The following is only a guide, it cannot cover every scenario. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure your artwork meets industry standard conventions for the presentation of artwork files. We cannot take responsibility for any problems that arise from your supplied artwork that produce unexpected results (please read our Terms and Conditions for more details).
- Are the documents dimensions correct for the printed final size?
- Does the page count of the document match the page count selected in the orders ‘Print Settings’? Have all extra sides been deleted? N.B. Please note we will not check if the page sequence of your supplied artwork is correct.
- Is the file laid out to its finished size, with an additional 3mm bleed for content that goes off the page?
- Is the page content that doesn’t bleed off a minimum of 3mm within the page trim? Calendars and brochures with spiral binding need at least 15 mm on the side they will be wire bound.
- Has the document and its images been converted to CMYK?
- Have all unused colours been deleted from the colour palette?
- Have you only used fonts that are intended for output?
- Are the fonts embedded and text converted to ‘outlines’ on imported files?
- Is the image resolution sufficient? For most uses it will need to be at least 300 dpi. Posters at A3 & A2 size at least 200 dpi, posters at A1 & A0 size at least 300dpi. For line art, 1,200 dpi.
- Do not enlarge images beyond 120% or reduce below 30% of original size when placed in your document.
- Are the lines thick enough? Please do not use hairlines where possible.
- Have all non essential lines and layers been deleted?
- Have you saved in the correct file format? Files should be saved in PDF format.
Everything checked off? Then you can upload your artwork as part of the order process.
If you are unsure whether everything is in order, you will find helpful tips listed in the sections below.
Cropping and Bleed
Always lay out your documents as facing pages, all document bleeds have been extended to at least 3mm beyond the desired finished size.
Text and images should be at least 3mm from within the edge of the final format. In the case of calendars and brochures with spiral binding, please make sure you leave 15mm to the edge on which they will be bound.
* Use our free print templates for the creation of your artwork. You can find and download them from our website under each product type.
Please create brochures as consecutive, individual sides starting with the cover page as Page 1.
Please supply your artwork as a multi-page PDF document, e.g. an 8 page Brochure with Self Cover - the first page in your PDF will be the Front Cover, the second page will be the Inside Front Cover, therefore the eighth page in your PDF will be the Back Cover or for a Business Card, page 1 will be the front/face of the card and page 2 will be the back/reverse.
*When creating PDF files, there are several settings to consider. Please therefore take note of the information about saving files that is provided in this guide.
Please do not forget to delete unwanted extra pages from the file before your final save. (Except required blank pages of course, they have to stay in the file!)
Page sorting based on the page numbers in the file will not be done.
We recommend a graphic resolution of at least 300dpi for grey scale and colour graphics (in the original size) to ensure an optimal printed result.
For Posters at A3 & A2 size at least 200 dpi, posters at A1 & A0 size at least 300dpi so that the amount of data is reduced, or can be kept to a minimum.
Line art (e.g. a scanned map with text with a small point size and symbols) should have a resolution of 1200dpi to avoid pixilation.
Do not enlarge images beyond 120% or reduce below 30% of original size when placing in the document. Always try to lay out your graphics at the right size and resolution. Scaling up or increasing the resolution later on will result in a deterioration of quality.
However, the higher the resolution the greater the amount of data. To reduce file sizes, we recommend that you crop your images down to the size or the image detail you want printed.
Please convert all RGB, LAB, or INDEX colour images to CMYK or B/W format only. Colour images should be scanned as CMYK. File format for images should be TIFF, EPS or JPEG only. No GIF, PICT, PNG, etc. Minimum resolution for TIFF, EPS and JPEG files is 300dpi.
Please do not use hairlines, they are too thin to be properly printed. Lines should be at least 0.25pt thick.
Lay out documents in grey scale or CMYK not RGB.
Remove all unused colours from your colour palette and convert all Pantone colours to CMYK
We recommend to set up grey areas in graduations of black only in order achieve a better printing result. Creating grey areas using the 4 process colours CMYK could lead to colour variations.
The fading off of one colour to another, or blend, should not be done between two spot colours. Blends can be made between CMYK and spot colours, or CMYK to CMYK. In vignettes, which fade off from one colour to no colour, you can use any spot or CMYK colour. Please remember all colours used will be converted to CMYK.
