Week 13: InDesign Insights + Encyclopedia (EN) will come tomorrow


  • Tomorrow the English Encyclopedia will be part of an update.
  • We improved a lot of details because of a print proof we received last week.
  • Soundtrack of the Week: Izzy Bizu – Adam & Eve

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a great weekend! Let’s start with the most important “thing”, the English Encyclopedia will come tomorrow i.e. there will also be a corresponding update. My brother and I will sit together tomorrow morning, have InDesign merge all the pages and sometime during the day you will hear from me πŸ™‚ Thanks for your patience!

Why did it take longer than expected? To be honest, because we work very carefully, i.e. we look at all details very precisely and improve things that probably nobody would have noticed. Here is a good example from this week…

On Thursday we received the print proof for the Encyclopedia, i.e. we had a few pages of the Encyclopedia printed in the same print quality as in the professional print run, which will follow in April. We searched this print proof millimeter by millimeter and found the following…

You don’t see it? Then we’ll make it a little bigger…

Still not yet? Then let’s make it as big as possible.

I marked it for you, but there is more xD

Now it’s clear, we have discovered this strange grey “dirt” and this dirt is really everywhere. Around all maps, icons, pictures, sketches etc. Almost invisible to the eye (what you see here is a magnification of 6400%), but unfortunately visible under strong light and with a good eye. But the problem is, in our InDesign file or even on the original assets nothing is visible. Here is the proof. There is absolutely nothing.

Nothing O.O

The question is, where does it come from and what is it πŸ˜‰ So what have we done? Everything possible, we cut out the icons, i.e. removed the white background, inserted a new background, inserted the icons in different formats (JPEG, TIFF, PSD, AI…), used different resolutions etc… Result: The dirt was never visible in InDesign, but was present in the PDF πŸ˜› Conclusion: Something goes wrong when converting to PDF. Luckily Elio had the right idea, it could be “JPEG artifacts”. Explanation: When we create a PDF from our InDesign file, all images are converted to JPEG, which means that the images are compressed. Interestingly, it can happen that something that was white suddenly shows “dirt” because the nearby colors were compressed (e.g. red here). So how do you solve this? We now compress the pictures as ZIP instead of JPEG, so no data is lost, and no dirt is created. The print files are a lot bigger now, but that doesn’t really matter with print files. This now sounds like an easy solution, but for this we searched for hours πŸ˜›

And if you look at a print proof so precisely, you will notice a lot of details (not only strange dirt). That’s why a print proof is one of the most important things to do before starting a professional production. That’s why we will order another print proof next week, to see if we solved the old “problems” and if can we find new ones… hopefully not πŸ˜‰

Also a good example for the importance of a print proof is our font. It wasn’t until the print proof (in our first campaign) that we found out that our main font produces strange lines, known as “stitching”.

Stitching πŸ˜›

After a lot of internet research (it’s difficult to search for something that you don’t know the name of), I found out that this can be solved by changing the transparency flattening “process”. There are different ways to convert elements (e.g. icons) with transparent background in a PDF, because they are not transparent in the PDF anymore. With this new transparency flattening “process” we now always see such strange white/transparent lines in the print PDFs, but fortunately they are not printed xD you never really know what is “real” and what is not, so a real print proof is mandatory.

Strange white lines, very difficult to see πŸ˜›

But now enough of InDesign insights, tomorrow more of the Encyclopedia. Sleep well πŸ™‚

With best regards,

Marc, Elio and Samuel