There are two key changes to our artwork specifications which our Career Center Partners and their advertisers should know going into the 2015-16 season.
Change 1: Resolution Update
Thanks to equipment developments (related specifically to dot gain) in printing, the ideal resolution for artwork is now 350 ppi (formerly 300 ppi). For those of you who are familiar with resolution, please skip down to Change 2: Metadata.
Resolution Explained in Detail
When is 72 ppi acceptable? For print, it is not ok for files to go to the printer at 72 ppi because the quality of the artwork in the printed piece will be very low. Your digital camera takes all of it's photos at 72 ppi. The way it takes high resolution (high quality) photos is to increase the dimensional size of the photo. For example:
The photo from my garden pictured above is the "raw" photo from the camera. I specifically set my camera to take high quality photos all the time. As you can see, the resolution is 72 ppi, but look at the dimensional size: 21 x 28 inches! It's huge!
The screen capture above is from Adobe Photoshop, and Photoshop would allow me to type 350 into the resolution field and, if I left the check box for "Resample" selected, Photoshop would take an educated guess at what all the missing pixels should look like. Sounds like a great idea, but in practice, it gets mixed results.
Instead, I deselect the resampling function of the program. You can see by the link symbol in the picture above that the resolution and dimensional sizes then become dependent on each other, and when I increase the resolution to 350 ppi, the dimensional size is reduced. This is a proper resolution conversion because the program is using the actual pixels from the photo and compacting them.
Working with Photoshop over time, you can develop a feel for combining both resampled and non-resampled techniques to yield the largest size photo at the ideal resolution—there's a bit of leeway to fudge because in small increments, Photoshop's resampling is a very handy tool. If you want to experiment, make sure you save a version of your original art, because once the quality is gone...it's gone.
If you submit a 72 ppi photo that is only 3x3 inches to CRM, however, it is not possible to perform a proper resolution conversion. We will be in contact with you asking for higher quality art.
So, back to our original question, "When is 72 ppi acceptable?" Answer: When the 72 ppi resolution is paired with the large dimensional size and you are a Career Center Partner submitting editorial art to CRM for design purposes.
Advertising artwork (PDFs) submitted to CRM must come to us in high resolution.
Change 2: CRM is Now Requesting Metadata
Our next request is a bit more detailed. We are asking for a “Description” in the IPTC Core metadata that accompanies each piece of artwork submitted to CRM.
Why are you being asked to provide this information?
Excellent question! One request we have received from our Career Center Partners is for an accessible version of their online guide. This will not be a standard offering from CRM because it requires a separate workflow. A key element in the production of an accessible PDF is the Description field in metadata. Here's why:
Reading software uses the Description field of metadata to “read” anything on a page that is not text. Ads do not have live text (the copy is part of the artwork), so a readable substitute must be available. When the reading software reaches a piece of artwork, it accesses the description and reads it instead. In the Keep American Beautiful ad example below, I’ve added a description of the background photo, “Photo of empty plastic bottle in a field of grass with a park bench to the side.” The copy (text) of the ad strongly relates to the picture of the bottle, so the context of the ad is lost to anyone vision impaired who is reading the ad if the description of that visual element is left out.
It should be noted, too, that reading software relies on punctuation to indicate logical breaks in the text, so don’t leave out the commas and periods! The reading software doesn’t have to breathe, so it will rush through from beginning to end without punctuation to slow it down.
Here’s an example of an ad with a Description:
For some of you the existence and use of metadata is not new so this request will not be a big deal.
For others, it may be very new. The screen shot above is from Adobe’s Bridge software. Links to other tools can be found on Photometadata.org’s website: http://www.photometadata.org/META-Resources-Metadata-Links-and-Resources-Guide — in the index click on Metadata Viewing and Manipulation Utilities.
Photographs and logos need to have descriptions too!
Caltech’s logo has a Description:
More elaborate information could be added as well. For example, “Hands holding and shielding a lit torch.” I chose to omit that information for brevity.
A note to our Career Center Partners regarding description metadata: Any artwork you pick up from the 2014-15 season for use in your 2015-16 book will have a description added to the metadata by CRM as a matter of customer service as we set up the files for the 2015-16 season.
Please provide a metadata description for any new artwork you submit for publication.
A Work-Around for the Moment
Whether an advertiser or Career Center Partner, if you simply can not place the description yourself, please provide the description to CRM in the body of an email or in a Word Doc. We can cut and paste on your behalf!
Advertisers, please note that if you do not supply a description, CRM will list your company name and URL as the description. While we can cut and paste, we will not have time to hand enter all of the copy from your ad when we are in production.
If you have additional questions, please contact Nan Mellem at: nan at crmpubs dot com for further information.
Thanks for stopping by!