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Customer Notice

We are currently in the process of preparing a more comprehensive Artwork Guidelines guide that you will be able to download soon.

This guide will expand on some of the topics mentioned below and will go into greater detail on how to best prepare your artwork for compatibility with our printing process.

Be sure to keep checking back for updates.

Artwork Guidelines

You've just put the finishing touches on your latest design and now you're ready get it printed. Awesome, we can't wait to print it for you! Before you get ready to send your files to us though, there's a few things that you need to check are in order to make sure your design is best prepared for commercial printing:

File Formats

We happily accept files saved in the following formats:

  • Adobe PDF
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Microsoft Word (DOC/DOCX)
  • JPEG
  • TIFF
  • EPS

If you are unable to save your artwork in one of the above formats, this online Document Converter might be able to help you convert your file.

Also, please don't password protect any of the files you send to us! (unless of course you're supplying us with the password too) as this can introduce unnecessary delays in us checking your artwork.

Please note: This list of formats we accept is non-exhaustive and is subject to revisions at any time. Contact us for an updated list.

Fonts

For best results, you should convert any fonts in your document to outlines/paths. If you are unable to do this, you are free to send the original font files to us. Just be sure that you have obtained copyright clearance to do so first.

Color Mode

You should save your artwork as CMYK. We can't accept files that have been saved as RGB. You are welcome to design you artwork in RGB first then convert to CMYK at the end, just be sure that you know of the risks by doing so and understand that you should take extra care over how the colors end up being converted.

Bleed

For any artwork with elements that are touching the page edges, you should extend these outwards past the trim line to give 3mm of bleed.

Quiet Zone

Any important elements in your design such as text should be kept away from the edges of the page so they don't risk getting chopped off. We recommend at least a 4mm quiet zone. Exceptions to this rule are for larger items such as A1 posters, in these instances we recommend at least a 10mm quiet zone. Contact us if you're not sure about this.

Images

Any images that you import into your design should be at least 300dpi. We advise against using images that you might find on the internet (unless they are specifically mentioned to be high resolution and suitable for printing) as these will often only be 72dpi, which may look fine on screen but when printed on a commercial printing press can often look poor.

Crop Marks

If you are exporting your artwork from a program that doesn't natively support bleed (such as Adobe Photoshop) and doesn't output its own crop marks, you should manually add some crop marks to the artwork yourself.

Further Information...

If there's anything here that you'd like further help with, we're happy to help.

Digital vs Litho - What's the difference?

Choosing the right printing method for your job can often seem like a daunting prospect. Below we have listed the areas where each printing method excels, so you can make a more informed decision over which method would be a better fit for your project.

?Click the square button to the right of each section to expand/collapse it.
Digital Printing
Pros:
  • More cost effective for shorter runs.
  • Less variance between each printed copy. Doesn't require a delicate balancing act of ink and water during the running of the press.
  • Quicker setup time. No plates or film are needed like traditional litho printing.
  • Shorter turnaround times. No waiting for inks to dry.
  • Great for personalisation/variable data. Additional information can be retrieved from a database and printed on to each copy without having to stop the press.
  • Inline collation. Collation is often performed by the press automatically rather than requiring a separate machine to do it or manually collating by hand.
  • Perfect for creating quick and accurate proofs to check for layout.
Cons:
  • Longer runs start to become more expensive when compared to litho printing.
  • Finished prints can't be overprinted with a laser printer.
  • Limited range of stocks types and weights can be used.

Digital Print and Laser Overprinting - IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ

Our Digital printed products are NOT GUARANTEED FOR USE WITH A LASER PRINTER.

Due to the way the digital printing process works, using a home or office laser printer to overprint onto a item that has originally been produced via a digital printing process can sometimes smear and lift the original image off the page.

This is generally caused by the heat from the laser printer heating the page up enough so that the toner particles that are already on the page begin to 'liquify' slightly. This liquification is what causes the toner particles to lift themselves up from the page.

Can I use an inkjet printer instead then?

Yes, absolutely! This is the recommended and safest way to print onto a digitally printed item. An inkjet printer by design doesn't use a heat based printing process like a laser printer does, so typically doesn't suffer from the same problems.

So, if you're certain that you'll be needing to put the item through a laser printer after we've printed it - choose the LITHO printed version of the product you're interested in (if applicable).

How a Digital Printing Press works

A digital printing press has a rotating drum (or roller) inside of it - commonly called a photoreceptor. This drum is made of a highly photoconductive material

Initially the drum is given a total positive electric charge. As the press processes the job, an imaging laser fires at the rotating drum and discharges it at certain points - painting the image on to it as a pattern of electrostatic charges.

When the image is fully transfered onto the drum, a developer roller coats the drum with positively charged toner. Toner is a fine powder made up of a pigment and a special polymer. This is what the digital press uses as its ink.

As the developer roller rolls over the drum, the positively charged toner sticks to the now negatively charged areas of the drum that were discharged by the imaging laser.

The paper is now rolled over the toner covered drum. Before this happens though, the paper is given a stronger negative charge than that of the negatively charged areas of the drum. This allows the paper to lift or pull the toner off the drum and transfer it to the papers surface. After this has finished, the drum is scraped to remove any excess toner and the drum is discharged.

The paper now passes through the fuser unit. This is often a pair of heated rollers that are responsible for heating up the toner so that it melts and fuses with the fibres in the paper. Some presses also apply what's known as a fuser oil to the page. This prevents the toner from sticking to the fuser rollers and helps to reduce static buildup, preventing the pages from sticking together.

Finally, the paper is ejected from the press and the cycle continues - just like magic!

Litho Printing
Pros:
  • Better suited to longer runs which start to become expensive with digital printing.
  • Superior image quality.
  • More accurate colour.
  • Wider range of stock types and weights can be used. Special substrates like foil, plastics, cloth and metal are also possible.
  • Can be safely overprinted with a laser printer without fear of the image being lifted off the page (as often happens with digital print).
  • Spot colour and metallic inks can be used.
  • Thermographic printing can be used.
Cons:
  • Shorter runs can be more expensive than digital, due to added expense of 'making ready' the job by creating plates and running spare material through the press in order to get the job 'on register'.
  • Any collation is usually performed afterwards, away from the press.
  • Variable data can be costly due to new plates needing to be created for each new data set.

Laser Compatible / Laser Guaranteed Paper

Some of our Litho based products are printed on a Laser Guaranteed / Laser Compatible Paper. These papers are designed specifically for printing on using a home or office laser printer (although they can be used with an inkjet printer too). The surface of these papers are typically manufactured to be as smooth as possible. This helps the 'toner' to fuse and adhere to the surface of the paper better, resulting in a more precise and cripser image.

Cheaper non laser guaranteed paper often has a rougher finish which if viewed under magnification can reveal many 'peaks' and 'troughs' in the papers surface. These peaks and troughs can affect the image transfer from the laser printers fuser roller on to the paper itself, resulting in a 'mottled' or patchy printout.

NOTE: these papers are not a way to get around the problems faced by laser overprinting onto a digitally printed job! See the section Digital Print and Laser Overprinting for further information.