What resolution is acceptable
I still shoot for 300 ppi at finished size mostly because it’s a standard, but I think that’s more of a holdover from traditional printing where you wanted your resolution to be twice the line screen. From my experience, you can get by with less resolution on digital presses and not have any loss in quality.
should you use RGB or CMYK?
Safest thing to do is check with the printer. Some printers these days – especially wide format printers with printers that run more than four inks – will tell you to leave the images in RGB. If it’s bound for print, I work in CMYK.
What file formats do you use? I see more and more people use high quality JPG for print now because its keeps the file size of the PDF smaller.
This makes no sense to me. Why would you want to convert vector art to bitmap art? The printer won’t be able to trap the art. What about multi-page documents? Are you going to convert a 100 page document into 100 separate JPEGs?
All of that said, there is one scenario I run into where I’ll convert vector to bitmap. I work on packaging projects for a client, and the packaging has some layered / drop shadowed / transparent elements. If I send it to the printer, it works fine. However, there are time I have to send this art to FedEx Office to have some mockups printed. The RIP at FedEx Office does not handle the transparency very well. In this case, I’ll make a bitmap version, but the only bitmap is just what FedEx Office’s printer struggles with. Everything else (text, b/w vector illustrations, logos) are kept in vector art.
What are your thoughts?
When in doubt, check with your printer. But I think it’s tough to go wrong with a press quality PDF at 300 ppi and CMYK color.