Supplying Press Ready Artwork
Business Card - 90 x 55mm
A3 - 420mm x 297mm
A4 - 297mm x 210mm
A5 - 210mm x 148.5mm
A6 - 148.5mm x 110mm
DL - 99mm x 210mm
Please note that our printing prices are at a very low rate, there is no margin in them to allow for intervention with supplied artwork without incurring additional prepress charges. Therefore please make note of the above guidelines when supplying your print files. All files submitted that are not PDF, but are a recognisable format to us will incur extra charges if we are asked to fix it at our end. If you do not acknowledge that you need it corrected by us and are willing to be billed for the corrections in your order email the file will be returned to you for corrections. This will increase the duration of your job.
Correct file preparation is an important part of the process that will result in you getting a top quality job, having your job run smoothly, and having your job delivered on time.
Please use this as a checklist
Use the right software
Use the right software for the job. This advice sounds obvious, but it is frequently ignored. The most appropriate software for design work is page layout software. The popular page layout software packages currently available are Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker (now discontinued), QuarkXPress and CorelDraw (all available for the Mac and the PC), and Microsoft Publisher (only available for the PC). Drawing and photo manipulation packages such as Corel Photopaint, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, and Macromedia Freehand can be used, but work created in those packages should be placed into page layout software. Try to avoid using word processing software such as Microsoft Word, or presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint. We can handle work created in these packages, but there is a greater risk of text reflowing, and images not reproducing as expected. An excellent investment is Corel Draw and the Adobe Creative Suite 2 which includes InDesign, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Acrobat, VersionCue to tie them all together.
Supply PDF Files
After your page layout software, the single most important piece of additional software you need is Adobe Acrobat, the PDF software. Our first preference (and to avoid any prepress charges) is to receive PDF files. After you have created your work in the software of choice (hopefully page layout software), our preference is for you to distil it into a PDF file. The advantages of doing so are that we can’t easily change your file, the file size will usually be small enough to email, and you don’t have to send us linked images or fonts, thus lessening the chance for mistakes to occur. PDF files don’t have to be compressed for safe transmission. It is important that PDF files (and all files for that matter) include bleeds if your job prints right to the edge of the page, include crop marks so we can see where you want the job trimmed, have all fonts embedded, have high resolution images (ideally 300 dpi at the size they will be printed), and have all images converted to CMYK. We have included information on all these issues below.
Understand Bleeds and Use them if Necessary
If your job prints right to the edge of the pages, you need to understand about bleeds. This subject is very important so we will explain it in more detail for you. If you have colour going all the way to the edge of the card you need to extend that by a further 2mm. This is basically dead space and no important information should be in this space as it is trimmed off. It allows for a neat edge when trimmed. To provide a document with bleeds, you do still make your page size the actual page size of the job. All you do is drag the elements that will bleed 2mm outside the page border. Please see image supplied in the ‘artwork specifications’ above.
Make sure all your images are CMYK and not RGB
RGB and CMYK are known as ‘colour spaces’. RGB is the colour space used by digital cameras and computer monitors. Printing presses of any description print in four colours — cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). Understanding why you need to provide your work in the CMYK colour space, and why it is preferable for you to do the conversion is another critically important issue.
If you want blue, make sure you don’t get purple instead
A common problem when a file is converted from RGB to CMYK is that blue turns out purple. Deep rich blues are difficult to reproduce in CMYK. Often the result will have a purplish tinge. If you measure the colours in your blue, you can anticipate the problem and do something about it. In Acrobat Professional you can measure the colours in your job using Tools, Print Production, Output Preview. As you move the cursor over the job, you will see the colour values change. A deep blue should have between 80% to 100% cyan, around 50% magenta and perhaps small amounts of yellow and black. The higher the magenta value, the more purple in the printed job. If you don’t want purple, you must get rid of excess magenta.
The use of Black
Not all blacks are composed equal. Please avoid 4 colour blacks when using for text or line work and use 100% K (black) only. This will ensure that you do not get any small dots of any other colours on the edges of your text making it appear less crisp. If you are looking for a more deeper shade of black in a solid fill object use, 50% cyan and 100% black. The extra cyan helps deepen the black without too much ink coverage to affect the drying or scuffing problems.
Don’t place too much faith in the colour fidelity of inkjet printers
We have found that it is unwise to rely too heavily on the colour fidelity, or accuracy of inkjet printers. Many injet printers use black and up to five other colours, and they can produce highly saturated intense colours than cannot be matched in the digital or offset printing process, which print using four colours.
Provide crop marks
It is essential for you to save a PDF file with crop marks, as this guides us to where you want your job trimmed. Often customers fail to do the obvious and actually check the PDF file. You should open the PDF file you created in Acrobat to check you actually got what you expected.
