYK profiles.
If you need to have a CMYK line work match a background panel you have created in Photoshop, you can do that by creating CMYK backgrounds in either InDesign or Illustrator, and add image elements from Photoshop using a transparent background over the top.
Images should also be kept at a high resolution to give you maximum flexibility. The largest height of a page on Specle is close to 600 mm. For a background image to cover that page it needs to be close to 7000 pixels high in Photoshop. Product images should be at least 3000 pixels in both dimensions. Background images should be around 8000 pixels in both dimensions. For all images, it’s a good idea to leave as much area around the focal point of the image as possible, then crop in InDesign. This will allow you to use the image for many different sizes and shapes of ad.
Never ‘scale up’ your images in InDesign, as you will likely run into resolution issues, always scale down.
If you haven't been using special versions of logos for Newsprint, then you won't have to worry about this step. Just continue as you are!
If however you have been using a particular CMYK makeup for brand colours for newsprint, then you should revert to using the 'master' version of that colour or logo. All of your CMYK brand colours and vector artwork should be prepared using the default CMYK working space you have been using in Photoshop in InDesign. You'll most likely have a version you use for magazines, leaflets, or brochures, you should use this version of your brand colour in all layouts. Specle Colour will attempt to maintain the number of plates used in vector colours but will slightly adjust the colour balance for the output profile. You brand colours will remain clean and crisp.
If you’re using Specle Colour, your life is much easier. You don’t need to modify anything else in the document, or worry about setting specific ICC profiles for each publication you’re sending to.
Exporting to PDF/X-4 maintains transparency and RGB elements. Specle Colour automatically flattens the file and converts colour of both CMYK vector elements and RGB images to the publication profile. Specle Colour can also handle spot colour conversion reliably when the transparency is maintained in the file.
There is one setting you need to change from the defaults - Use Document Bleed Settings.
To export your document, choose File -> Adobe PDF Presets -> PDF/X-4:2008. Go to the Marks and Bleeds section and turn on Use Document Bleed Settings. This will use the document bleed settings you’ve set up in the document (we have no idea why this is off by default in InDesign, it doesn’t make a lot of sense). You can now save this preset as your export setting for all files. Call it ‘Specle PDFX-4’. You can now export every single ad the same way - simply select Specle PDFX-4 when exporting.
Note that this setting will use the profile assigned to your document as the output intent. If you have followed this workflow, the profile assigned to your document should be Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004). If you have changed settings or made a mistake in your workflow, your fail might fail with a wrong output intent error. As changing the export profile at this point will change the appearance of the document, if the file fails in Specle, or if you notice in the export setting the document profile is different, this is the first thing I would check.
Open your InDesign document and go to Edit Menu -> Assign Profiles… and check the working space profile for both RGB and CMYK.
After you’ve done that double check the appearance of the ad on screen and make any design decisions.
It is also possible to turn on the profile mismatch warnings in the Colour Settings dialog. Its a good idea if you have lots of files from multiple operators. The Europe Web / Internet setting has this on by default.
You can now upload your file to Specle