Detailing your type detail project PDF: Sophomore Portfolio Review 2020

Posted on Jun 4th, 2020 by Sean Schumacher

The type detail piece is the chance for your skill in handling type and layout to shine. For most, this will be a project you worked on in DES 200: perhaps it’s a COTA calendar, museum/exhibition catalog, annual report. It could be something else altogether, as long as there’s lots of body type, a mix of hierarchy, and a mix of both type and imagery to show how you handle layout.

How do you prepare your document, though? Most were originally designed to be printed, but in an all-digital environment, what’s the right setup? The upload form has the fundamentals:

Titled as 'FirstnameLastname_TypeDetail.pdf'. Exported as spreads. No crop marks, no bleed. No mockups or photos/scans.

Key to know: We want to see your document as close as it can be to the original format it was designed in (albeit, a PDF view of that), so there is no need to mock up or scan/photograph a booklet for this piece. Though they look pretty, they are far harder to get into the details of—which is pretty much the purpose of this example.

Check that it’s all correct!

Before you export, review your document to make sure you don’t have any missing/broken links in your Links or Preflight panels, and that all your images are set to have a high enough effective PPI. Our portfolio export article talks about resolution a bit more including how you can use the Preflight panel to help you check.

  • Make sure images are high enough resolution, that there aren’t broken links, and all pages and content is present and accounted for.
  • Look over your type! Check for typos (the dreaded accidental uppercase “W” especially), overset text (where copy is missing), and overrides (accidental shifts in type style, size leading, or potentially more). This is a great chance to ensure that this, as your type detail piece, has type detail that really shines.
  • Export with screen reading in mind

    Booklets should be delivered as reader spreads and NOT as printer spreads (in other words, they should make sense and be in the correct order on screen, since they don’t need to be assembled into a booklet after printing). After all, your reviewers not going to print imposed pages from your booklet at home. Exporting is the right choice; DON’T print as a booklet to make your PDF!

    Interactive PDFs can help

    How do you get there? We recommend exporting, just like with your portfolio itself, as an interactive PDF. Our portfolio export article can help you get started. That way, you won’t have to worry about turning off bleed and crop marks like you do when exporting a PDF for print—it does all the hard work for you.

    Choose File > Export…. After you’ve titled your new document in the and hit Save, you’ll see the “Export to Interactive PDF” window, where you can:

  • Export as: Spreads rather than as pages.
  • Make sure your PDF is set to export All pages rather than just a few.
  • The Export as Interactive PDF window.

    Keep resolution reasonable

    Resolution should be high but not too high. Much like the portfolio itself, we recommend files be set up at 144ppi—it’s a good balance on screen of clarity and file size.

    Interactive PDFs can keep resolution in check really easily: as we mentioned in the portfolio export article, the Compression tab has controls that will resize all of your images and let you adjust quality if the file size is still too high to upload.

    Check that it’s correct (again)!

    Before you submit, make sure to look over your PDF thoroughly to make sure everything is correct and nothing got lost in the conversion. There are a few things unique about how your booklet will export if you’ve done it right:

  • Your booklet’s first and last page should match your InDesign document’s page order, including how the first and last pages are indeed individual pages rather than spreads.
  • Make sure images look good, colors are approximately correct, (they’ll likely have shifted a little but should be closer than a Print PDF would be able to achieve), and all pages are present and accounted for.
  • Look over your type! Check for typos (the dreaded accidental uppercase “W” especially), overset text (where copy is missing), and overrides (accidental shifts in type style, size leading, or potentially more). This is a great chance to ensure that this, as your type detail piece, has type detail that really shines.

  • This is part of a series of posts about the 2020 Sophomore Portfolio Review