Designing for print can be difficult and unless it is a simple job you feel comfortable doing, we suggest you use a qualified graphic designer.
We can do it all for you. Please Contact Us if you need graphic design.
When you have finished your artwork, you can upload it below using the following naming convention to make sure we match your artwork to your order [yourname-yymmdd]. Please note only PDF files as specified below can be uploaded to a maximum size of 100MB. If your artwork is more than this, please Contact Us.
Don’t panic – you will get a proof to approve before anything is printed.
For those who do want to do the artwork, here are a couple of rules to remember.
These are important, especially for multipage products.
- Outer margin (“bleed”) which allows you to print graphics and colours over the edge of the paper when cut to size should be 3mm on each edge (that’s how much will be trimmed off).
- Inner margin which is the limit up to the edge that is safe to print to avoid text being cut off or bound/folded should be 3mm in from the edge. Some products are different:
- Perfect Bound Booklets need a 7mm margin on each edge
- Saddle-stitched Booklets (folded and stapled) are the same, but if more than 24 pages then “margin creep” will need to be applied so that the text is not affected by the folding as inside pages creep out compared to outside pages. Most graphic design programs will do this.
- Calendars need a 9mm margin where the binding will go, and 3mm on the other edges
Full colour printing uses a different colour gamut from a computer screen.
In print, colours are separated into four basic colours: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) which are overprinted in a pattern of small dots set at different angles to give the visual effect of full colour.
Artwork needs to be saved in CMYK. If not, the RGB colours will be separated into CMYK and may not be exactly the same. In most cases, this may not matter, but if you are printing corporate colours and want them to be precise, you will need to match the corporate colour to a Pantone® colour swatch code which can be used by the printer to adjust and match the colours exactly.
We advise you to match corporate colours to the Pantone® codes you want from the outset. Most design programmes will enable you to do this.
This is also very important because the PDF (Postscript Document Format) standard is used by almost all digital printing processes to make sure all fonts and images are properly saved at the right resolution.
You should save your artwork as a PDF/x01a:2001 file to avoid font mismatches because there are thousands of fonts, and printers don’t keep them all. PDF X1a gets around this problem. When exporting to PDF you will be prompted if you want to embed fonts. Always select “yes”.
We not only preproof and check your artwork before sending to print, we will also send you a proof to sign off. Please check your proof carefully before signing off, preferably on a properly colour-calibrated monitor if possible.
These can be tricky because you need to be aware that size and resolution are not the same, and print requires a much higher resolution than a screen image.
You cannot copy an image off a computer screen, paste it into print artwork and then drag it to make it bigger or smaller. The result will not be good and your image may end up pixelated and fuzzy.
Screen images normally have a resolution of 72 pixels per inch (ppi), which is fine for a computer screen because the screen resolution is the same or less.
However, for all our PackAd jobs, colours are separated into CMYK at 300 dots per inch (dpi) in lines at different angles so when you look at a printed image it looks clear and sharp. You only notice the dots under a magnifying glass, and because they are printed in lines at different angles, you will not notice the lines at all.
The 300 dpi is the same as a computer resolution of 300 ppi, and can open the image in a raster imaging process (RIP) program like Photoshop, crop and set the width and height the image to you want and then save it at a resolution of 300ppi. You will need to save images in either JPEG, PNG or TIFF format. We recommend JPEG to keep it simple and consistent.
There may be times you want to deep etch a picture so there is no background and you can place it on a solid background or another image. To do this you will need to save the picture with transparency. Again, you will need a proper photo imaging program that can do this, and unless you know how, rather leave it to a graphic designer. We can arrange this for you.
Spot finishes – varnishes or metal foiling – can be difficult, and the printer needs to know exactly what you want and where because spot finishes are applied after the product has been printed and before cutting, folding and binding.
You will need to create a fifth layer which will not be separated into CMYK but defined as a spot colour and will print exactly over those parts of the artwork where you want. If it is not done right, the result can be disastrous and expensive.
Here is a guide on what to do:
- Create a new colour swatch in your design program
- Change the ‘Colour Type’ to ‘Spot’
- Define it as a bright colour to stand out from the colours in your design (such as 50% Magenta and 100% Yellow)
- Name the new spot colour “Spot UV” or “Spot Foil“
- Create a second layer in your design program and name this layer “Spot” so you can toggle between them more easily.
- On the main layer, copy those elements where you want the spot finish applied and paste them into your Spot layer (or design new elements in the second layer as vector shapes for best quality)
- Recolour all elements in the second layer with your unique colour.
Save everything as a PDF. Make sure you let us know what spot finish you want applied on the Quotation form so the printer will know exactly what to do.
If you are producing a folded or multipage product (pamphlet, card, booklet or catalogue) you will need to be aware of the finished size of each page after folding – especially if there is text or images running across the fold.
There are different types of fold:
– 4pp Half Fold, like a birthday card, which has a front, two inside pages and a back. This is created when a single sheet of paper is folded in half (horizontally or vertically).
– 6pp Fold, which is folded twice into either a C- or Z-shape
Your artwork can be handed off as a single spread, printed both sides, which will then fold into the shape you want, or as separate pages and the printer will then “impose” the pages to print as a single spread on both sides. If you are going to hand off as separate pages with be careful of text or images running across the folds and which way round the artwork will be when folded and cut.
If you want parts of your product cut into shapes (or shapes cut into it) you will need to make this clear in your design and instructions to the printer. If in doubt, use a graphic designer or let us arrange one for you.