12 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

A Guide To Creating The Correct Artwork For Your Printing Order

When ordering any kind of printing job, from printed leaflets to business cards the one think you must be careful about is the artwork. There are all kinds of things to take note of, from the bleed area to the resolution and file type needed. Supplying artwork ready for commercial lithographic printing is not quite the same as printing a file off on a desktop printer or copier. This guide offers advice on how to send the best possible files that are ready for print.

File formats
Printing can often be performed directly from the following file types:-

  • .PDF
  • .JPG (JPEG)
  • .EPS
  • .TIF (TIFF)

Printing from other file types and formats may be possible, but will often result in extended time (around a day) on the order to convert the files to a suitable format ready to go to print.

Whatever the size of the print, please take note of the measurements required for a correct print, while allowing for allowing for ‘bleed’ and ‘safe area’ (see below). While it can be resized, it is vital that measurements are given to the supplier beforehand to ensure the perfect print

Please ensure all fonts are either converted ready for implementation on outlines, curves, or embedded – if this is not done, the providing system could replace missing fonts for others and the end result will look different to the expected result.

Images / Photos
Make sure that all images used in sent files are at a minimum of 300dpi (dots per inch). Low resolution images (i.e. 72dpi images you might find on websites) may look fine on a monitor but it will look terrible when printed, and will result in a ‘pixelated’ or ‘blurred’ look – not an ideal image.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the printing process is made up of four colours; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (known as CYMK) – the colours which make up full colour photos. To ensure maximum vibrancy in a leaflet, convert a file from RGB format to CYMK before sending.

It is essential that there is a 3mm ‘bleed’ to all edges of a piece of artwork. Bleed is when the background colour or image is extended 3mm past the ‘trim edge’ / final size, and prevents unsightly white edges showing around a leaflet when cut to size.

If a file without bleed is sent there mey be the result of an automatic 3mm white border to all edges of your design without prior consultation, done to ensure that nothing will be cropped off the edge of the leaflet.

Safe Area
This is area on the inside edge of the sent leaflet and any text or images that go near the edge of your design. Please ensure you leave 3mm ‘safe area’. If you do not allow this on the design, any text or images that are too close to the ‘trimming edge’ could get ‘cut’. Again, an automatic 3mm white border (with leaflet size reduction) will be added if this is not complied to.

Files should be sent 1-per page only, as files cannot be separated when printing.

Transparencies / Layers
Make sure that any transparencies or layers in the are grouped and ‘flattened’ in the files before they are sent. If in doubt, convert the whole file into ‘bitmap’ form (i.e. JPG).

After you hae sent the required files, it is possible to request a ‘proof’ of the print (at a slightly increased cost and time), which is basically a ‘PDF’ file of the leaflet that is to be published and dispatched. This is not really necessary as we make sure the final print will be printed correct, but can give some peace of mind before it is produced in bulk. And please, dont send Microsoft Word files

One thing we pride ourselves on at Theprintingpress, is the fact that we always inform customers if the artwork is incorrect. We have even been known to fix it ourselves prior to printing. But to save yourselves (and us) any delays, make sure your artwork is correct.

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