Embed your fonts and convert to curves/outlines
One of the most difficult issues we face, concerns fonts — wrong fonts, incomplete fonts, no fonts, fonts produce by Joe Bloggs Inc., Type 1 fonts, Type 3 fonts, TrueType fonts, Multiple Master fonts, font management software and so on. You would think the industry would have got it right in twenty years, but no, fonts can still be a major headache. This is where Acrobat is such an asset. You can embed all your fonts and remove font worries completely. To make sure all your fonts are embedded, in Distiller, go to Settings > Edit Adobe PDF settings > Fonts, and make sure the ‘Embed All Fonts’ tick box is ticked. Occasionally you will come across a font that can’t be embedded for copyright reasons. If you encounter this problem, you have little option but to change the font. Alternatively, the safest method to fonts is to convert your fonts to outlines or curves when creating your PDF.
Supply high resolution images
A very common problem which leads to disappointment is the supply of images (ie logos or photographs etc). Often they are supplied at very low resolutions such as screen images 72dpi (used for computer screens, and therefore the internet). But have you tried to print it out on your printer? Press printed products require images to be supplied at 300dpi or as close thereto as you can get. (300 rows each of 300 dots, or 90,000 dots in a square inch.) As a rule of thumb stear clear of any images from web sites unless you can obtain a high resolution copy of the image. By the way there is absolutely no use using images that have a higher dpi than 300dpi. You will never see the the difference in the printed job. And when we use the expression ‘300dpi’, we mean 300dpi at the final output size. If you have a 300dpi image that is, say 100x150mm, and blow it up to A4, you have reduced the effective resolution back to 75dpi, and achieved nothing
Use of borders
It is advisable to avoid borders at any cost. Simply because if there is even the smallest amount of print or guillotine shift then it is very noticeable in your finished product. Even worse is a border on both sides of the card as this then brings in registration error as well. Please be kind to our presses when considering using borders and do so at your own risk.
Make your page size the actual page size of the job
We regularly receive files where the page size is larger than the size of the job. For example, a customer might make up a business card on an A4 page, or an A4 poster on an A3 page or worst of all, a whole A5 book on A4 pages. Doing this will mean a slower turnaround time for you, as it will mean that we need to return the file to you for adjustment. Please make sure the page size you choose in your page layout software is same size your job is to be printed at. If your document is to be printed right to the edge of the page you need to understand about bleeds. Basically this means your should be drawing at true size ie. a 1:1 ratio.
Make certain your job folds correctly
If your job is going to be folded then fold the printout to see if the elements on the page are positioned correctly on the panels and to see if there are any problems with folding it the way you are planning to. For A4 brochures folding to DL, the front panel (the one on the right when the job is unfolded) should be 100mm wide, the middle panel 99mm, and the inside panel (the one on the left) should be 98mm wide. Make sure the various elements of the job are the right way up. Sometimes, and particularly in the case of greeting cards, some elements on a page should be upside down. This is obvious if you print the job out and fold it, but not at all obvious if you only view the job on the screen.
Don’t do the imposition for us
Imposition is the term used for arranging multiple copies of a document on one sheet of paper to gain economies in printing. For instance, A4 flyers are printed two up, DL flyers are printed 6 up, and business cards are printed 20 up. We have software that carries out this task for us very quickly and accurately, and we ask you not to do it for us. This mean that we want all documents, including business cards, to be supplied one up. Invariably, if they are supplied more than one up, we have to electronically pull them apart.
Don’t supply any unnecessary files
We sometimes receive CDs or emails with a whole lot of additional files that are unrelated to the job in hand. This can make it difficult to find exactly what it is we are to work with.
Check your spelling and punctuation
Don’t forget to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. Run your spell checker! It is also a good idea to have someone else look at your work. Another set of eyes often sees something you’ve been looking at and missing. Often the longer you have been working on a project, the less likely you are to spot the obvious. Pay particular attention to headlines when checking.
Avoid common grammatical and usage errors
Avoid some of the more common mistakes, and make your work read more professionally. Here are some examples. When referring to a decade, don’t use an apostrophe as in 90’s, use 90s. Don’t use ampersands (‘&’) in text, use the word ‘and’. This avoids putting a 4 there instead. Don’t Make Excessive Use Of Capitals — keep them to a minimum.
Make good use of the Output Preview facility in InDesign and Acrobat
A little known but extremely useful facility built into InDesign and Acrobat is a facility designed to enable you to see exactly how your job will print out. In InDesign, go to the Window menu, then Output, and choose Separations Preview. In Acrobat, go to Tools, Print Production, Output Preview. In both cases you can see colours your job consists of (and maybe discover you have not converted a Pantone colour to CMYK), you can see if your black text is really black or consists of all colours (in which case it won’t be very sharp). Just occasionally you will find that something on your page won’t print at all.
Print out your job and check, check and check again
It’s easy to miss mistakes in your document when you have only ever seen it displayed on the screen. It is an important part of proofing your job to print the document out and look at it. Check for spelling errors, spacing problems, inconsistencies, and design problems.