How should I prepare my files?
Save as PDF
We require print files to be supplied in PDF format. Most software offers this in the Save, Export or even Print dialog boxes. If your software does not offer PDF output, try downloading a PDF printer or convertor. Additional charges may apply if files are not supplied in the correct format.
Files should be supplied as a single pdf. For example, a double sided leaflet should be supplied as a 2-page PDF, front and back. If printing a booklet, the first page of the PDF should be the front cover, second page is the inside left page, etc. until the last page, the back cover. Save files with single pages rather than page spreads.
Review your artwork
Don’t forget to double check your artwork before sending. Make sure you have spell checked everything, included all pages of your document and are happy with the design elements and photographs. This is better than noticing a mistake after printing!
Include a print spec
Print specifications let us know exactly what you want to print, and provide you with a quote rapidly. They should include as many of the following details as are relevant:
- Document dimensions
- Page count
- Number of copies
- Paper weight and finish
- Single or double sided printing
- Colour or black and white
- Spot colours (if required)
- Any additional finishing techniques
- Special packaging (if required)
What are crop marks and bleed?
Crop marks are black lines you need to add the corners of your artwork to allow us to cut or “crop” it to the right size.
Bleed is the extra area of your artwork which will be cut off after cropping. This allows for full bleed printing (prints without white borders) and avoids unwanted strips of white appearing on the edge of your artwork.
How to add crop marks and bleed
Add bleed area to your document when creating it, or add to an existing document from File > Document Setup. We recommend 3mm bleed. Remember your artwork must extend into this 3mm area for the best quality print. When exporting or saving a PDF, most design software includes options to save with print marks. For example, in Adobe Illustrator choose the Marks and Bleed tab when saving. Here you can add crop marks (or trim marks) with a checkbox, and specify the amount of bleed. The bleed area must contain the extended artwork (imagery, graphics or background colours) in advance of saving the file for any artwork that prints to the edge of the page. This means your artwork is in fact bigger than the final document size will be.
What size should my document be?
These are some of the most common print sizes:
- A0 841 x 1189 mm
- A1 594 x 841 mm
- A2 420 x 594 mm
- A3 297 x 420 mm
- A4 210 x 297 mm
- A5 148 x 210 mm
- A6 105 x 148 mm
- DL 99 x 210 mm
A common business card size is 85 x 55 mm, but this rule is rarely enforced by the business card police. You didn’t hear it from us!
When sending a multi page document, please send one PDF with single pages (not spreads), in normal reading order.
Folded leaflet setup
When sending a file for a folded leaflet such as a 6pp DL (tri-fold) or 4pp A5 (single fold), the files should be supplied as a 2pp PDF with page one as the outside and page 2 as the inside. Sometimes it helps to make the cover panel wider depending on the paper stock and fold. It can be helpful to print a test copy if you are unsure where each page will appear when folded.
When will my prints be ready?
We always strive for a rapid turnaround, but each print job is different. Get in touch by email and we can give an estimated delivery/collection time. Ensuring your artwork is carefully set up and providing an accurate print spec helps us to provide the quickest turnaround time. An express service may be available depending on the kind of job and our production schedule.
How do I get the best quality print?
CMYK and RGB
RGB (red, green, blue) is a colour profile used for pixels on screen, but in print it is necessary to use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). These are the four colours of ink combined to create your print. Use CMYK as the Document Color Mode or Transparency Blend Space in your software.
Raster and vector
Raster or bitmap images (jpeg, png, gif) are made of dots called pixels. Vector images (ai, svg, eps) are lines and shapes calculated by the computer. Vector offers better quality for text, logos and graphics because they can be scaled without loss of quality, while raster is best for photographs.
Save your PDF to FOGRA39
Our digital print machines are calibrated to the FOGRA39 standard, so using this CMYK colour profile will give you the most accurate print results. Software such as Adobe Illustrator and InDesign offer this profile in the Output tab of the PDF Save/Export dialog.
Raster images are defined by their dots per inch (DPI) which lets you know how small the pixels are. A higher DPI gives a higher quality image. For printing we recommend a minimum 300 DPI.
All printers have some level of colour variance when they print a job, so be aware that slight variations are common and sometimes unavoidable. Colours can appear differently in print depending on a variety of factors such as paper colour, paper finish, ink density and lighting conditions.
What else can I do?
Foil blocking and digital foiling
To set up a document for foil-blocking, include your foil block artwork as a clearly labelled seperate layer. Fill the areas to be foil-blocked in a spot colour which clearly stands out from your artwork (often 100% magenta). Remember to use simple, large shapes for best results. The setup for digital foiling is slightly different. All foiled elements should be set up as 100% K (black) and the file should be separated into a print layer and a foil layer. There are a variety of foil colours available.
Die cutting and scoring
Please add your die line as a vector shape on a seperate layer. Add a stroke in a bright spot colour that clearly stands out from your artwork (often 100% magenta). For cut marks use a solid line, for score marks a dashed line.
Pantone and spot colours
Spot colours are inks which maintain consistency, including specialty colours which CMYK cannot reproduce. These can be used in lithographic printing for an additional cost. Pantone is a brand name associated with spot colours. To use a spot colour, add a new swatch to your document named with the pantone reference, and set it’s colour type to Spot Color.
Other finishing techniques
We offer comb binding, wire binding, fastback thermal binding, booklet making and saddle stitching, trimming and guillotining, laminating, scoring and creasing, perforating, stapling, and more! Just ask us if there is something else you need to do.