If you are using transparencies (drop shadows, opacity, etc.) in InDesign or Illustrator, convert all spot colours to CMYK, this is very important.
If your artwork has any large areas of black ink coverage, it is preferable to assign a rich black to the area. The rich black should be set up as a black with specific values of CMY mixed in to increase the overall density of the area, making it a deep dark black. Rich black values are 40% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 30% Yellow and 100% Black.
Do not stylise fonts in any of your applications - choose the specific font. Making a font bold or italic by applying bold or italic attributes in the application menu could cause type substitution or unpredictable results.
Do not place text, logos and other elements too close to the edge of the page, otherwise they may be cut off during trimming. We recommend a distance of at least 3mm from the edge of the page.
The font size should be at least 6pt to ensure readability.
Fonts must be converted into ‘outlines’ or embedded in the document in order to avoid problems with the text size.
Do not use mixed colours (CMYK) for black text, but 100% black.
Small type sizes and fine serifs are not practical to reverse out of 1, 2, or 4-colour. When using type less than 10pt in a reverse, the type should be bold, not plain. Also, reverse keylines should not be less than 1pt.
Saving Print Ready Artwork Files
Exporting PDF files from InDesign CS
When you export Adobe PDF files from InDesign, you can either use default PDF presets, or create and apply your
own custom PDF presets. We can also supply you with Pollards presets, which can be downloaded here.
You should always export your document as single pages within a multipage file.
To export your artwork from an InDesign CS document to a PDF do the following:
- To export a single document, choose File > Export.
- Choose a destination folder and type a name for the PDF file in the Export dialogue box.
- Choose Adobe PDF as the file format, and then click Save.
- Choose the PDF preset you want to use from the Preset pop-up menu in the Export PDF dialogue box.
To save Illustrator artwork as a print ready PDF:
- From your open artwork, choose File > Save As.
- Type the filename you require and browse to a location for the file.
- Choose Adobe PDF as the file format and then click Save.
- Choose the PDF preset you want to use from the Preset pop-up menu in the Adobe PDF Options dialogue box.
If you require help creating a print ready PDF from any other software please get in touch with us via the enquiry form under the Contact page.
Help with 'Pre-Flight' Advisory Messages
As part of submitting your order we pre-flight your artwork. Files are pre-flighted at the time they are uploaded unless they are larger than 20mb in which case they will be checked ‘offline’ to speed up the order process.
If we find a problem with your artwork you will be informed on screen at the time or via a follow up email if the file is larger than 20mb.
Many of the warnings are advisory and you will be asked if you want to continue with your existing file or you can re-submit the file if you want to correct it.
Below is a list of advisory messages and a brief explanation of each.
Incorrect page count
The artwork file page count does not match when compared to the option chosen in the order. Either amend the options in your order to match the artwork file or correct the artwork file and resubmit it. Please note the page order will not be altered so should be supplied correctly, e.g. blank pages included where appropriate.
Insufficient bleed (minimum 3mm)
Artwork should be supplied with at least 3mm bleed on all edges for images and objects that go over the edge of the page.
No crop/trim marks detected - No crop or trim marks have been saved in the artwork PDF. Check that the option for crop/trims is turned on before saving.
Missing fonts - Fonts not ‘embedded’ in the artwork PDF when the file was saved.
Images less that 250dpi - Pages will be listed showing how many images on that page have less than the preferred image quality. If you are able to improve the resolution, amend your artwork file and resubmit it.
Artwork contains stroke/key lines less than 0.25pt - Any stroke/key lines used within the artwork PDF should not be less than 0.25pt.
Text smaller than 8pt - Ideally text should not be smaller than 8pt, also single colour tinted text and thin fonts smaller that 12pt may not reproduce as expected.
File contains unidentified colours e.g. RGB Black - Colours named incorrectly, we will perform a standard conversion on all colours to CMYK. If you wish to proceed please be aware that the colour conversion may not reproduce as expected.
File contains areas with a density greater than 320% - You may have used 4 colour black within the document.
File contains white text or objects that are set to overprint - White text or vector shapes have been set to overprint within the artwork file.
File contains bitmap text - File contains bitmap text, this may not reproduce as expected.
Objects close to the page edge - There should be no content within 3mm of trim area (text/pic boxes) unless intentional, e.g. an image bleeding off the page.
Further help and advice can be found in the artwork instructions listed further above.