The printing process has three stages, prepress, press, and binding (or postpress.) Prepress is the first stage, and prepress workers are responsible for preparing the material for printing presses. Prepress involves a variety of tasks including checking proofs for errors and print clarity and correcting any mistakes, transforming text and pictures into finished pages, and making printing plates of the pages.
The job of prepress has been greatly affected by technological advances in the past few years. The older methods of phototypesetting have been replaced by computerized digital imaging technology such as “desktop publishing.” The printing industry is doing more prepress work using complete “digital imaging.” This technology allows prepress technicians to take material received via a computer file, check it for completeness, and format it into pages using electronic page layout systems. Then, prepress technicians use digital systems to electronically produce an image of the printed pages and print a copy, or “proof,” of the pages as they will appear when printed.