Artwork Supply Guidelines

Artwork Supply Guidelines

So, you’ve just put the finishing touches on your latest design. Great, we can’t wait to print it for you!  Whether you’re a print wizard or a complete novice, the following artwork guide should get you up to speed on how our artwork process works.

Don’t forget – if you get stuck, you can always get in touch with us.

I'm an artwork superstar, I know what I'm doing...

Excellent! Each product page will list the individual artwork requirements for the product in question, but as a general guide, it’s safe to use the following as a starting point:

  • PDF format
  • CMYK colour space
  • 3mm bleed (if applicable to your design)
  • 3mm safe zone (if applicable to your design)
  • 300dpi image resolution
  • No crop marks
  • All fonts converted to outlines/paths

I'm new to this printing thing, go gentle with me...

Don’t worry, we all have to start somewhere. Below we go in to a bit more detail on some of the terms you might encounter along the way. You’ll be up-to-speed in no time!

If you’re still stuck, you can contact us for help. We’re more than happy to clear up anything that doesn’t make sense.

File format

You can supply your print ready artwork to us in one of the following formats:

  • PDF – Recommended
  • JPEG
  • TIFF
  • PNG
  • EPS
  • SVG
  • AI (Adobe Illustrator)
  • INDD (Adobe InDesign)
  • PSD (Adobe Photoshop)

NOTE: We highly recommend you supply your artwork in PDF format as this will provide the best results.

Colour mode

If your design is being created with print in mind, it’s best from the outset to create your artwork in the CMYK colour space.

If this isn’t possible, we can still print from files saved in the RGB colour space but be aware that this can sometimes cause problems when it comes to commercial printing as the range of colours or ‘gamut’ of the RGB colour space is wider than that of the CMYK colour space and not all of the colours that you can see on your screen are 100% reproducible on a traditional CMYK printing press.

Bleed amount

If any of the elements in your artwork sit flush against any of the edges of the page you must add bleed to these items by extending the artwork past the edge of the page.

We require all files to be supplied with 3mm bleed where applicable. So for example, a business card that will be trimmed down to a finished size of 85mm x 55mm would need to be supplied at 91mm x 61mm.

Safe zone

We recommend a 3mm safe zone. This will safeguard against any design elements being cut off when your order is trimmed to its finished size.

Image resolution

We recommend an image resolution of 300dpi. So for example, an 85 x 55 mm business card including 3mm bleed (total size would be 91 x 61 mm) at 300dpi would result in a final image size of 1075 x 720 pixels.

Crop marks and registration marks

Any print ready artwork files you send to us should not include any crop or registration marks – we will add these ourselves where neccessary.

You just need to supply us with a print ready file including any bleed that might be required.

If you’re unsure, you’re more than welcome to send us an additional proof PDF with the crops and registration marks on showing where we would need to cut to, but be aware we will not use this proof PDF to print from.

Ink levels

Depending on the product chosen and how it will be printed – close attention needs to be paid to the total percentage of ink that will be laid down on the printed substrate.

Too much ink can cause what is known as set-off which is where some of the ink from the surface of the page can be transferred on to the bottom of the following page stacked on top of it as it comes off the printing press. This can create a real problem if your job is run with other jobs at the same time!

How ink levels are calculated

Ink level is expressed as a percentage and is calculated by summing together the percentage of each colour channel used to make up any given colour.

For example, for a brown colour made up in CMYK you might have the following breakdown:

Cyan Magenta Yellow Black TOTAL
25%+45%+60%+30%=160%

Below is a list of recommended total ink level limits for various different substrates:

Material / SubstrateInk level limit
Coated Paper (Leaflets / Flyers etc)300%
Uncoated Paper (Letterheads / Compliment Slips etc)225%
Digital Print275%
Large Format Print225%

By keeping within the safe limits specified above; you can be sure your colours will be reproduced as accurately as possible, set-off will be minimised, and your job will stand a better chance of drying quicker once it has been printed.

Fonts

If you are sending your artwork as a PDF file, we recommend that you convert any text objects in your document to outlines/paths. This will ensure that your text will be accurately reproduced and prevent any font substitution occuring when your document is printed.

Note: Remember to save a copy of your file first though as once the text is converted to outlines it will no longer be editable as regular text.

Multiple pages/sides

If you are sending artwork with multiple pages or sides to be printed, please send these as a multi-page file (for PDFs) or each page as a separate file for every other format.

If not sending a multi-page file, please specify which pages are to be printed and in which order. How you name your files can help tremendously with this…

For example:

My_Cool_Leaflet_v1_Page_1.pdf
My_Cool_Leaflet_v1_Page_2.pdf
My_Cool_Leaflet_v1_Page_3.pdf

My_Business_Card_v1_Front.pdf
My_Business_Card_v1_Back.pdf

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